Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Suggestion From Rachel Maddow

Public Overwhelmingly Supports The New Law By Congress

The chart above is from the Gallup Poll. They questioned 2,817 adults nationwide on March 28th and 29th, and the survey has a 4 point margin of error.

They asked people if they approved or disapproved of the new $2.2 trillion law passed last week by Congress. They found the people supported the law by a huge margin -- adults by a 54 point margin, Democrats by 62 points, Independents by 40 points, and Republicans by 52 points.

Only The Ratings Matter To trump

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

The Number Of Deaths In Each U.S. State And Territory

On Sunday, Donald Trump abandoned his rosy forecast for the Coronavirus in the United States. Instead of claiming it was a hoax, or would be quickly dealt with, he is now saying that there could be between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths --  if the social distancing measures are effective.

He says if the number of deaths are kept down to 100,000 or fewer, then his administration would have done a very good job. He's wrong. His administration has done a very poor job, and they still seem to have a chaotic and ever-changing agenda for dealing with the epidemic.

If the number of deaths is kept low (hopefully far less than 100,000), it will be due to many governors and mayors stepping up to take action while the Trump administration delayed acting.

The Washington Post has established a free page that keeps track of the number of deaths (and cases) in each of the states.

Here are their statistics on deaths in each state as of yesterday (3/30/20) at 6:00pm:

United States..........2945

New York..........1218
New Jersey..........198
South Carolina..........16
District of Columbia..........9
North Carolina..........7
Puerto Rico..........6
New Hampshire..........3
Rhode Island..........3
New Mexico..........2
North Dakota..........2
South Dakota..........1
West Virginia..........1


Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at miltpriggee.com.

The Social Media Hoaxes About Coronavirus Cures

There is no cure for the Coronavirus illness, and the only prevention lies in social distancing. But that hasn't prevented people from flooding social media with lies/myths/hoaxes about cures and preventions.

PolitiFact has listed  19 of the most outrageous claims being made. Don't fall for them!

