At the Arb Café...


You can talk all night...


... and do any shopping you might have through the Althouse Portal to Amazon.

"Frankly, I would call it forcible imprisoning of people in their homes against all of their constitutional rights, in my opinion."

"It's breaking people's freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why they came to America or built this country. What the f---. Excuse me. Outrage. Outrage.... If somebody wants to stay in their house, that's great and they should be able to. But to say they cannot leave their house and that they will be arrested if they do, that's fascist. That is not democratic — this is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom."

Said Elon Musk, quoted at Business Insider.

Very windy in Madison today...

A classic view from the Heights:

"Covid-19 lives in the shadow of the most vexing virus we’ve ever faced: H.I.V. After nearly 40 years of work..."

"... here is what we have to show for our vaccine efforts: a few Phase 3 clinical trials, one of which actually made the disease worse, and another with a success rate of just 30 percent. Researchers say they don’t expect a successful H.I.V. vaccine until 2030 or later, putting the timeline at around 50 years. That’s unlikely to be the case for Covid-19, because, as opposed to H.I.V., it doesn’t appear to mutate significantly and exists within a family of familiar respiratory viruses. Even still, any delay will be difficult to bear. But the history of H.I.V. offers a glimmer of hope for how life could continue even without a vaccine. Researchers developed a litany of antiviral drugs that lowered the death rate and improved health outcomes for people living with AIDS. Today’s drugs can lower the viral load in an H.I.V.-positive person so the virus can’t be transmitted through sex. Therapeutic drugs, rather than vaccines, might likewise change the fight against Covid-19.... Combine that with rigorous testing and contact tracing — where infected patients are identified and their recent contacts notified and quarantined — and the future starts looking a little brighter.... If all those things come together, life might return to normal long before a vaccine is ready to shoot into your arm."

From "How Long Will a Vaccine Really Take?" (NYT). The article examines many things that could be done to speed up the development and distribution of a vaccine (with the best possible result arriving in the middle to end of next year).

"Despite the growing uproar from many of his progressive supporters over the sexual assault allegation leveled against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden..."

"... Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has remained quiet on the matter in recent days. The only time Sanders mentioned the allegation against Biden was earlier this month during an interview with CBS, in which the Vermont lawmaker asserted that 'any woman who feels that she was assaulted has every right in the world to stand up and make her claims.' But Sanders added... 'I think that she has the right to make her claims and get a public hearing and the public will make their own conclusions about it... I just don't know enough about it to comment further".... Sanders, who just days before that interview endorsed Biden’s White House bid upon dropping out of the race, has not publicly commented on the matter since. Fox News has reached out on multiple occasions to Sanders campaign officials and political aides, and has yet to receive a response."

From "Sanders keeps quiet on Biden sexual assault allegation despite uproar from supporters, ex-aides" (Fox News).

Also in the news this morning: "Biden reaches deal to let Sanders keep hundreds of delegates" (AP).
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has agreed to let former primary rival Bernie Sanders keep hundreds of delegates he would otherwise forfeit by dropping out of the presidential race in a deal designed to avoid the bitter feelings that marred the party in 2016 and helped lead to Hillary Clinton’s defeat. Under party rules, Sanders should lose about one-third of the delegates he’s won in primaries and caucuses as the process moves ahead... The rules say those delegates should be Biden supporters, as he is the only candidate still actively seeking the party’s nomination....

In some ways, the delegate count is a moot point....
Is it a moot point? At any moment, Joe Biden could have a genuine or faked health crisis and become unavailable. Isn't that what plenty of Democrats want? If that happens, who gets to be the nominee? Maybe some people think it should be whoever Biden picks as his VP, even if that is a person who hasn't participated in any of the primaries and caucuses, who never had to debate. But there's good reason to think that if Biden becomes unavailable, the candidate should be the person who clearly came in second — in 2020 and in 2016 — Bernie Sanders.

Sanders is keeping himself clean on the Tara Reade allegations, and he's continuing to acquire delegates. Is he not thinking of somehow getting the nomination? I assume there are other Democrats who are looking for a path to the nomination and not conceding that Joe Biden owns it. So it's right for Sanders to plot a win.

"Can The Dow Jones Today Nail Its Best Month In 45 Years?"

Asks Investor's Business Daily:
Wednesday's gain left the Dow Jones today, on the last day of April, sitting on its best month of the century. Actually, it's the century's best month for the Dow, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500.

In fact, the Dow's 12.4% advance so far in April puts it on track for its best month since a 14.2% surge in January 1975. That's a 45-year record. The Nasdaq is toiling away at its biggest monthly advance since February 2000. That was a 19.2% spike, preceded by a 22% Santa Claus rally in December 1999. The S&P 500 has rebounded 13.7% in April. That beats everything going back to its 16.3% rebound rally in October 1974.
So strange... in this lockdown month.

"As an activist, it can be very easy to develop a black and white view of the world: things are clearly wrong or clearly right."

"Harvey Weinstein’s decades of rape were clearly wrong. Donald Trump’s alleged sexual assaults were clearly wrong. Brett Kavanaugh’s actions, told consistently over decades by his victim (and supported by her polygraph results), were clearly wrong. So were Matt Lauer’s, Bill Cosby’s and so many others. As we started holding politicians and business leaders and celebrities around the world accountable for their actions, it was easy to sort things into their respective buckets: this is wrong, this is right. Holding people accountable for their actions was not only right, it was just. Except it’s not always so easy, and living in the gray areas is something we’re trying to figure out in the world of social media. But here’s something social media doesn’t afford us–nuance. The world is gray. And as uncomfortable as that makes people, gray is where the real change happens. Black and white is easy... Gray is where the conversations which continue to swirl around powerful men get started.... It’s not up to women to admonish or absolve perpetrators, or be regarded as complicit when we don’t denounce them. Nothing makes this clearer than the women who are still supporting Joe Biden even with these accusations. Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Amy Klobuchar, Nancy Pelosi, and Elizabeth Warren have all endorsed Biden and like me, continue to support him.... This is the shitty position we are in as women....  Believing women was never about 'Believe all women no matter what they say,' it was about changing the culture of NOT believing women by default.... I hope you’ll meet me in the gray to talk and to help us both find the way out."

From "Alyssa Milano On Why She Still Supports Joe Biden & How She Would Advise Him About Tara Reade Allegations – Guest Column" (Deadline).

If "Donald Trump’s alleged sexual assaults were clearly wrong" — alleged — then why can't you say "Joe Biden’s alleged sexual assaults were clearly wrong"? It's black and white at the allegation level. But then, you didn't say "Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged actions." You said "Brett Kavanaugh’s actions." You can get out of the grayness whenever you want just by saying "alleged." I don't know what motivated you to give Trump the "alleged." Maybe some editor worried about a defamation lawsuit and inserted that after you wrote it.

