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Member since: Tue Apr 12, 2005, 11:15 PM
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The Coronavirus Crisis Free-Falling: U.S. Oil Drops Below $2 Per Barrel As Demand Disappears

Updated at 1:44 p.m. ET

How low will oil prices go?

A key American oil benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, fell by more than 80% on Monday as global oil markets continue to grapple with a pandemic-driven collapse in demand.

At the start of 2020, a barrel of WTI cost around $60.

Shortly after 1:40 p.m. ET on Monday, a barrel was trading for less than $2 — the lowest price the WTI futures market has ever seen.

The plummeting price of WTI is driven by a trading contract deadline; oil traders have until Tuesday to sell off the current futures contract. Other types of crude, without a deadline coming up that quickly, have not dropped nearly so sharply.

Posted by womanofthehills | Mon Apr 20, 2020, 02:57 PM (5 replies)

No, You Did Not Get COVID-19 in the Fall of 2019

On Tuesday, KSBW, a news station in Monterey, California, aired a story about California’s potential “herd immunity” to the novel coronavirus. The piece opens by discussing a new study from Stanford Medicine in which researchers are conducting blood tests that detect antibodies, which can show whether an individual has or previously had COVID-19. The reporter then goes on to cite Victor Davis Hanson, a Stanford-affiliated source who advances the theory that COVID-19 might have actually begun spreading in California in fall 2019. “[Stanford’s] data could help to prove COVID-19 arrived undetected in California much earlier than previously thought,” KSBW reported.

The piece has spread widely. An accompanying web story posted to the TV station’s website has been shared more than 58,300 times, and has also been picked up by SFGate. The theory is appealing to some, particularly those who had respiratory illnesses in late 2019 that they now believe could’ve been COVID-19. In their minds, that might mean they have some immunity to the virus—and if a large portion of Americans have some immunity, we can begin our move out of lockdown. But that theory has no scientific basis, and it spreads dangerous misinformation.
Let’s start with the facts. I reached out to Stanford Medicine to try to understand the goals of its antibody test, and how it relates to Hanson’s fall 2019 theory. The short answer on the latter is that it doesn’t. “Our research does not suggest that the virus was here that early,” says Lisa Kim of Stanford’s media relations team.

Neither does anyone else’s, it appears. “There is zero probability [SARS-CoV-2] was circulating in fall 2019,” tweeted Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center who has been tracking SARS-CoV-2’s genetic code as it has spread. Allison Black, a genomic epidemiologist working in Bedford’s lab, says this is apparent from researchers’ data. As the virus spreads, it also mutates, much like the way words change in a game of Telephone. By sequencing the virus’s genome from different individual samples, researchers can track strains of the coronavirus back to its origins. They have been continually updating their findings on Nextstrain. (In case you’re wondering, the strains have nothing to do with severity of illness. They’re simply a way to track the virus’s mutations over time.)

Check out the source of the California story:

So what’s really behind this theory? It might be worth considering the source. KSBW’s piece begins by mentioning Stanford Medicine’s research, then quotes Victor Davis Hanson, a Stanford-affiliated source; the piece reads as if Hanson is one of these aforementioned Stanford Medicine researchers. But Hanson is a military historian, not a doctor or scientist; he is affiliated with Stanford’s Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank.* (I reached out to Hanson for comment, but he has not responded; we will update this article if he does.) The piece makes no effort to clarify what the Hoover Institution is, and it delves into Hanson’s “theory” as a prelude to a brief explanation of Stanford Medicine’s study. Hanson’s recent work, published in National Review, suggests he is eager to reopen the American economy. It would be quite convenient, then, to claim that the virus has already torn through the U.S. and granted us immunity. (In that article, Hanson also claims that “much of the virus modeling is nearly worthless” and refers to it as “science,” in scare quotes.)


A great person to follow on Twitter for this ongoing info is Trevor Bedford
Posted by womanofthehills | Mon Apr 13, 2020, 10:26 PM (8 replies)

Heartbreaking thread on Twitter from Lisa Rowe - her husband Scott posted on DU

Lisa Rowe

I just want him back. Not even 24 hours ago I had a live husband. How is he gone? I don't understand.

Posted by womanofthehills | Sun Apr 12, 2020, 07:31 PM (28 replies)

Washington Post today - Now Americans on SS have to file a tax return (discrepancy)

The Trump administration is requiring Americans who receive Social Security to file a tax return to receive their $1,200 economic stimulus payment, an added step that is causing confusion and could prevent millions from easy access to relief.

further down article:

But, the Internal Revenue Service posted a notice on its website on Monday instructing Social Security recipients who do not normally send in a return to file a “simple” tax return, which will be available soon.

“People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment," the IRS said. “Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax.”
A request to IRS and the Treasury Department for comment about the discrepancy was not returned. Democrats and some Republicans are upset that the Trump administration isn’t doing more to help ensure that as many Americans as possible get these payments during this national health emergency.

Forty-one Democratic senators sent the White House a letter Wednesday asking why the Trump administration is placing this “significant burden” on senior citizens and the disabled. GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri called it “ridiculous."

Posted by womanofthehills | Wed Apr 1, 2020, 08:24 PM (6 replies)
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