1. Gargling with salt water
Neither drinking a lot of water, nor gargling with warm water and salt or vinegar, has been identified as working against the coronavirus. It might, however, help your sore throat. Read the fact-check
2. Slow it down with quick hits of Vitamin C
While vitamin C may slightly help ward off common illnesses, there is no evidence high doses of the supplement can slow or stop the current coronavirus. Read the fact-check
3. Breathe in steam from water boiled with orange peels and cayenne pepper
Clearing out your sinuses will definitely not make you less likely to catch COVID-19 — or cure you if you are sick. And there’s no evidence that orange peels or cayenne contain any healing properties, either. Read the fact-check
4. Drink water to kill the virus
While health experts recommend drinking water regularly to stay healthy, there is no evidence that sipping some every 15 or 20 minutes can help prevent coronavirus infection. The primary way the virus spreads is through close contact with infected people and respiratory droplets. Read the fact-check
5. Go outside and lie in the sun
There’s evidence that human coronaviruses don’t like heat, and high-intensity UV light can kill viruses, but that doesn’t mean sun exposure kills the coronavirus. Neither the WHO nor the CDC has said it’s effective against the virus. Read the fact-check
6. Drink hot water with lemon slices
While health officials recommend eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to stay healthy, there is no evidence that drinking hot lemon juice kills COVID-19. A similar version of the hoax has been shared in India and Italy. Read the fact-check
7. Take chloroquine fish-tank cleaner
Fish-tank cleaners containing chloroquine cannot be substituted for prescription drugs used to treat malaria. The FDA says you should not take chloroquine unless it has been prescribed by a doctor and obtained from a legitimate source. Read the fact-check
8. Drink silver solution
There are no pills or remedies that cure any strain of human coronavirus including COVID-19. In fact, "silver solution" and colloidal silver can hurt you, and not just your wallet. The Food and Drug Administration has issued warning statements to companies promoting the products. Read the fact-check
9. Hang up clothes in the sun
While air-drying your clothes may save you some money on your electricity bill, there is no evidence it will kill the coronavirus. Experts told us natural sunlight doesn’t provide the UV intensity needed to kill the virus, and the WHO says it can be transmitted in all climates. Read the fact-check
10. Avoid consuming cold foods and drinks
This claim is baseless. Just as there’s no scientific proof that hot things prevent COVID-19, there’s no proof that cold things make you more susceptible. UNICEF and the WHO have debunked the claim on their websites. Read the fact-check
11. Shave your beard
A 2017 CDC infographic shows how facial hair could interfere with respirator masks. The graphic is unrelated to coronavirus protection, and the CDC has not recommended that people shave their beards to ward off the virus. Read the fact-check
12. Smoking marijuana
It isn’t true, bud. Even though marijuana is used sometimes to treat chronic pain, it’s likely to give users "short-term problems with attention, memory, and learning," the CDC says, and it can be harmful for developing brains. So, maybe not helpful for the coronavirus. Read the fact-check
13. Using cocaine
If there were a cure for the novel coronavirus, we wouldn’t count on it being a stimulant like cocaine. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can lead to long-term respiratory problems and movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Read the fact-check
14. Drinking bleach
This type of "cure" is dangerous and should not be taken seriously. The FDA has released multiple warnings about the "dangerous and potentially life-threatening side effects" of the solution, such as vomiting and liver failure. Officials urge people not to drink it. Read the fact-check
15. Wearing a medical mask with the white side out
While some social media posts say the white side of the mask contains a filter, it’s actually for moisture absorption from your mouth and nose. Take it from global health agencies and medical mask producers: wear the colored side of the mask on the outside. Read the fact-check
16. Chloroquine as a surefire treatment
A French study of 20 COVID-19 patients indicates the drug, which is prescribed to prevent or treat malaria, might help treat the coronavirus. But it is no "100% cure." U.S. health officials stress the evidence from a small French study is only anecdotal and that much more study is needed. Read the fact-check
17. Avoiding hand sanitizer
Although it is not effective against all viruses, hand sanitizers with high alcohol content have proven effective against human coronaviruses. While soap and water is preferred, officials recommend the use of hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to kill the coronavirus. Read the fact-check
18. Avoiding hair extensions
China is a major source of hair extensions, and the industry has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. But the FDA has found no evidence that the virus is spreading via imports. Read the fact-check
19. Melanin
Melanin is a natural pigment that gives color to skin and eyes. It does not make you any less susceptible to coronavirus. Read the fact-check

A Sad Chart

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at huckkonopackicartoons.com.

Trump's Actual Virus Quotes

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Difference Between Parties

Dems Like Biden's Promise To Choose Woman As Veep

The charts above reflect the results of the latest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between March 22nd and 24th of of a national sample of 547 Democratic primary voters.

In the last Democratic debate, Joe Biden promised to choose a woman as his vice-presidential running mate. Democratic voters like that idea. An overwhelming 80% of them approve of that decision by Biden.

Who could that woman be? Voters are split on the best choice. Elizabeth Warren leads the pack with 27%. Others are Kamala Harris with 18%, Amy Klobuchar with 10%, and Stacey Abrams with 9%.

Personally, I think all of them would be good.

Closed / Open

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Texas GOP Uses Virus Crisis To Further A Political Agenda

The paragraph above is the summary of an opinion from Republican Attorney General Paxton of Texas. He has declared that gun shops cannot be closed like other businesses in the state. Evidently it is considered "essential" that people continue to be allowed to purchase guns while most other businesses are required to close due to the Coronavirus epidemic.

But while gun shops are considered essential, abortion clinics are not. The governor of Texas has declared that abortion clinics are not essential businesses, and those seeking an abortion can wait until the crisis is over. That's just wrong. Abortions are time-sensitive, and if a woman is forced to wait too long, then she will be forced (by the state) to have a child.