Anyway, grayness. Yes, real life as grayness to it. Let's be mature and fair and realistic. But don't confuse the grayness that is the uncertainty about what happened with the grayness about whether something is right or wrong. Tara Reade alleges that Joe Biden did something that Alyssa Milano — and all those other Democratic women she names — should have absolutely no hesitation to say is clearly wrong. The grayness is at the level of evidence. Who should be believed?

What do you do when someone on your side, on whom you've staked your party's success, is accused? You want to believe your guy! That's one way out of the grayness, and that looks like the way you have chosen. Why not be black-and-white honest that's what you and Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Amy Klobuchar, Nancy Pelosi, and Elizabeth Warren are all doing?

You say "Black and white is easy," but it's not, because you are still choosing what to call black and white and you are still smudging it into gray to suit your political preferences. That looks black and white to me.

"Man Who Killed and Ate the Spirit Raccoon," "Spirit Horses on Horse Hill," "Flying Skull," "Big Beaver," "Girl Whose Lover Went to War"...

... "Rattlesnake Myth," "Wakanda Loses Lake," "Wakanda Annoyed by Rabbit," "Thunderbird Roost," and "Girl Who Married a Sky Man" — Native American myths named on this map of Lake Mendota, drawn in 1948 by a student of a University of Wisconsin professor, to go with his booklet "Lake Mendota Indian Legends."

I first saw the map at "Daily diversion: See how Madison's lakes changed changed since 19th century, in photos" (Wisconsin State Journal).

And here's the booklet!

Lake Mendota was called Wonk-sheck-ho-mik-la — "the lake where the Indian lies."

"Manitou" = a spirit.

Lake Mendota this morning at dawn...


Biden's frustrating campaign by podcast.

I was listening to the NYT "Daily" podcast this morning. The episode is called "Biden's Campaign of Isolation." Because of the lockdown, Biden can't do any of the conventional campaign activities, and his main idea seems to be this podcast. But is anyone listening? I love podcasts, but not all podcasts. I need to hear a voice that's got something podcasty about it. The host of "The Daily," Michael Barbaro has it.  Obviously, Joe Rogan has it. You can name some others. I enjoy Scott Adams. Marc Maron. Etc.

That special quality could be a lot of different things, but it's not going to be a politician carefully shaping his message around the goal of getting elected. That's so unappetizing.

But listening to "The Daily," I heard some snippets of Biden's podcast, specifically his interview with Washington Governor Jay Inslee, and they were talking about — I think they were talking about — the very subject I was just saying I wanted to hear more talk about. Here's what I wrote 3 days ago:
Why aren't people saying that when we emerge in phases from this lockdown — as we must, or we face economic doom — we should not attempt to go back to everything that we were doing before but go forward into some livable, workable form of the Green New Deal?

Shouldn't the Democrats be saying this? Where's Joe Biden?
I know how to listen to the Biden podcast with Inslee, but I'm not motivated to the point where I'm going to do that, partly because I value my time and hate to give a speaker control over it and partly because as a blogger, I need text. But I will read, because I can scan it at my own speed, and because I can copy and paste. I don't have to do my own transcription to write about it. So where is the transcript?! I can see one transcript at Joe Biden's podcast page — it happens to be with Ron Klain — but I can't find the Inslee transcription.

Did Biden embrace a Green New Deal approach to emergence from the lockdown? I can't believe I'm supposed to slog through a podcast to understand. So frustrating!

"You humiliated yourself with your ludicrous run for president last year, and every time you open your mouth now, Andrew Cuomo runs over and drops a stick of dynamite in it to remind you who’s boss."

Writes John Podhoretz in "Bill de Blasio’s new low: blaming the Jews" (NY Post).

The headline refers to De Blasio's harsh reaction to a specific event: a large gathering of Jewish mourners that took place in Brooklyn. De Blasio blamed those Jews for that one thing that they did. The headline makes it sound as though de Blasio had engaged in classic anti-Semitism, blaming Jews in general for things that go wrong.

For example, during the Black Plague in the 1300s, Jews got blamed and murdered on the theory that they were causing the disease. I don't think de Blasio is much good as a mayor and he should never have joined the overcrowded Democratic presidential race, but it's awful to characterize him as "blaming the Jews."

Podhoretz writes:
There’s no way to read your tweet from Tuesday night in an exculpatory fashion. Here it is: “My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”
Now, there really is something stupid about that tweet. De Blasio refers to the "Jewish community" when he meant the Hasidic Jews in Williamsburg, and they are a small proportion of the much larger set of Jewish residents in New York City. Podhoretz writes that there are 1.2 million Jews in NYC. I had to look up the number of Hasidic Jews in Williamsburg, who are not even 10% of the total who belong to "the Jewish community" in New York.

But maybe Podhoretz is seeing into de Blasio soul. Why did he get so mad at the Jews who came out onto the street in mourning? Why did that provoke him into posturing about a strong show of police force? Why did he look at one Jewish community and see "the Jewish community"?

And what a terrible visualization — Cuomo sticking dynamite into de Blasio's open mouth. Where does that violent imagery come from?

At the Springtime Café...


... you can talk all night.

"There are only different hellish ways to adapt to a pandemic and save both lives and livelihoods. I raise Sweden..."

"... not because I think it has found the magic balance — it is way too soon to tell — but because I think we should be debating all the different ways and costs of acquiring immunity. When I look across America, though, and see governors partly lifting lockdowns — because they feel their people just can’t take it anymore for economic or psychological reasons, even though their populations have little or no immunity — I worry we may end up developing more herd immunity but in a painful, deadly, costly, uncoordinated way that still leaves room for the coronavirus to strike hard again and overwhelm hospitals.... Herd immunity 'has historically been nature’s way of ending pandemics,' added Dr. David Katz, the public health physician.... 'We need to bend with her forces...' That means a designed strategy, based on risk profiles, of phasing back to work those least vulnerable, so we gradually cultivate the protection of herd immunity — 'while concentrating our health services and social services on protecting those most vulnerable' until we can sound the all-clear."

From "Is Sweden Doing It Right?/The Swedes aren’t battling the coronavirus with broad lockdowns" by Thomas Friedman (in the NYT).

You'll have to take my word that this was my theory all along.

I didn't want to cast aspersions on a particular individual on this blog, so I never wrote it on the internet, but I said it out loud around the house. This was always my theory: "Woman Who Blamed Trump after Giving Her Husband Fish-Tank Cleaner Now Under Investigation for Murder" (National Review).

Top-floor sun.


(From yesterday, at 6:15 a.m.)

