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Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 168,228

Journal Archives

Sherrod Brown Has a Message for America: Listen to Scientists, Not Donald Trump

March 25, 2020 7:00AM ET
Sherrod Brown Has a Message for America: Listen to Scientists, Not Donald Trump
The Ohio senator is good and mad, and fighting to stop a coronavirus bailout that stiffs working people
By Andy Kroll

WASHINGTON — Sherrod Brown was pissed off.


“Who can say anything but this is a national crisis?” Brown asked. “We’re going to make our unwillingness to do anything contingent on some parliamentary trick? No.”

The video of Brown’s fiery floor speech has been watched more than a million times. One journalist compared him to James Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. The Senate soon passed two of three planned coronavirus relief bills. But on Sunday night, Brown was one of 47 senators who voted against the so-called “Phase 3” relief bill, which included nearly half a trillion dollars to bail out big corporations with little oversight and contained plenty more giveaways for major industries.

“The banks always use [a crisis] to weaken rules so they can get more highly leveraged, jeopardizing the economy later but putting more money in their pockets,” Brown tells Rolling Stone. “We all know that — and Trump wants to do it that way. The question is: How do we stop that? The Democrats are united on that.”

Over his nearly three decades in Congress, Brown, who is 67, has developed a reputation as the voice of the working man and woman. He warned about the devastating consequences of NAFTA decades ago when free trade and globalization were Democratic Party gospel. And now, as lawmakers scramble to pass legislation that will help the American people survive what could be the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, Brown is one of the loudest voices in Congress demanding that coronavirus relief bills help regular working people and not become a massive bailout for banks, airlines, and other big corporations.

Brown recently spoke with Rolling Stone about what should be included in a coronavirus relief package, why he wants the president to use the Defense Production Act to manufacture badly needed medical equipment, and why Americans should not listen to Trump during the pandemic.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Mar 25, 2020, 08:27 AM (2 replies)

The New Trump Show: 'I've Gotten to Like This Room'

The New Trump Show: ‘I’ve Gotten to Like This Room’
The president has turned the abandoned briefing room into a new stage and he’s making it must-see TV.
03/25/2020 04:30 AM EDT

To anybody suddenly tuning into the president’s press conference this Monday evening, it might have seemed like the leader of the free world was channeling an off-hours televangelist, taking advantage of a pandemic to offer a hazy tale of a miraculous cure.

“… a gentleman,” Donald Trump intoned from inside the White House, invoking an antimalarial remedy called hydroxychloroquine, “they thought he was not going to make it. He said goodbye to his family. They had given him the drug just a little while before, but he thought it was over. His family thought he was going to die. And a number of hours later, he woke up, felt good. Then he woke up again, and he felt really good. And he’s in good shape. And he’s very happy …” The drug, if it works on Covid-19, would be, he said, “a gift from God.”

This brief, almost mystical tale came in the eight-minute mark of the first hour of another installment of what has become a new American serial drama.

Over the last two weeks, Trump has embarked on a striking chapter of his optics-obsessed presidency, turning the all-but-abandoned briefing room into the set of a largely unscripted television series that has gripped, worried and (depending on one’s political affiliation) infuriated viewers.

Stripped of the weapon of his rallies, of “chopper talk,” of the sorts of set pieces to which the populace had grown accustomed over the three-plus years he’s been commander-in-chief, Trump as a president in crisis has engineered something different. While governors from New York to California have staged almost daily briefings, offering a traditional mixture of stern warnings and words of comfort, Trump has created something more like a show built on narrative surprises and populated with familiar characters—the good doctors, the bad reporters, the loyal lieutenants. And in the middle of it all, playing the role of the ringmaster, the marketer and the brander and the professed expert, is Trump.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Mar 25, 2020, 08:11 AM (8 replies)

Have you been isolating?

I know we need to go grocery shopping, but if you can stay at home, are you? Or are you bored and go to Lowe's or HD, or...

Me, I am scared. I did go to Lowe's a few days ago, but only the nursery outside. I am lucky to have my so volunteer to shop.

I've been home for weeks. What about this is not to be taken seriously?

Posted by babylonsister | Wed Mar 25, 2020, 12:12 AM (65 replies)

Trump privately appeals to Asia and Europe for medical help to fight coronavirus

I'm glad he's spooked, the fuckwad.


2m ago 23:48
Julian Borger
Trump privately appeals to Asia and Europe for medical help to fight coronavirus

The US has been appealing to its allies for help in obtaining medical supplies to overcome critical shortages in its fight against coronavirus.

In his public rhetoric Donald Trump has been talking up the domestic private sector response to the crisis.

“We should never be reliant on a foreign country for the means of our own survival,” Trump said at a White House briefing on Tuesday evening. “America will never be a supplicant nation.”

However behind the scenes, the administration has approached European and Asian partners to secure supplies of testing kits and other medical equipment that are in desperately short supply in the US.

On Tuesday, Trump spoke by phone with the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, asking if his country could supply medical equipment.

The official White House account made no mention of the request, but according to the South Korean presidency, the Blue House, the call was made at Trump’s “urgent request”.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 24, 2020, 11:54 PM (4 replies)

Healthcare workers: like sending a soldier into battle without a gun.

