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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 13,363

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Smithsonian Channel Plus

FYI there's a $2.99/month promotion going on until the end of April. That's 40% off.

Just thought I'd let the DU community know.

Cuomo Says Florida Beachgoers Travelling to New York Must First Be Tested for I.Q.

ALBANY (The Borowitz Report)—After seeing images of Floridians crowding the beaches in Jacksonville, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all Florida beachgoers who travel to New York must first be tested for I.Q.

“Just as we’ve started flattening the curve, a surge in Florida beachgoers is the last thing our state needs,” Cuomo said. “And so, at all points of entry in New York, we will be ramping up I.Q. testing immediately.”

Cuomo said that, in order to administer I.Q. tests to all Florida beachgoers attempting to enter New York, the state will have to purchase tens of thousands of I.Q. tests on the open market. “I asked the President for help in buying them, but he doesn’t believe in I.Q. tests,” the Governor said.

In Tallahassee, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that he was “hopping mad” at Cuomo for insisting that Florida beachgoers prove that they are capable of rational thought. “I was on the beach in Jacksonville yesterday,” a defiant DeSantis said. “If I fly to New York right now, will my I.Q. be tested?”

Minutes later, Cuomo issued a brief response. “In the case of Governor DeSantis, I don’t think an I.Q. test is necessary,” he said.


The problem isn't a lack of information. It's Trump.

As President Trump, his advisers and his allies in Congress continue to try to frame the World Health Organization for Trump’s failure to prepare for the pandemic, new evidence shows that U.S. and WHO officials in China were in constant contact with each other in the crucial days of January, as the virus spread.

U.S. personnel working in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing met extensively with WHO officials there in the month of January, the time when Trump accuses the WHO of conspiring with China to hide the true danger of the novel coronavirus. According to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity, U.S. officials in Beijing had at least 10 telephonic or in-person meetings — and likely more — with WHO officials in the month of January.

Trump administration officials from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health were among those conferring regularly in Beijing with WHO officials, twice in the week of Jan. 6, three times in the week of Jan. 13, three times in the week of Jan. 20 and twice in the week of Jan. 27. These were in addition to informal calls between U.S. and WHO officials in Beijing. The meetings, which continued in February and March, were with WHO officials ranging from those based in China to WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; Michael Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies program; and Bruce Aylward, who led a WHO mission to Wuhan, China, in February.

The Post’s Karen DeYoung, Lena H. Sun and Emily Rauhala confirmed on Sunday that U.S. officials were working full-time at the WHO’s Geneva headquarters as the virus spread and transmitted information in real time to the Trump administration. The latest revelations add to a picture of U.S. officials working collaboratively with the WHO — until Trump, trying to blunt criticism of his own handling of the virus, decided to make the WHO a scapegoat. Last week, he said he’d cut off funding for the WHO and accused the international body of being a “tool” of communist China.


Trump's mission to reopen the economy is his Hail Mary chance at reelection

Public health experts worry that “reopening” the country too soon will be bad for public health. Economists worry it will be bad for the economy. The general public worries it will bad for, well, everyone.

So why is President Trump agitating to do so anyway, even encouraging insurrection against his own administration’s stay-at-home guidance?

Because it’s the only Hail Mary chance he has at reelection. And, sure, it probably won’t pay off. But just as he’s done his entire life, Trump has no problem gambling with other people’s money and well-being — even if the stakes could be fatal.

Pre-pandemic, Trump’s case for reelection could be summed up as: “But the economy.” Ignore the racism, misogyny, abuses of power, environmental destruction, kids in cages, the siphoning of taxpayer funds into Trump-owned golf cart rentals. The economy has been good! And, rightly or wrongly, voters credit him. So long as stocks are high and unemployment is low, Americans might be willing keep him in charge.


Hundreds of thousands in L.A. County may have been infected with coronavirus, study finds

Source: LA Times

Hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles County residents may have been infected with the coronavirus by early April, far outpacing the number of officially confirmed cases, according to a report released Monday.

The initial results from the first large-scale study tracking the spread of the coronavirus in the county found that 2.8% to 5.6% of adults have antibodies to the virus in their blood, an indication of past exposure.

That translates to roughly 221,000 to 442,000 adults who have recovered from an infection, according to the researchers conducting the study, even though the county had reported fewer than 8,000 cases at that time.