(And if you're enjoying this blog, please consider supporting it by using the Althouse Portal to Amazon when you're doing your shopping.)

"It’s a Bayesian thing. Part of Bayesian reasoning is to think like a Bayesian; another part is to assess other people’s conclusions as if they are Bayesians..."

"... and use this to deduce their priors. I’m not saying that other researchers are Bayesian—indeed I’m not always so Bayesian myself—rather, I’m arguing that looking at inferences from this implicit Bayesian perspective can be helpful, in the same way that economists can look at people’s decisions and deduce their implicit utilities. It’s a Neumann thing: again, you won’t learn people’s 'true priors' any more than you’ll learn their 'true utilities'—or, for that matter, any more than a test will reveal students’ 'true abilities'—but it’s a baseline."

From "Reverse-engineering priors in coronavirus discourse" by Andrew (at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science,) via "What’s the Deal With Bayesian Statistics?" by Kevin Drum (at Mother Jones).

Both of these posts went up yesterday, that is, 2 days after I said, "Shouldn't we talk about Bayes theorem?" I'm not saying I caused that. I'm just saying maybe you should use Bayesian reasoning to figure out if I did. I will stand back and say, this is not my field. I'm only here to encourage it.

"Confused by This Anti-Joe Biden Meme? The Creator Says You Just Don’t Get the Joke."

"Before being censored by Twitter, the way the image was shared blurred the line between parody and misinformation"  — by Ali Breland (in Mother Jones) — about this image created by Brad Troemel:

It's a great satire, but unfortunately, many people who were sharing it took it to be an actual ad from the Biden campaign.
“The DNC and the Biden campaign are the ones responsible for your familiarity with this type of messaging, because they’re the ones who have been fucking campaigning on it,” Troemel [said]. “This image wouldn’t be shared if it wasn’t so believable.”...

Jennifer Grygiel, a communications professor at Syracuse University who specializes in social media and memes, [said] “He seems to want to cross his arms and say that everyone is so stupid,” Grygiel said on the phone, skeptically. “He may claim that he’s helping democracy, but he’s lost control of his art.”

"The best and surest way to beat Trump is to... give all the disaffected Republicans, conservatives and independents only one alternative to Trump."

"Giving them a conservative alternative might be ideologically satisfying, but it increases the likelihood that Trump can pull off another narrow win In the past several months, I’ve been approached about running as a conservative independent in the general election. I’ve had people suggest that I run as a Libertarian. My answer has always been the same: No. Because I won’t do anything that might help Trump win.... I know how committed Justin is to the founding ideals of liberty and limited government. When this is over, I’ll gladly join him in fighting for those principles again. If he wants, I’ll join him in starting a new political party. Right now, our only job is ridding the White House of an authoritarian con man. The last thing we need is a third-party candidate. Not this year, congressman."

From "You can’t win, Justin Amash. You can only help Trump get reelected/We both came in with the tea party wave. Reelecting this president isn’t the way to go out," by Joe Walsh (WaPo). This Joe Walsh is a former member of Congress and the author of a book called "F*ck Silence: Calling Trump Out for the Cultish, Moronic, Authoritarian Con Man He Is." He's not the Joe Walsh doing the guitar solo in "Hotel California" (the best guitar solo of all time according to a 1998 poll of readers of Guitarist magazine).

"The last thing we need is a third-party candidate. Not this year...." You could say that... or you could say the opposite. This is THE year for a 3rd-party candidate. This is the ONE time the 3rd-party candidate can actually win. Biden is a terrible candidate — way too old and seemingly mentally debilitated and burdened with a late-breaking sex-assault allegation. And Trump is very divisive and very, very weird.

And why would Amash necessarily hurt Biden? Why wouldn't he hurt Trump, which would help Biden?

From the comments over there: "Don't believe a word of this article. Amash won't draw anything among Democrat voters. He's a hard right conservative. Walsh was recruited to write this by the GOP for the same reason the Mafia sends your best friend to kill you."

"While Wordsworth — who wrote of the French Revolution, which was raging when he was aged 19: 'Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive' — is recognised as a revolutionary..."

"... arguably his views on poetry were stronger.... In ['Radical Wordsworth: the Poet Who Changed the World,' Sir Jonathan Bate] cautions against popular assumptions about the poets. He writes that 'among those labelled Romantics, there were abolitionists, vegetarians, advocates for women’s rights and animal rights and what we would now call an environmental ethic.' Wordsworth, while championed as the inspiration behind the national parks movement and a believer in spiritual attachment to the environment, would balk at some of the aims of Extinction Rebellion. Bate... said that although Wordsworth may have lost the radicalism of his youth, he would also have had reservations about modern concepts, such as rewilding, which is letting nature rule unhindered by human intervention. 'He’d say that not just because, like so many of us, he went from youthful rebellion to aged conservatism but also because he believed that the conservation of the environment depends on respect for ancient traditions of stewardship, as exemplified by the hill farms of the Lake District.'"

From "William Wordsworth ‘would have marched with Extinction Rebellion’" (The London Times).

I had to look up "Extinction Rebellion."

It's funny to take a dead person and make assertions about what side he'd be on in some current dispute. But which version of this dead one is relevant? Might as well take your pick:
“The young Wordsworth would have marched with them,” Bate said. “But the older Wordsworth would have written sonnets saying, ‘Lock them up’.”

Image there's no Trump/It isn't hard if you/Are a conservative WaPo columnist/With Biden pulling you through/Image Scranton, PA/Ooh Ooh Ooh Ooh...