A doctor on Brian Williams tonight, though I've read that before.

Exactly! This is just terrible.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 24, 2020, 11:41 PM (0 replies)

New Orleans is an epicenter of coronavirus. Mardi Gras could be to blame, doctors say.

So a whole lot of folks go to Mardi Gras.

New Orleans is an epicenter of coronavirus. Mardi Gras could be to blame, doctors say.
As of Tuesday afternoon, New Orleans had 567 of Louisiana's 1,388 cases of coronavirus and 20 of the state's 46 deaths.
March 24, 2020, 5:11 PM EDT
By Elisha Fieldstadt

Health experts say it's no surprise that New Orleans is the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in hard-hit Louisiana, after over a million people flocked to the city to celebrate Carnival for more than a month, culminating in Mardi Gras at the end of February.

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday requested a Major Disaster Declaration for the state as the number of cases rose to 1,388 cases in 43 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes, according to the state's health department.

At least 46 people have died.

“It is still impossible to know exactly how long the COVID-19 pandemic will impact Louisiana, but what we do know is that we have more cases per capita than every state, except for New York and Washington," Edwards said Tuesday. On Sunday, he issued a stay at home order in an effort to slow the rapid rise of cases.

While some parishes appear to be unaffected, Edwards said testing just hadn't caught up. "We shouldn't delude ourselves. It's in every single parish," he said.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 24, 2020, 11:11 PM (20 replies)

Gates says we can't restart the economy soon and simply "ignore that pile of bodies over in the corn

Bill Gates says we can’t restart the economy soon and simply “ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner”
Gates rebuked the proposal of leaders like Donald Trump.
By Theodore Schleifer@teddyschleifer Mar 24, 2020, 1:44pm EDT

Bill Gates rebuked proposals, floated over the last two days by leaders like Donald Trump, to reopen the global economy despite the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, saying that this approach would be “very irresponsible.”

Gates did not mention Trump by name, but the American president has said that he may decide to relax some of the country’s “social distancing” in order to jumpstart the country’s shut-down economy. Gates, the country’s leading philanthropist, has been among the most active tech leaders in using his resources to try and contain the virus.

“There really is no middle ground, and it’s very tough to say to people, ‘Hey, keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner. We want you to keep spending because there’s maybe a politician who thinks GDP growth is all that counts,’” Gates said in an interview with TED Tuesday. “It’s very irresponsible for somebody to suggest that we can have the best of both worlds.”

Trump has suggested that this middle ground would indeed be possible — by letting some healthy people return to work, for instance, while keeping more vulnerable workers in their homes. Experts have said that drastic and widespread social distancing is required to keep the pandemic from spreading further. Trump has said he would make a decision at the end of the month but has said that he believes the “cure” could be worse than the “problem itself.”

Asked what he would do if he were president, Gates returned to his concerns about reopening the economy.

“The economic effect of this is really dramatic. Nothing like this has ever happened to the economy in our lifetimes,” Gates said. “But bringing the economy back ... that’s more of a reversible thing than bringing people back to life. So we’re going to take the pain in the economic dimension — huge pain — in order to minimize the pain in the diseases-and-death dimension.”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 24, 2020, 10:22 PM (2 replies)

"State Was Caught Flat-Footed"...Pompeo Left State Vulnerable During the Crisis

Foreign Policy
“State Was Caught Flat-Footed”: Following Trump’s Line, Sources Say Pompeo Left State Vulnerable During the Crisis
Former diplomats say that “no steps were taken to protect Americans overseas” and that Pompeo, seeing political danger, wants to stay as far from the crisis as possible.
By Abigail Tracy
March 24, 2020

Mike Pompeo owes his success in Trumpworld, first as CIA director and now America’s top diplomat, to performing for an audience of one. While not as removed as his predecessor, Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State has often seemed to treat the State Department (Trump likes to refer to it as the “Deep State Department”) as an afterthought, if not an impediment. But as the threat of the novel coronavirus grew globally, diplomats grew increasingly concerned that Pompeo’s lack of leadership would have a human toll. “Pompeo suffers now from the same infirmity that he suffered prior to the pandemic, a lack of credibility, except now the consequences are even more grave,” a former State Department official told me. “This is not just for the public, but also for the workforce.”

With roughly 75,000 employees scattered around the world, many in countries where the contagion took hold before the novel coronavirus hit American shores, the State Department isn’t a typical workplace. Sources I spoke with have criticized Pompeo’s decision to follow the Trumpian line—“totally under control”; it’s just like the flu—arguing that it left diplomats and Americans overseas at risk. “State was caught flat-footed just like everyone else because of the deliberate approach of the White House to downplay the problem…. How did State not stand up a task force?” a former ambassador told me. “Under any other secretary, a task force would have been stood up months ago. To review conditions in every single country.” (On Thursday of last week, the State Department did set up a task force, the Coronavirus Global Response Coordination Unit, to bring American citizens overseas back to the U.S.)