“We haven’t known the true extent of COVID-19 infections in our community because we have only tested people with symptoms, and the availability of tests has been limited,” study leader Neeraj Sood, a professor at USC‘s Price School for Public Policy, said in a statement. “The estimates also suggest that we might have to re-calibrate disease prediction models and rethink public health strategies.”

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-04-20/coronavirus-serology-testing-la-county

A Deep-Diving Sub. A Deadly Fire. And Russia's Secret Undersea Agenda.

Few want to talk about how 14 sailors met their deaths on a Russian engineering marvel. Fewer still want to talk about what they were doing off Norway’s waters.

There could hardly have been a more terrifying place to fight a fire than in the belly of the Losharik, a mysterious deep-diving Russian submarine.

Something, it appears, had gone terribly wrong in the battery compartment as the sub made its way through Russian waters 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle on the First of July.

A fire on any submarine may be a mariner’s worst nightmare, but a fire on the Losharik was a threat of another order altogether. The vessel is able to dive far deeper than almost any other sub, but the feats of engineering that allow it do so may have helped seal the fate of the 14 sailors killed in the disaster.

The only thing more mysterious than what exactly went wrong that day is what the sub was doing in a thousand feet of water just 60 nautical miles east of Norway in the first place.


Fact check: On Sunday, Trump takes no break from repeating false virus claims

President Donald Trump used Sunday's White House briefing to repeat some of his favorite false claims about the coronavirus crisis and to make some new ones.

Trump falsely claimed, again, that he "inherited" a defective coronavirus test; the faulty test was developed this year. He falsely claimed, again, that "nobody ever thought" there would be a crisis like this; there were years of warnings. And he falsely claimed, again, that his travel restrictions on China and Europe, for which he exempted large groups of travelers, amounted to a complete "ban."

Trump also claimed that all of the people protesting against pandemic restrictions have stood six feet apart from each other. Some have not. And he claimed that a critical component of coronavirus tests, the reagent, is "so easy to get," though governors from both parties and public health officials in multiple states say it is not.


Newsom is helping immigrants amid coronavirus pandemic. There's nothing Trump can do about it.

Three years ago, President Trump complained to Fox News that California was “out of control.” What he meant was that the state was out of his control. It still is.

And states always will be, no matter who is occupying the Oval Office.

Trump must have been asleep in his high school civics class when the teacher lectured about states’ rights and the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Trump has been knocked down by federal courts a few times when he tried to force his will on California.


Brett Giroir, Trump's testing czar, was forced out of a job developing vaccine projects.

Now he’s on the hot seat.

Brett Giroir, the federal official overseeing coronavirus testing efforts, says that his experience working on vaccine development projects at Texas A&M University helped prepare him for this historic moment. He once said that his vaccine effort was so vital that “the fate of 50 million people will rely on us getting this done.”

But after eight years of work on several vaccine projects, Giroir was told in 2015 he had 30 minutes to resign or he would be fired. His annual performance evaluation at Texas A&M, the local newspaper reported, said he was “more interested in promoting yourself” than the health science center where he worked. He got low marks on being a “team player.”

Now President Trump has given Giroir the crucial task of ending the massive shortfall of tests for the novel coronavirus. Some governors have blasted the lack of federal help on testing, which they say is necessary to enact Trump’s plan for reopening the economy.

That criticism has focused attention on Giroir and whether he can deliver results under pressure. His years as director of the Texas vaccine project illustrate his operating style, which includes sweeping statements about the impact of his work, not all of which turned out as some had hoped.


Peter Beard, Wildlife Photographer on the Wild Side, Dies at 82

Called “the last of the adventurers,” Mr. Beard photographed African fauna at great personal risk, and well into old age could party till dawn. He had been missing for 19 days.

Peter Beard, a New York photographer, artist and naturalist to whom the word “wild” was roundly applied, both for his death-defying photographs of African wildlife and for his own much-publicized days — decades, really — as an amorous, bibulous, pharmaceutically inclined man about town, was found dead in the woods on Sunday, almost three weeks after he disappeared from his home in Montauk on the East End of Long Island. He was 82.

His family confirmed that a body found in Camp Hero State Park in Montauk was that of Mr. Beard.

He had dementia and had experienced at least one stroke. He was last seen on March 31, and the authorities had conducted an extensive search for him.

“We are all heartbroken by the confirmation of our beloved Peter’s death,” the family said in a statement, adding, “He died where he lived: in nature.”

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