ADDED: I didn't watch Hillary's endorsement of Joe Biden, so I was challenged not merely to "image" her as President but also to "image" what was so "priceless" about whatever she said about getting "pulled" through Scranton. I found the transcript though. It's nearly an hour long, and my time is not priceless. I would watch it for $1,000 and let you know what I think. But I will scan the transcript... perhaps only for the word "Scranton"... I'll "scran" the transcript... okay:
So for me, this is a moment that we need a leader, a president like Joe Biden.... And we share a common experience and a love of Scranton, Pennsylvania. When my great grandparents came from England and Wales, they ended up in Scranton and my grandfather and then my father grew up in a house on Diamond Avenue and while the randoms were living on Diamond Avenue, the Bidens were over on North Washington Street. And I’ve had a lot of time to visit Scranton, talk about Scranton with Joe and one memorable occasion we were there together and he said, “Hey, let’s go see the house that I lived in when I was a little boy.” And if you know Joe Biden, you know the words were out of his mouth and we were racing to get there. And of course we got there and he talked his way in.
Ugh! Ever had former owners of your house show up one day and try to talk their way in? Ever gone to a house you used to live in and try to talk your way in? On question 1, my answer is sort of. They weren't very direct about it, and they did not get in. On question 2, I have gone to look at the 3 houses I grew up in and each time I considered how hard it would be to go inside and realized that there was no way I would even go up to the homeowner and let them know I lived there when the house was new and I was a little child. As for trying to get an invitation to go inside... hell, no!
It wasn’t hard because the woman who was at home immediately recognized him and knew him.
And when you're a star, they let you do it.
And then we went through the house with Joe regaling me with these great stories about his dad, Joe Sr. And his mom Gene [sic, should be Jean] and the neighborhood. He was pointing out the window telling me who lived where when he was growing up. He told me one story that I loved. He said he was getting ready to go to a junior high school dance and he didn’t have any cufflinks. And so his very creative mother [Jean] got him a nut and bolt, and made a pair of cufflinks for him. But I think he said he was mortified by that. And he’s told her that and she just looked at him and she said, “Joey, if somebody says something to you about your cufflinks, you just say, what? You don’t have a pair like that.” It was that kind of love of family, that unconditional support that led Joe to be the extraordinary family member and father that he’s been through all the tragedy that so many of us have followed from afar, but know how deeply he connects with people who have similarly suffered a tragedy....
WAIT A MINUTE: "while the randoms were living on Diamond Avenue"?! Must be the Rodhams...

Hilarious. Hillary and her family were randos.

"[T]he mortality rate among patients over age 65 exceeded 26 percent, and almost all patients over 65 who needed mechanical ventilation during that period died."

According to a new JAMA article (which studied coronavirus patients in Northwell Health hospitals "in and around New York City"), reported in "Do You Want to Die in an I.C.U.? Pandemic Makes Question All Too Real/Sobering statistics for older patients sharpen the need to draw up advanced directives for treatment and share them with their families" (NYT).
A new study in JAMA Internal Medicine questioned 180 patients over age 60 with serious illnesses; most said they would trade a year of life if that meant they could avoid dying in an I.C.U. on life support.... “Many older patients we’ve encountered with Covid-19 have opted not to undergo ventilation and an I.C.U.,” Dr. White said. “No one should impose that on a patient, though if there’s true scarcity, that may arise. But patients might choose it for themselves.”...
While you're thinking about that, here's the ad the NYT served up for me in the middle of the article:

"More than 20% of Americans think vampires are real/More than 25% think climate change is not"... therefore you might want to donate $1,000 to the World Health Organization. We're supposed to worry that a fifth to a quarter of Americans are so science-ignorant that we should give money to an organization that may or may not represent good science. How would I know? Well, one thing is: I'm wondering if it is really true that 20% of Americans think vampires are real, because if they don't, then the organization is passing on fake statistics and that's evidence against its dedication to good science!

Here's a study from last year (at YouGov) that says 13% of Americans believe in vampires — 14% of Republicans and 8% of Democrats. And here's an IPSOS survey from last year that said "Almost half of Americans believe that ghosts are real (46%), and a third believe that aliens visit earth (32%), while only a small amount believe in vampires (7%) and zombies (6%)."

For $1,000, you need to do better with the statistics. And now I'm wondering about the value of the statistics about how likely you are to die if you're over 65 and end up on a ventilator. Just as the World Health Organization wants its donations, the health care system would benefit if you decline its services and accept home-based death.

"Mx. Baggs was concerned that autism awareness had become a trendy catchphrase..."

"... 'whether it’s parent groups who throw the word "autism acceptance" around to sound current but don’t actually accept the slightest thing about their autistic children, or whether it’s autistic people who’ve fallen in love with the words and forgotten the meaning.' There were blog posts about hir father’s death, hir cats and the 'snake words' used in the disabilities-services industry that sounded helpful to clients but, Mx. Baggs said, were actually harmful. ('Apologies to actual snakes,' one of these entries noted.).... Mx. Baggs took the name of the ballastexistenz blog from “ballast existence,” a concept employed in Nazi propaganda to justify killing people with disabilities...."

From "Mel Baggs, Blogger on Autism and Disability, Dies at 39/Candid blog posts and a widely viewed short film sought to expand the very definition of what it means to be human" (NYT). Baggs died of "respiratory failure, though numerous health problems may also have played a part."

"'Haters keep saying they hate Diamond and Silk, but you can’t hate what you ain’t never loved!' the sisters, whose real names are Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, wrote..."

"... on their shared Twitter account Monday evening. Trump shared that message Tuesday morning, writing online: 'But I love Diamond & Silk, and so do millions of people!' The president’s social media post came after CNN reported Saturday that Fox Nation, Fox News’ digital streaming service, had not uploaded a new episode of Diamond and Silk’s weekly show since April 7, and they had not appeared on the network’s broadcast since March.... Although Fox News retains a stable of pro-Trump commentators, the president has grown increasingly frustrated with the network, despite its opinion hosts’ almost unflinchingly positive coverage of his administration. '@FoxNews just doesn’t get what’s happening! They are being fed Democrat talking points, and they play them without hesitation or research,' Trump [tweeted on] Sunday."

Politico reports.

Was there an existing saying "You can’t hate what you ain’t never loved" (or "You can’t hate what you never loved")? If not, great aphorism. But is it true?

I found a discussion on Quora: "Can you not hate what you don't love? Why or why not?" The top answer, written in March 2018, brings up Donald Trump, whom the writer hates:
For example, I utterly loath Donald Trump.... Even with all that, I can honestly say I do not hate the man. The way I see it, hatred is the first step to dehumanizing somebody else. Trump may be a shitty example of a human being, but he is still human...
But he doesn't get into the meat of the question. Is love the precondition for hate? If it is, we are strongly defended from hate! And we have fantastic insight into the haters. Do all those people who really hate Trump actually have love in there somewhere?

It's hard for me to answer, because I don't feel anything that I would call hate. Hate. I do sometimes feel an unaccountable love for Trump — perhaps because I'm seeing him hated, perhaps because Jesus said:
You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love (agapēseis) your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love (agapāte) your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? — Matthew 5:43-46, RSV
But back to the Diamond and Silk aphorism "You can’t hate what you ain’t never loved." It had a ring of truth for me. I'm thinking hate is such a strong emotion that it only counts as real hate if it's a reversal from love. They're saying your rejection of us is nothing because you never liked us in the first place.

Biden promised to pick a woman VP, but because they are women, the possible choices are all under special pressure over the Tara Reade allegation against Biden.

This is the old backwards in high heels problem all over again!

Or is it?

This is the trouble with affirmative action. You get advanced to the front, but it comes with a catch. Biden wants a woman partner to help him out with woman things. Where's the feminism in that?

