A Tale of Two Reactions
March 13, 2020
In San Francisco it is a tale of two cities. This morning while walking around town you would think in some places it was business as usual. People meeting in very close proximity over a cup of coffee. And yet then in the evening in the grocery store was the busiest we’ve ever seen it with some of the longest lines. Many people are now wearing face masks (a significant uptick than just the day before), and the grocery store shelves are emptying.
We first wrote about COVID-19 on January 17, 2020’s edition. And given what we’ve learned we think the worst is unfortunately yet to come. A few important pieces of context:
- We are not trying to be alarmist and we think it’s important to try to be thoughtful in all matters
- We do not say this because we want more eyeballs/clicks
- We do worry greatly about the lack of global and national leadership on this matter
- We spend a lot of our time reading and reflecting on the news and given what we’ve read and reflected we think many more people are sick and inadvertently carrying the virus.
- We request that everyone take thoughtful precautionary measures now: aggressive hygiene (avoid touching one’s face, wash one’s hands, and wear a mask properly as necessary) along with social distancing and avoiding crowded places.
- We wish everyone safety and good health.
Leadership is Destiny (we’ve fallen in love with that phrase because despite having been indoctrinated on the importance of leadership at West Point and in the Army only recently after much reflection, study, and firsthand experience do we realize just how important leaders are):
- Covid-19 coronavirus testing in the US has been absurdly sluggish. That puts us at risk. (Vox)
- Anger grows at Trump administration’s coronavirus testing failures (Guardian)
- Sick People Across the U.S. Say They Are Being Denied the Coronavirus Test (NYT, $)
- ‘Everything is up in the air’: coronavirus fears upend US election campaigns (Guardian)
- How Right-Wing Pundits Are Covering Coronavirus (NYT, $)
- Detroit suspends water shutoffs over Covid-19 fears | US news (Guardian)
- Trump’s coronavirus response is a disaster (Vox)
- The Unseen Wave of Covid-19 (Vanity Fair)
- To improve the US coronavirus response, Donald Trump should resign (The Verge)
- Trump’s Top Coronavirus Expert: The President Is Full of Shit (Vanity Fair)
International, Health, & Society:
- Coronavirus: Countries enforce mass closures to stem spread (BBC)
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should I see a doctor? (Guardian)
- Why Covid-19 is so dangerous for older adults (Vox)
- Special Report: Italy and South Korea virus outbreaks reveal disparity in deaths and tactics (Reuters)
- Italy’s Health Care System Groans Under Coronavirus — a Warning to the World (NYT, $)
- Kids will be kids: Wuhan students tried to boot remote learning app from the App Store by leaving bad reviews (The Verge)
- Coronavirus Is a Preview of Our Self-Isolating Future (One Zero)
- The market reacts first, and if the market is signaling this is going to be bad in the short term, then who are we to disagree: Dow Plunges 2,300 Points: Stocks In Meltdown As Panic Selling Continues (NPR)
- Wait, and I thought bitcoin was suppose to be a safety asset class: Bitcoin plummets as cryptocurrencies suffer in market turmoil (Reuters)
- Wait, conventional wisdom is that Slack would be a great stock during this time of work from home:Slack (WORK) stock tanks on weak guidance (CNBC)
- Satellite images show Iran has built mass graves amid coronavirus outbreak (Guardian)
- It is indeed a small world, Disney: Disney World and Disneyland are closing amid Covid-19 fears (Vox)
- The power of techopolies must be checked: Coronavirus could force ISPs to abandon data caps forever (Techcrunch)
- Coronavirus: Norwegian Air to suspend half its staff (BBC)
- Resumption of work at Foxconn factories in China beats expectations, says founder (Reuters)
“The question is not how to get cured, but how to live.” ― Joseph Conrad
“Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.” – Susan Sontag
Here We Go Again. Same Old War Again.
One British and two American soldiers were killed Wednesday and 12 other people severely wounded in a rocket attack on Camp Taji, an Iraqi base where coalition troops are stationed. Iraqi Security Forces later found a truck that was rigged to fire rockets. Pentagon officials said they were studying all possible military responses with President Trump.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday the US military knows “with a high degree of certainty” that an Iran-backed group was behind the attack. So far no one has claimed responsibility, but two Iran-backed militia praised the strike. Kataib Hezbollah, which the US blames for previous rocket attacks, congratulated the perpetrators and urged other militias to follow their example.
This is the 13th such strike since the start of the year, including attacks on the US Embassy, further straining the precarious relationship between Washington and Bagdad. Marine General Frank McKenzie, who is responsible for US operations in the Middle East, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday. “I would tell you … a red line … is going to be the death of a service member or those of our partners and allies. That’s a red line,” McKenzie told senators.