Neither of these moves takes the health and well-being of Texas citizens to heart. Leaving gun stores open just means more guns throughout the state (without the necessary laws to keep those guns out of the hands of dangerous people). And forcing women to have babies they don't want or cannot afford does not contribute to their well-being (or that of the babies).

Texas Republicans are not acting to protect the public, but only to further their radical right-wing agenda.

Trump's New Hire

Political Cartoon is by Rex A. Jones at artistrexajones.wix.com/crazycartoons.

America's Leaders Need To Tell Some Hard Truths

The following is just part of an excellent article in The New York Times by Dr. Michael T. Osterholm and Mark Olshaker:

When leaders tell the truth about even near-desperate situations, when they lay out a clear and understandable vision, the public might remain frightened, but it will act rationally and actively participate in the preservation of its safety and security.

Our leaders need to begin by stating a number of hard truths about our situation. The first is that no matter what we do at this stage, numerous hospitals in the United States will be overrun. Many people, including health care workers, will get sick and some will die. And the economy will tank. It’s too late to change any of this now. . . .

The second hard truth is that at this stage, any public health response that counts on widespread testing in the United States is doomed to fail. No one planned on the whole world experiencing a health conflagration of this magnitude at once, with the need to test many millions of people at the same time. Political leaders and talking heads should stop proffering the widespread-testing option; it simply

won't be available.

A third hard truth is that shortages of personal protective equipment — particularly N-95 masks — for health care workers will only get worse in the United States as global need continues to rise precipitously. There is no point holding out the false hope that the Defense Production Act will save the residents of the United States. Not enough manufacturing activities can be converted to produce masks in a matter of weeks. You can’t turn engine-making machinery into an N-95 respirator assembly line just because you want to. . . .

More than anything, what the United States needs right now is for the president to undertake an intellectual Manhattan Project: gather the best minds in public health, medicine, medical ethics, catastrophe preparedness and response; political leadership; and private-sector manufacturing and the pharmaceutical industry.

It took nearly three years to develop the atomic bomb. The effort against Covid-19 will need to be bear fruit within days — and come up with a comprehensive but realistic blueprint for getting America through the next 12 to 18 months, or however long it takes for a vaccine to become widely available or herd immunity to take hold in the population. Once a plan has been devised, the president will have to dispense with any happy talk and instead actually convey what the experts are telling him. He will have to define the new normal for a frightened nation that is looking for facts, direction and a common purpose.

It's An Upside-Down World

Political Cartoon is by Joe Heller at hellertoon.com.

Misappropriation Of Funds

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Magical Thinking Won't Cure You

Coronavirus Has Grown In Every State Over The Last Week

As I write this, the number of people found to have the Coronavirus is nearing 120,000, and the number of deaths from the virus is about 2,000. Those are national numbers, and show the U.S. has more cases than any other country.

Some people, like Donald Trump, seem to think that we are getting control of the epidemic. They are wrong. We are a lot closer to the beginning of the epidemic than the end. The numbers are growing fast, and will climb much higher before leveling off.

The numbers below show the number of Coronavirus cases in each state (from The COVID Tracking Project). The first number is the number of cases on Saturday (3/21/20). The number in parentheses is the number one week later (3/28/20).