I'm reading "Here’s What Biden’s VP Shortlist Said About The Kavanaugh Allegations/Whichever woman Joe Biden picks to be his running mate will have a lot of explaining to do on past positions about sexual assault" (in The Federalist).

I've only read the headline so far, and I am irked. Female candidates should have the same status as male candidates, not special woman's work. We missed our chance to get a female presidential candidate, and a female presidential candidate is, clearly, required to take on all the work of the presidency. The equality of the sexes is locked in. But with a VP candidate, we have some mixed up ideas about what this person is for — not so much the backup President, but someone to help get through the election. Biden wants the show of having a woman, and now he particularly needs a woman to vouch for him as he's accused of sexual assault.

It's woman's work!

What a disgusting predicament. Now, let me try to read the article. Ah, this does not tell us what the various women are saying now about the Tara Reade allegations as they offer themselves to Joe Biden for his purposes. It simply collects what they said about Kavanaugh. So this sets them up to look hypocritical and ludicrous when they clamor for the big man's attention.

Biden should do his own work here. So far he's been silent. I want to say he's hiding, but I read this in the New York Times: "Joe Biden Is Not Hiding. He’s Lurking." That's a column by Michelle Cottle. Her idea is that Trump is destroying himself, so the best strategy is to let him. And:
[Biden] has to pick his moments, especially with personal appearances, to avoid seeming to undermine the president during a national meltdown. Criticisms must be targeted and measured... [W]ithout a frontal assault, he will have a tough time getting attention. The media respond to heat more than light. But that is Mr. Trump’s turf, and those who try to play on it tend to get burned.
Mr. Trump's turf is heat, and if you play on it — I picture a flaming golf course — you get burned.

None of that excuses Biden for doing nothing about the Tara Reade allegations when the women who are in the running for the VP nomination are all getting pressure to address the "woman's" issue.

I'm seeing this at BuzzFeed News: "Democrats Will Have To Answer Questions About Tara Reade. The Biden Campaign Is Advising Them To Say Her Story 'Did Not Happen.'/Joe Biden has yet to personally address Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation, but his campaign has circulated talking points." Biden is silent but his campaign sent out talking points "earlier this month":
“Biden believes that all women have the right to be heard and to have their claims thoroughly reviewed,” the talking points read, according to a copy sent to two Democratic operatives. “In this case, a thorough review by the New York Times has led to the truth: this incident did not happen.”

“Here’s the bottom line,” they read. “Vice President Joe Biden has spent over 40 years in public life: 36 years in the Senate; 7 Senate campaigns, 2 previous presidential runs, two vice presidential campaigns, and 8 years in the White House. There has never been a complaint, allegation, hint or rumor of any impropriety or inappropriate conduct like this regarding him — ever.”...

Biden’s campaign’s talking points say the [New York] Times story served as proof that Reade’s allegation “did not happen” — but the story did not conclude this, nor did it conclude that an assault definitively did happen...

The Biden campaign also pointed to the former vice president’s lead role in crafting the Violence Against Women Act....

"I think this case has been investigated,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in an MSNBC interview earlier this month, pointing to the New York Times article a few days after its publication.... “I know the vice president as a major leader on domestic abuse. I worked with him on that. And I think that, again, the viewers should read the article. It was very thorough.”...

Sen. Kamala Harris said in a recent podcast interview that Reade “has a right to tell her story” and that she could “only speak to the Joe Biden I know. He’s been a lifelong fighter, in terms of stopping violence against women.”
Straight out of the talking points!

AND: I'm seeing this, in Politico this morning: "Tara Reade allegations stir Democratic unrest/Democrats are reassessing the potential damage to Joe Biden after new details surface." Maybe some delurking is in the offing.

At the Arboretum Café...


... you can talk all night.


Downtown Madison this morning... let's see how the lockdown is progressing.

There's certainly no rule against going outside, and that's what I did, taking my ebike down Willow Way and the lakeshore path to the Memorial Union. Click on the image to see the official "dos" and "dont's" of the "social distancing" to follow "if you spend time outdoors."


Here's how it looked on the Union Terrace:


Here's how that strip of lakeshore looks in good times:


That's from June 7, 2013 (when fewer students are in town than the end of April). Notice the picnic tables. They're not there today — now that they're regarded as vectors of disease and not places to stretch out and absorb sunlight.

Here's a pic from May 2, 2010:


Note the iconic tables and chairs that are gone today.

I walked through the terrace and up State Street and back. No trouble keeping my distance from anyone. I think I saw about 200 people along the way. At one point, I thought about writing this blog post and telling you that I did not see one person wearing a mask, but then I saw a young man in a mask. He was skateboarding. Was the mask ironic?

"New documents suggest that Flynn ‘was set up by corrupt agents’ who threatened Flynn’s son and made a secret deal with Flynn’s attorneys."

Writes Andrew McCarthy at National Review.
[L]ast Friday night, the DOJ provided some so-called Brady material — i.e., exculpatory information that prosecutors are required by law to reveal to defendants they have charged with crimes.... The information is still not public... But we can glean its outlines from a motion [Flynn's lawyer Sidney] Powell filed... [arguing that Flynn was] "deliberately set up and framed by corrupt agents."...

There was no good-faith basis for an investigation of General Flynn. Under federal law, a false statement made to investigators is not actionable unless it is material. That means it must be pertinent to a matter that is properly under investigation. If the FBI did not have a legitimate investigative basis to interview Flynn, then that fact should have been disclosed as exculpatory information. It would have enabled his counsel to argue that any inaccurate statements he made were immaterial....

[I]t has long been speculated that Flynn... pled guilty to false-statements charges because prosecutors from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s staff threatened... [to] charge his son with a felony for failing to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent. Such a so-called FARA violation (Foreign Agent Registration Act) is a crime that the DOJ almost never charged before the Mueller investigation, and it had dubious application to Flynn’s son (who worked for Flynn’s private-intelligence firm)....

Under federal law, all understandings that are relevant to a guilty plea must be disclosed to the judge. It would be not merely a serious ethical breach for government lawyers to fail to reveal such an arrangement. It would be a fraud on the court....

5:50 a.m. — 4 minutes before sunrise.


"For more than a month, governors in a vast majority of states have urged people to stay indoors and away from one another, critical measures needed to slow the spread of the coronavirus."

Asserts Mihir Zaveri in a NYT column, "‘Quarantine Fatigue’ Has More People Going Outside/New research shows that people are venturing out more frequently, and traveling farther from home."

There's a link on "vast majority of states" going to a map that shows that the vast majority of states have a "statewide order," but how many of these states are telling people to "stay indoors"?