But inside Foggy Bottom what sources describe as a lack of clear guidance and specifics has left diplomats thirsting for more information. “His communications were vague and general about the workforce and did not exhibit much interest or concern,” a second former State Department employee, still in touch with many former colleagues, told me. “In my view he has mostly checked out on the leadership side of things, feeling, I guess, that he has other things to focus his energies on. He appears to be leaving the response and communications to others, his subordinates, to maintain some distance. Not sure what to compare it to but I think the sentiment is that he could be doing a lot more.”

“For weeks friends at the State Department told me how nervous they were going into work,” Brett Bruen, a former foreign service officer, told me, noting that people coming back from overseas were expected to come to work, without precautions or safety procedures. And for those abroad, the reality is even more complicated. “No steps were taken to protect Americans overseas either, Bruen added. “They were told don’t travel to these countries, but the rest of the world is a greenlight. That was just really dumb both because we knew from what was happening here and in other countries that things were getting worse.” The State Department took the extraordinary step last week of issuing a Level 4 travel advisory, warning Americans not to travel abroad and that those overseas “in countries where commercial departure options remain available” to return to the United States as soon as they can. The Department is aggressively working to bring Americans stranded abroad home. Citing a senior State Department official, ABC News reported Monday that 5,700 Americans have been repatriated from 17 countries to the U.S., but at least 13,500 Americans remain stuck abroad. “Here we are, in literally a world of hurt, scrambling to find a way to bring back an unprecedented number of Americans,” Bruen continued.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 24, 2020, 10:18 PM (2 replies)

Dan Rather on Trump's Coronavirus Approach: 'It's Disgraceful'

March 24, 2020 12:50PM ET
Dan Rather on Trump’s Coronavirus Approach: ‘It’s Disgraceful’
The veteran newsman on whether the president’s press conferences are propaganda and what he would like to ask Trump
By David Browne

“As Lyndon Johnson said, ‘I’m hunkered down like a mule in a hailstorm,’ ” says Dan Rather from his New York apartment. Now 88, the veteran reporter and newsman is holed up like many in his city, but he’s hardly silent. Although it’s been 14 years since he and CBS News parted ways, Rather remains active in his business; he’s gearing up for a new season of his Big Interview series on the AXS TV network and has a SiriusXM show, Dan Rather’s America.

In recent years, Rather, known for confrontational interviews with presidents Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush, has also become one of President Trump’s most vocal critics. And he’s used his Twitter account, which he’s had since 2009, to tweak and critique the ways of Washington: “We stockpile bombs and ammunition for our national security, at huge cost. Why haven’t we stockpiled respirators, masks, and other gear at a fraction of that cost?” or “Excuse me but why is the Senate gym apparently open? Doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.”

We checked in with Rather to get his take on the current pandemic — and how both the Trump administration and the media are handling it.

You’ve been witness to a lot of history, from the civil-rights movement to Vietnam to Watergate. Can you compare what we’re going through now to anything you’ve experienced?

No. None of us Americans have seen anything quite like this since the great flu of 1918, and even I, at my advanced age, was not alive in 1918 [laughs]. This is completely uncharted territory. When this is over, there’s just no way we will be the same country. We can’t and probably shouldn’t be, for that matter.

But we haven’t had this kind of test in our lifetime. I think you’d have to go back to the very first days of Pearl Harbor and the Japanese attack. It looked like we could well lose World War II, and the whole nation felt those were scary and sad times. But what we’ve learned from ancient and modern history is that we reach into the wellsprings of hope and resolve to get through things like this, and I think we will.

You’ve been a regular critic of Donald Trump. How would you rate his performance so far during this pandemic?

I’m trying my very best to be objective, but his performance is disappointing, to say the very least. It’s clear that he has decided to lead from behind. He says he doesn’t want to take any responsibility for any strategic or tactical decisions. That’s always somebody else. It’s disappointing and dispiriting and, frankly, disgraceful.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 24, 2020, 08:46 PM (0 replies)

Cambridge (MA) To Pay Restaurants To Make Meals For Homeless People

Cambridge To Pay Restaurants To Make Meals For Homeless People
March 23, 2020
Adrian Ma

As Greater Boston's economy downshifts help contain the spread of the coronavirus, among the many groups of people feeling the pain are restaurant workers and people experiencing homelessness.

Starting Monday, the city is launching a program that will pay local restaurants to make and deliver boxed or bagged lunches to nearby homeless shelters. Working with Central Square Business Improvement District and Harvard Square Business Association, the goal is to deliver about 1,800 to 2,000 meals to nine different shelters by the end of this week.

In more normal times, local homeless shelters often rely on nearby restaurants to donate food, and on outside volunteers to help with food prep. But the city and statewide shutdowns have disrupted that system.

"Many of the programs were both down staff and had a reduced number of volunteers, which made providing meals to their guests much more complicated," said Ellen Semonoff, Cambridge's assistant city manager for human services.

“By contracting with local restaurants in Central and Harvard Square, where a large majority of homeless programs are located, we are able to minimize delivery challenges, and facilitate the availability of both hot and cold meals to shelters and other sites in both Squares," Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis DePasquale said in a statement announcing the initiative.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 24, 2020, 04:05 PM (0 replies)
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