Alabama..........138 (696)
Alaska..........14 (85)
Arizona..........154 (873)
Arkansas..........118  (404)
California.........1531 (4643)
Colorado..........475 (1734)
Connecticut.........223 (1291)
Delaware..........47 (214)
District of Columbia..........98 (304)
Florida..........830 (3763)
Georgia..........600 (2366)
Hawaii..........48 (120)
Idaho..........42 (230)
Illinois..........759 (3491)
Indiana..........201 (1232)
Iowa..........90 (298)
Kansas..........55 (261)
Kentucky..........99 (302)
Louisiana..........837 (3315)
Maine..........89 (211)
Maryland..........244 (992)
Massachusetts..........525 (4297)
Michigan..........807 (3657)
Minnesota..........169 (441)
Mississippi..........207 (663)
Missouri..........90 (838)
Montana..........31 (129)
Nebraska..........48 (96)
Nevada..........190 (621)
New Hampshire..........65 (187)
New Jersey..........1327 (11124)
New Mexico..........57 (191)
New York..........15168 (52318)
North Carolina..........255 (935)
North Dakota..........28 (83)
Ohio..........247 (1406)
Oklahoma..........67 (377)
Oregon..........141 (479)
Pennsylvania..........479 (2751)
Rhode Island..........66 (203)
South Carolina..........173 (539)
South Dakota..........21 (68)
Tennessee..........371 (1373)
Texas..........334 (2052)
Utah..........136 (602)
Vermont..........49 (211)
Virginia..........219 (739)
Washington..........1793 (3723)
West Virginia..........12 (96)
Wisconsin..........281 (989)
Wyoming..........24 (82)

Virgin Islands..........6 (22)
Puerto Rico..........23 (100)
Guam..........27 (55)

MAGA Hypocrisy

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

New Fox Poll Has Biden Leading Trump By 9 Points

The charts above are from a new Fox News Poll -- done between March 21st and 24th of a national sample of 1,011 registered voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

The poll shows Joe Biden with a 9 point lead over Donald Trump right now. It also shows voters approve of Biden's promise to pick a woman to be his vice-president.

The USA Is Number One

Political Cartoon is by Bill Bramhall in the New York Daily News.

Public Supports Social Distancing To Stop Coronavirus

These charts are from the Morning Consult Poll -- done between March 24th and 26th of a national sample of 1,990 voters, with a 2 point margin of error.

It shows that a huge majority of Americans are not ready to go along with Trump's desire to reopen businesses and send workers back to work. The public is worried more about their health than about the economy, and they know the only way they have to stay healthy and defeat the Coronavirus is social distancing.

Medals Deserved

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Science Is Always There

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Demanding Flattery

Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at miltpriggee.com.

The Value Of A College Education

Unemployment Is Already Bad - And It Will Get Worse

Last week, unemployment spiked in the United States. The charts above show how serious it was -- with about 3.3 million new unemployment claims.

The top chart (from the Economic Policy Institute) shows the weeks claims in relation to claims in the past in recessions. The previous record for claims in one week was slightly over 600,000. Last weeks claims were much more, and was likely an undercount. That's because the phone system and internet systems were overloaded, and could not handle all the people wanting to make a claim.

The second chart (from The Washington Post) shows the percentage of the labor force submitting new claims in each state.

It is now predicted that the unemployment rate for March will be in the 5.5% range. But it's going to get much worse in April (and could continue to rise for several months). It could top the double-digit numbers seen during the Bush recession.

Currently the Coronavirus epidemic is still rising (and the United States now has more cases than any other country). The unemployment numbers will not come down until the epidemic is over, or at least under control.

But the virus does not get all the blame for the recession we are in. Trump must accept blame also. If he had acted swiftly to initiate testing back in January, the country could have gotten control of the epidemic. But his delay has allowed the epidemic to get out of control. Now we won't see a better economic condition until control is established.

Bidding War

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Trump's "Back To Work" Plan Would Put Millions In Danger

These charts are from the Gallup Poll. The top chart shows the states with the most and least high-risk individuals. The second chart shows the percentage and number of high-risk individuals in each age group.

While the risk of dying from the Coronavirus has more people in the higher age groups, there are high-risk individuals in every age group (and in every state). There are more than 11 million high-risk individuals in the country as a whole.

Trump wants to start opening businesses and putting people back to work by April 12th. But the cases and deaths from the Coronavirus are still rising. His plan wouldn't just endanger a few people. It would put millions of people at risk of death.