I know my state is one of this "vast majority," but we weren't told we needed to stay indoors. I know there are some cities, including, notably, New York, where it's hard to do social distancing if you go outdoors, but most places in America, you can get outdoors and do social distancing just fine.

I'm in a city, Madison, Wisconsin, where there's no problem at all keeping the recommended distance and enjoying the mental and physical benefits of being outside. If you can do that, there's nothing preferable about hiding indoors.

It's really annoying to see concern, outrage, or scolding from people who act like we're being disobedient or science-ignorant if we won't stay inside! I support government orders that are fine-tuned to the danger at hand, but some people seem to love excessive restrictions on freedom and to deplore the incorrigibles who won't just stay in their house.

"Commissioner Resigns After He Threw a Cat During Zoom Meeting/'OK, first, I’d like to introduce my cat'..."

"... said a planning commissioner in Vallejo, Calif., lifting it close to the camera and then, with two hands, tossing it off screen.... The cat squeaked as it was being thrown, and a thud could be heard."

The NYT reports.

"When some historian many years from now tries to explain the pandemic of 2020, there will be a separate chapter on New York City..."

"... but no separate chapter on any other American city. I loathe Trump, but the historian [will] have to look at the actions or inactions of de Blasio and Cuomo, not Trump."

Says a commenter on the NYT article "N.Y.C. Deaths Reach 6 Times the Normal Level, Far More Than Coronavirus Count Suggests" ("More than 27,000 New Yorkers have died since the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak in March — 20,900 more than would be expected over this period and thousands more than have been captured by official coronavirus death statistics").

"If an American president loses more Americans over the course of six weeks than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War, does he deserve to be reelected?"

That was the last question at yesterday's Task Force press briefing. Transcript. The reporter was Olivia Nuzzi of New York Magazine.

Here's the response it provoked from Trump:
So yeah, we’ve lost a lot of people, but if you look at what original projections were, 2.2 million, we’re probably heading to 60 thousand, 70 thousand. It’s far too many. One person is too many for this. And I think we’ve made a lot of really good decisions. The big decision was closing the border or doing the ban, people coming in from China. Obviously other than American citizens which had to come in. Can’t say you can’t come back to your country. I think we’ve made a lot of good decisions. I think that Mike Pence and the task force have done a fantastic job. I think that everybody working on the ventilators, you see what we’ve done there, have done unbelievable. The press doesn’t talk about ventilators anymore. They just don’t want to talk about them and that’s okay. But the reason they don’t want to talk… That was a subject that nobody would get off of. They don’t want to talk about them. We’re in the same position on testing. We are lapping the world on testing and the world is coming to us. As I said, they’re coming to us saying, “What are you doing? How do you do it?” We’re helping them. So, no, I think we’ve done a great job and one person, I will say this, one person is too many. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you.
That was a good, moderate answer, never mentioning the election, only taking the cue to discuss the basis for thinking that he is deserving. Importantly, he resisted the temptation to speculate about whether his opponent would have done better. Who knows what Joe Biden would have done in the same circumstances?

But that's the comparison. That's what I think about when I hear the question, and I'm going to assume that President Biden also would have lost more Americans over the course of six weeks than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War. If losses to a sudden contagious disease are the test of whether a candidate deserves our vote, then we'd just be voting based on which person happened actually to be President at the time the disease hit.

I suppose many people like to think a different President would have done better. Theoretically, things could have been done better. Our dream President would have done better. But would Joe Biden have done better? Anyone who answers yes is, I suspect, someone who was already going to vote for Biden for some other reason.

Anyway, Trump got the question he got, and he didn't get bogged down in the kind of speculation that I'm blogging about here. He just made the pitch that he's done a good enough job — which is, in Trumpspeak, "a fantastic job."

"Scientists at the National Institutes of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Montana last month inoculated six rhesus macaque monkeys with single doses of the Oxford vaccine."

"The animals were then exposed to heavy quantities of the virus that is causing the pandemic — exposure that had consistently sickened other monkeys in the lab. But more than 28 days later all six were healthy, said Vincent Munster, the researcher who conducted the test. 'The rhesus macaque is pretty much the closest thing we have to humans,' Dr. Munster said, noting that scientists were still analyzing the result. He said he expected to share it with other scientists next week and then submit it to a peer-reviewed journal."

From "In Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine, an Oxford Group Leaps Ahead/As scientists at the Jenner Institute prepare for mass clinical trials, new tests show their vaccine to be effective in monkeys" (NYT).

Good news. Let's feel good about good news.

Also... I like the name Vincent Munster. It's like something from a screenplay about a scientist. But let's hope this story is too boring for a screenplay: They made a vaccine and it works.

Sunrise, 6:02.


Actual sunrise time: 5:54.

“A judge has ruled against Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, issuing a restraining order over the extension of the state’s stay-at-home order, putting the statewide plan in jeopardy.”

“Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney ruled against Pritzker's order, granting a restraining order to Rep. Darren Bailey, who filed the lawsuit against the governor. The ruling only applies to Bailey, exempting him from the stay-at-home order, but it's unclear what impact the legal challenge will have on other state residents.”

NBC Chicago reports.

MEANWHILE: “Attorney General William Barr on Monday directed federal prosecutors to ‘be on the lookout’ for public health measures put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic that might be running afoul of constitutional rights” (The Hill).

"Kim Jong Un? I can't tell you exactly. Yes, I do have a very good idea, but I can't talk about it now... I do know how he's doing, relatively speaking... You'll probably be hearing it in the not too distant future."

"I do know how he's doing, relatively speaking" — I take that to mean Trump knows relatively more than the reporter. And he has "a very good idea," which suggests he knows quite a bit more than just relatively more than the rest of us. But he "can't talk about it," though to say that is to talk about it.

So what do you think Trump knows — that Kim Jong Un is dead (or in some near-death condition)?

Creepy sunrise.


I consider all Karenology to be sexist... nevertheless:

"The rally held at the Wisconsin State Capitol (Friday) by individuals protesting the governor’s ‘Safer at Home’ order was clearly an exercise in white privilege...."

"Why have there been no mass arrests or municipal citations issued for this non-essential gathering? In order for us to move past this pandemic and to truly flatten the curve we need compliance from the public. In any other situation, willful non-compliance with the law is met with the full force of law enforcement, yet when the protestors are predominantly white and male defiance is rewarded with inaction and complacency...."

From a statement by Wisconsin state Senator State Rep. LaKeshia Myers, quoted at The Daily Wire.

Just asking.

"I talk in the book about thinking about playing 'Imagine.' But that wasn’t the right one."

"I needed to play something from a great songwriter that had an emotion that wasn’t about violence, but that also contained grief. Tom Waits has the line, 'So close your eyes, son, this won’t hurt a bit.'"