Meanwhile House members voted Wednesday to limit Trump’s ability to use military force against Iran without congressional approval; the resolution doesn’t prevent the US from defending itself against an imminent attack. A companion resolution passed the Senate in February. The measure now goes to the president’s desk, but he’s expected to veto it. Trump was asked Thursday whether a military response to the rocket attack was certain; he replied: “You will see.”
- U.S. Launches Retaliatory Airstrikes In Iraq After Missile Attack (NPR)
- Acting Intelligence Chief Freezes Hiring and Looks to Cut Office (NYT, $)
- Some 100 female inmates at Hong Kong’s Lo Wu prison work six days a week in shifts of six to 10 hours, for which they’re paid less than $103 a month. Now they’re being asked to work night shifts as well, in order to turn out 2.5 million face masks a month after a huge rise in demand. A lawmaker who campaigns for prisoners’ rights called the decision “exploitation and another form of modern slavery.” Prison officials said women could approach their managers if they didn’t want to work nights.
- On Monday New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo announced that in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the state will also be using prison labor to produce 100,000 gallons of hand sanitizer for schools, prisons, transportation systems and other government agencies. Prisoners are among the populations most vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19. The danger is particularly heightened in overcrowded facilities, which could create a “perfect storm” for spreading the disease.
- It is notable that Italy’s prisons are among the most overcrowded in Europe. “The spread of the virus is a real concern,” said a spokeswoman for the Italian prison rights group Antigone. (Guardian)
Additional World News
- CNN tracks US social media trolls to Ghana, then Russia before 2020 vote (CNN)
- UN under fire over choice of ‘corporate puppet’ as envoy at key food summit (Guardian)
- ‘If You’re Not Sweating’ in This Town, ‘There’s Something Wrong’ (NYT, $)
- Europe Wants a ‘Right to Repair’ Smartphones and Gadgets (NYT, $)
- Israel Faces a Defining Question: How Much Democracy Should Arabs Get? (NYT, $)
Joe Raedle via Getty Images
This Little Loan Went To Market, This Little Loan Went To Homes
- The Trump administration continues to try coming up with ways to stabilize a market that Covid-19 has sent into free fall. On Wednesday Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he would recommend to the president that the April 15 deadline for filing taxes be delayed for most individual taxpayers and small businesses, and that no interest or penalty attach. “That will have the impact of putting over $200 billion back into the economy, and that will create a very big stimulus,” Mnuchin told reporters after testifying before Congress.
- And on instructions from Chairman Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve said Thursday it would make vast sums of short-term loans available on Wall Street, and purchase Treasury securities in a move aimed at preventing ominous trading conditions from creating a sharper economic contraction.
- Some investors predicted the Fed’s actions wouldn’t be successful until markets had confidence that Washington was taking a more aggressive response to the public health emergency. (WSJ)
Additional USA News
- A Spy Agency’s Challenge: How To Sort A Million Photos A Day (NPR)
- In Ohio town grieving lost jobs, voters are deeply divided on President Trump (NBC)
- Survey: White Evangelicals See Trump As ‘Honest’ And ‘Morally Upstanding’ (NPR)
- Trump’s Company Paid Bribes to Reduce Property Taxes, Assessors Say (ProPublica)
- Why Democracy Is on the Decline in the United States (New Yorker)
The American Nightmare
- A Wall Street Journal survey conducted in September 2019 reveals that more than half of Millennials think their generation’s American dream has been upended.
- Young people who started their working lives around the time of the Great Recession in 2008-2009 encountered venerable financial institutions that were failing and bringing the stock markets down with them, the worst joblessness since the Great Depression, and millions of Americans losing their homes to foreclosure.
- 1,440 Americans across the Millennial, Generation X and Baby Boomer generations offered surprising insights into how Millennials view money and investing, and how those views often differ markedly from previous generations.
- Those born between 1981 and 1996 feel more financially burdened and are more focused on the here and now than their parents and grandparents. They’re also more distrustful of financial institutions and less financially literate than prior generations.
- Many are putting off big milestones like buying homes, even while being committed to putting social values before monetary rewards when choosing investments or jobs. Over half of Millennials surveyed feel overwhelmed by financial obligations, compared with 39 percent of Gen Xers and 31 percent of Boomers.
- A 29-year-old financial adviser from Detroit, who knows people who lost their jobs, homes, and went bankrupt during the Recession, says Millennials view investment risk very differently than their parents. They’re wary about putting too much of their money into stocks, fearful of the next crash. (WSJ)
- ‘I wear my grandad’s old boxers’: meet the people who haven’t bought clothes for a decade (Guardian)
- Reclaim Downtime: It’s OK To ‘Do Nothing,’ Says Celeste Headlee (NPR)
- There Are Too Many Celebrities. Here’s How We’re Dealing With Them as a Society. (NYT, $)
- How a ‘growth mindset’ can lead to success (BBC)
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