He doesn't seem to care.

Using His Sharpie

Political Cartoon is by Bill Bramhall in the New York Daily News.

Trump & His Family Benefit BIGLY From Coronavirus Bill

When the over $2 trillion Coronavirus bill was agreed to, Democrats celebrated the fact that they had been able to include a provision that would prevent Donald Trump, anyone working for the Trump administration, anyone in Congress (and their employees), and the families of those people from being able to qualify for the loans in the $500 billion dollar program for corporations.

It was thought that this would prevent Trump and his family from benefitting for a bill aimed at helping hurting Americans and small businesses. Unfortunately, that was not true.

While Trump and his family cannot tap into the $500 billion dollar slush find for corporations, the Republicans included another provision in the bill that would give real estate moguls, like Trump and Kushner, a huge tax break.

Here is how the president of Public Citizen describes the benefit:

Good grief. 

Turn with me now to page 203 of the 880-page economic stimulus package — which the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take up today — where we find a devious little surprise inserted by Senate Republicans. 

Under the proposed stimulus plan, the 0.1% would be able to sidestep taxes on stocks and other investments by claiming only-on-paper losses on real estate, even if they’re raking in profits. 

Can you think of any wealthy, well-connected real-estate investors? 

Like, I don’t know, Jared Kushner? 

Or Donald Trump? 

Congress itself says this would be the second-biggest tax break in the entire stimulus package. 

It’s estimated that this loophole (more like loop-chasm) would cost $170 billion in lost tax revenue over the next decade. 

And exactly how much does letting real-estate tycoons — including Donald Trump and Jared Kushner — avoid paying their fair share, or any share, of taxes help the everyday Americans and small businesses that are holding on for dear life in the face of this coronavirus pandemic? 

Not one damn bit. 

Stay safe. 

- Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen 

The Face Of Death

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at huckkonopackicartoons.com.

What Have Republicans Done For You?

Friday, March 27, 2020

Wash Hands

Americans Support A National Quarantine

Donald Trump still doesn't realize the seriousness of the Coronavirus epidemic in the United States. He won't invoke the act to supply what our hospitals and public health workers need, and even wants to end the the emergency that has most workers staying at home.

He is more worried about the economy (and his re-election) than the health and lives of the American people.

But the people are smarter than he is. About 74% of registered voters say they support a national quarantine to control the spread of the virus. And they know it will not be over by April 12th (the date Trump wants to send people back to work). Only 26% think the crisis will be over in the next 2 weeks to a months. About 61% say it will take 2 months or more.

The charts above are from the Morning Consult Poll -- done between March 2oth and 22nd of a national sample of 1,996 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.

Genius Plan

Political Cartoon is by Ed Hall at Artizans.com.

Americans Beginning To Understand We're Facing Recession

The charts above are from the Gallup Poll. It is from surveys done between March 13-16, March 17-19, and March 20-22. The latest poll had a national sample of 3,555 adults, and a margin of error of 3 points. The preceding polls were similar.

It shows the public is finally starting to realize the trouble our economy is in. Between March 13-16 only 38% of the public thought a recession was imminent. Now that figure has risen to 61%.

The truth is that we are already in a recession. A recession is defined as two quarters of negative GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth. The figures for first quarter GDP will be released after the end of this month, and no economist believes the quarter will show positive growth. And neither will the second quarter (April thru June).

Sadly, there is still one group refusing to believe the economic reality -- Republicans. Only 35% of Republicans think a recession will occur. They get their news from Donald Trump and Fox News, and they evidently believe the lies both are telling them.

Taking Grandma For A Ride

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Unemployment Claims Are Over 3 Million For Last Week

The days of 3.5% unemployment are over -- at least for quite a while. As expected, millions of people have lost their jobs thanks to efforts to control the epidemic of Coronavirus.

Two weeks ago, unemployment claims jump by over 70,000 from the week before. Last week, was much worse. Unemployment claims rose by more than 3 million.