Said Tori Amos, asked about performing Tom Waits’s song “Time” when she was the first musical guest to play on David Letterman's show after the 9/11 attacks. She is quoted in "Tori Amos Believes the Muses Can Help//A conversation about music, politics, and what you learn about America from being on the road" (in The New Yorker).

Here are the lyrics to "Time." Consider the process of thinking twice about playing "Imagine" and coming up with "Time." That was back on September 18, 2001. Now, as celebrities ineptly return to "Imagine" for our coronavirus pain, it's worth reflecting on Tori Amos's alternative, "Time."

Here's her new memoir, "Resistance."

"You can’t tell people in a dense urban environment all through the summer months: 'We don’t have anything for you to do. Stay in your apartment with the three kids.' That doesn’t work. There’s a sanity equation here also that we have to take into consideration."

Said Governor Cuomo, quoted in "Coronavirus Live Updates: Some States Ease Restrictions..." (NYT).

Cuomo "laid out a broad outline on Sunday for a gradual restart of the state that would allow some 'low risk' businesses upstate to reopen as soon as mid-May. He did not speculate when restrictions would be eased in New York City and surrounding suburbs. But he noted that they could not persist indefinitely."

"But the troublemakers were as bizarre as they were inescapable... There was the mysterious tent urinator, who found a way to pee on the side of another man’s tent..."

"... every night for six straight weeks (and whose identity is an as-yet uncracked case). The man who always took photos of me changing flat tires to send home to his wife, because 'she was never going to believe that a woman could do this.' The woman who had never ridden a bike before the trip. The daily hitchhiker who 'didn’t do climbs' and thumbed for rides up hills. The racer who wanted everyone else to ride farther and faster each day. The relapsed gambling addict who snuck into town every night and couldn’t be trusted with group funds. The sexual harasser who hounded me daily with lewd comments unfit to print. And in every group, there was always one person who tried to rile up a mutiny because he wanted out of the cooking rotation. It was hard to know who these people were in their daily lives, when they weren’t pushing their bodies to the limit and sleeping on the ground. I had to imagine that the mysterious tent urinator wasn’t similarly taking out his frustrations on a coworker’s office chair. Maybe all that misdirected rage could be chalked up to exhaustion, homesickness, and electrolyte imbalance?"

From "I Loved Bike Touring—Until I Got Paid to Do It/Seduced by the idea of turning my hobby into a paycheck, I led bike tours across the U.S. throughout my twenties. As I learned, some passion pursuits are best left pro bono," by Caitlin Giddings (at Outside). Excellent illustration, by the way.

"And as a young black girl growing up in Mississippi, I learned that if I didn't speak up for myself, no one else would."

"So... my mission is to say out loud if I'm asked the question, 'yes, I would be willing to serve.' But I know that there's a process that will be played out, that Joe Biden is going to put together the best team possible. And I believe that he will pick the person he needs."

Said Stacey Abrams, on "Meet the Press" yesterday, when Chuck Todd asked her, "Do you believe you'd be the best running mate Joe Biden could find?"

Notice that she's answering a different question from the one that was asked. One could infer that the answer to the question asked is no. She's not the best running mate Biden could find. She contorted her way to another question — Are you willing to serve? — which is, apparently, the question she wanted or anticipated. To that, she says yes.

But couldn't she have said yes to the question asked? Before she got to the part of her answer I've quoted above, she said, "I was raised to tell the truth. And so when I'm asked a question, I answer it as directly and honestly as I can." Who knows if that is the truth? But assuming it is, I infer that her answer to the question asked is no.

I guess she wasn't raised to answer questions straightforwardly. Only "as directly and honestly as I can." But why can't she give a yes or no to the question Chuck Todd asked? The answer seems to be that she was raised to speak up for herself. And yet she did not take the opportunity to promote herself as the best person.

That's as far as I go for now understanding the rhetoric, ethics, and mind of Stacey Abrams.

6:02, 6:12.



Actual sunrise time: 5:56.

"It is giving us this quite extraordinary insight into just how much of a mess we humans are making of our beautiful planet. This is giving us an opportunity to magically see how much better it can be."

Said Duke University conservation scientist Stuart Pimm, quoted in "As people stay home, Earth turns wilder and cleaner. These before-and-after images show the change" (by AP science writer Seth Borenstein, published at

Another quote — from Chris Field, director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment: "In many ways we kind of whacked the Earth system with a sledgehammer and now we see what Earth's response is."

With photographs and maps, the article concentrates on the reduction in air pollution. There's also a bit about wild animals taking the opportunity to show themselves on city streets. But I'd like to see more about climate change.

All the article says is:
The greenhouse gases that trap heat and cause climate change stay in the atmosphere for 100 years or more, so the pandemic shutdown is unlikely to affect global warming, says Breakthrough Institute climate scientist Zeke Hausfather. Carbon dioxide levels are still rising, but not as fast as last year.
But this can be viewed as an experimental head start on the Green New Deal we've heard so much about. What had seemed impossible to begin is now a way of life we've plunged into. We've gone much further than what the climate activists were proposing, though we've done it for a different reason, by government order, under the fear of death by disease, and seemingly only for a few weeks (or months).

Why aren't people saying that when we emerge in phases from this lockdown — as we must, or we face economic doom — we should not attempt to go back to everything that we were doing before but go forward into some livable, workable form of the Green New Deal?

Shouldn't the Democrats be saying this? Where's Joe Biden?

Could Donald Trump and the Republicans offer something like this? I know the term "Green New Deal" has a Democratic Party sound to it, but why can't they present something visionary and future-looking that inspires hope instead of merely presuming that what's best is whatever we happened to have had in the past?

At the Sunrise Café...


... you can talk 'til dawn.

"So we have created a scenario which has mercifully slowed the virus’s spread, but, as we are now discovering, at the cost..."

"... of a potentially greater depression than in the 1930s, with no assurance of any progress yet visible. If we keep this up for six months, we could well keep the deaths relatively low and stable, but the economy would all but disintegrate. Just because Trump has argued that the cure could be worse than the disease doesn’t mean it isn’t potentially true. The previously unimaginable levels of unemployment and the massive debt-fueled outlays to lessen the blow simply cannot continue indefinitely. We have already, in just two months, wiped out all the job gains since the Great Recession. In six months? The wreckage boggles the mind. All of this is why, [on] some days, I can barely get out of bed. It is why protests against our total shutdown, while puny now, will doubtless grow. The psychological damage — not counting the physical toll — caused by this deeply unnatural way of life is going to intensify.... Damon Linker put it beautifully this week: 'A life without forward momentum is to a considerable extent a life without purpose — or at least the kind of purpose that lifts our spirits and enlivens our steps as we traverse time. Without the momentum and purpose, we flounder. A present without a future is a life that feels less worth living, because it’s a life haunted by a shadow of futility.'... We keep postponing herd immunity, if such a thing is even possible with this virus. A massive testing, tracing, and quarantining regime seems beyond the capacity of our federal government in the foreseeable future... [S]ometimes the only way past something is through it."

Writes Andrew Sullivan in "We Can’t Go on Like This Much Longer" (New York Magazine).

ADDED: Damon Linker may "put it beautifully," but to write  "Without the momentum and purpose, we flounder" is to be on the wrong side of the flounder/founder distinction.

"Flounder" is a fish, and the verb means to struggle, and that takes some "momentum and purpose." To "founder" is to collapse, to fall helplessly to the ground... without momentum.

Swimming in asphalt

Movies that begin with a person entering a particular place and end with him leaving.

Help me think of examples of this sequence:

In the first scene, a man (could be a woman) approaches the place (maybe a town). Then, there are many scenes of various people he encounters there and problems that arise. Doesn't matter what. The important thing is the final scene: He's walking away from the place. Could be driving or riding a horse. That's not what matters. What matters is that the only resolution of the story is just that the guy who approached this place is now leaving the place. Nothing about where he's going or what he plans to do next or how he's tied things up or any of that. The resolution is just that he's putting that place behind him.

I saw a movie like that last night. It's a fairly obscure movie, so I'm not going to mention it or encourage you to guess. What I want is to hear about other movies that fit that pattern. Please try to avoid talking about movies that don't fit that pattern.

Also, do you like stories like that? Assuming the things that happen in the place are interesting to watch, are you okay with endings that just have the guy walking out of the town?

ADDED: Here's the movie we watched:

We have big windows behind the TV and, at one point, we saw an owl fly up and land in the tree. We paused and made our own tiny movie. Visually, it's mostly darkness, but you can hear the bird's charming 8-note tune:

The David Sedaris story on which the movie is based is not the one with "owl" in the title. It's "Naked."

"Both waiters and customers wear masks. Diners can remove them to eat and drink..."

"... tucking them safely into an envelope the restaurant provides. Every surface is sanitized every half-hour. Customers have accepted the protocols, [one restaurateur] said. They’ve had to turn away only one for having a slight fever, and sent off a grumpy party of six that wanted to sit together. 'People are honestly much more understanding about everything now,' she said. 'They’re grateful they can go out and feel comfortable.... If you’ve managed to build a brand and built and cultivated integrity, people will trust you when you are allowed to open the door again.'... Is the urge to sit in a restaurant so great that customers will endure an experience that is more like a trip to the dental hygienist? Will they risk infection, even in a place with the safest protocols?... 'At the end of the day, we’re problem solvers and we will find a way to do this,' [said another restaurateur]. 'The restaurant industry is about constant chaos and writing a ballet out of that chaos. We’ve spent all of our careers preparing for this moment.'"

From "Safe Dining? Hard to Imagine, but Many Restaurants Are Trying/Though widespread reopenings may be a long way off, chefs and health officials have begun studying how a post-pandemic restaurant might look" (NYT).

Health has always been something restaurants have had to worry about getting right. Whenever we've gone to a restaurant, we've trusted the place not to damage our health. They make substances in the back room that we inject* into our body. The servers go to the bathroom and we've been trusting that they wash their hands thoroughly. We're more alert now and paying attention. There's a specific new danger on the list of things that could find their way into your body from a restaurant.

Restaurants get to earn our trust all over again, and we get to think carefully about how much we're going to put our lives in their (presumably washed) hands. Some of us, I think, have developed stronger feelings about how much restaurants mean to us, and others are more wary than ever about the agents of disease that lurk there. We all change and adapt. I'd like to think that makes us better and stronger.


* I'm just needling you. "Inject" means "To drive or force (a fluid, etc.) into a passage or cavity, as by means of a syringe, or by some impulsive power; said esp. of the introduction of medicines or other preparations into the cavities or tissues of the body" (OED). I don't really think "inject" is an accurate way to describe eating (unless it's something like the way geese eat in the production of foie gras).

BUT: Etymologically, the original meaning of "inject" is to throw in. We do speak of throwing back a few drinks.

AND: We do speak of injecting a little humor. We might say that Trump was injecting a little humor when he (lyingly) claimed to have been using sarcasm when words ejected from him that seemed to suggest that disinfectant of the sort that you'd use to wipe down a tabletop could be injected into the human body.

"Density alone doesn’t seem to account for the scale of the differential between New York’s fatality rates and those of other cities."

"New York has twice the density of London but three times the deaths, and the differential is even higher [comparing NYC to] cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. Deaths have occurred disproportionately in poorer areas, where the incidence of long untreated morbidities such as heart disease and diabetes have contributed significantly. But the same is true in all other cities. The high dependence on mass transit also seems to be a factor. In other major cities, car commutes are much more common. As Joel Kotkin, a scholar of cities at Chapman University in California, says, it may be the lethal convergence of all three factors. 'If you put together density, levels of poverty and reliance on a mass-transit system, you have a hat trick,' he told me.… But even that may not explain the extent of New York’s unique catastrophe. Around the world, the highest death rates have occurred where hospital systems were overwhelmed in the early stages of the crisis. This is especially true in northern Italy. Anecdotally, at least, it seems that the same happened in New York: Large numbers of sick people never got to hospitals, arrived too late or, in the impossible circumstances that medical personnel were confronted with, were given ineffective treatment.… It will be a while before we get a proper understanding of what went so tragically wrong...."

From "The Covid-19 Catastrophe Unfolding in New York Is Unique" (Wall Street Journal), quoted at my son John's Facebook page.

John writes:
I'm not sure this is a logical argument:
"Density alone doesn’t seem to account for the scale of the differential between New York’s fatality rates and those of other cities. New York has twice the density of London but three times the deaths, and the differential is even higher for cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles."
Doesn't that assume there's a linear relationship between density and infection rates, and isn't that not necessarily the case?
My question is about the comparison of New York to northern Italy, where hospitals were overrun. Were NY hospitals overrun? I thought they weren't.  I think the 3 factors named — density, reliance on mass-transit, and the bad health conditions represented by the term "poverty" — are enough to explain what happened. These things are interactive. Shouldn't we talk about Bayes theorem?

A great Anthony Fauci impersonation by Brad Pitt (on "Saturday Night Live" last night).

Who knew Brad Pitt could do impersonations? Some good satirizing of Trump rhetoric, as "Fauci" explains what Trump is really trying to say:

A day after his inflammatory, incoherent disinfectant-injection remarks, Trump announces that his long press briefings are not worth his time and effort.