Here is the official announcement from the. Department of Labor for claims last week.

In the week ending March 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 3,283,000, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week's revised level. This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The previous high was 695,000 in October of 1982. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 281,000 to 282,000. The 4-week moving average was 998,250, an increase of 765,750 from the previous week's revised average.

The Narcissist

Political Cartoon is by Dave Whamond at Cagle.com.

There Was A Plan - But Trump Chose Not To Follow It

Donald Trump has said no one could have predicted that the vial pandemic would happen. He has said that our public health system was broken, and that he fixed it. And he has said he is not responsible for the delays in testing and other actions to curb the pandemic in this country.


The truth is that competent officials have been warning of a pandemic for years. And in 2016, the federal government developed a comprehensive plan for dealing with one. Trump and his administration officials were notified of that before he took office.

That plan could have been initiated a couple of months ago. And if it had been, the epidemic could have been contained. But the Trump administration did not put it into effect. They set on their hands for a couple of months instead -- and their failure to act makes Trump responsible for the unnecessary victims and deaths in this country.

Here is part of how Dan Diamond and Nahal Toosi report Trump arrogant incompetence at Politico.com:

The Trump administration, state officials and even individual hospital workers are now racing against each other to get the necessary masks, gloves and other safety equipment to fight coronavirus — a scramble that hospitals and doctors say has come too late and left them at risk. But according to a previously unrevealed White House playbook, the government should’ve begun a federal-wide effort to procure that personal protective equipment at least two months ago.

“Is there sufficient personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who are providing medical care?” the playbook instructs its readers, as one early decision that officials should address when facing a potential pandemic. “If YES: What are the triggers to signal exhaustion of supplies? Are additional supplies available? If NO: Should the Strategic National Stockpile release PPE to states?”

The strategies are among hundreds of tactics and key policy decisions laid out in a 69-page National Security Council playbook on fighting pandemics, which POLITICO is detailing for the first time. Other recommendations include that the government move swiftly to fully detect potential outbreaks, secure supplemental funding and consider invoking the Defense Production Act — all steps in which the Trump administration lagged behind the timeline laid out in the playbook.

“Each section of this playbook includes specific questions that should be asked and decisions that should be made at multiple levels” within the national security apparatus, the playbook urges, repeatedly advising officials to question the numbers on viral spread, ensure appropriate diagnostic capacity and check on the U.S. stockpile of emergency resources.

The playbook also stresses the significant responsibility facing the White House to contain risks of potential pandemics, a stark contrast with the Trump administration’s delays in deploying an all-of-government response and President Donald Trump's recent signals that he might roll back public health recommendations. . . .

The guide further calls for a “unified message” on the federal response, in order to best manage the American public's questions and concerns. “Early coordination of risk communications through a single federal spokesperson is critical,” the playbook urges. However, the U.S. response to coronavirus has featured a rotating cast of spokespeople and conflicting messages; Trump already is discussing loosening government recommendations on coronavirus in order to “open” the economy by Easter, despite the objections of public health advisers.

The NSC devised the guide — officially called the Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents, but known colloquially as “the pandemic playbook” — across 2016. The project was driven by career civil servants as well as political appointees, aware that global leaders had initially fumbled their response to the 2014-2015 spread of Ebola and wanting to be sure that the next response to an epidemic was better handled.

The Trump administration was briefed on the playbook’s existence in 2017, said four former officials, but two cautioned that it never went through a full, National Security Council-led interagency process to be approved as Trump administration strategy. Tom Bossert, who was then Trump’s homeland security adviser, expressed enthusiasm about its potential as part of the administration’s broader strategy to fight pandemics, two former officials said. . . .

The playbook was designed “so there wasn’t piecemeal thinking when trying to fight the next public health battle,” said one former official who contributed to the playbook, warning that “the fog of war” can lead to gaps in strategies.