A COVID-19 Infected President | Holding Out for HEROES | World’s Most Dangerous Uncle
July 8, 2020
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ― Maya Angelou
Holding Out For A HEROES Act
(San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images)
As COVID-19 continues its spread throughout the US, another problem is on the horizon: evictions. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, 42 states and Washington DC have all helped struggling citizens keep their homes by placing moratoriums on evictions. But now, as the delays on evictions reach their end, many tenants who’ve lost their jobs could be in danger of losing their homes as well.
In New York, the state placed a three-month eviction moratorium beginning in March. As the three month period expired, the state created another delay on evictions, but with more restrictive criteria. For those who don’t meet the new requirement of experiencing “financial hardship” due to COVID-19, the state has little to offer.
New York, especially, is impacted by evictions. The state has lost 1.1 million units of affordable housing over the last 20 years, and New York City, where 40 percent of the state’s population resides, is currently facing an affordable housing crisis. Outside of New York, another report predicts that over 20 million US residents will be at risk of eviction come September.
While some pieces of pandemic legislation have helped people scrape by for the time being, the government could be doing much more to secure the well-being of its citizens. The CARES Act, which provides enhanced unemployment benefits, has helped supplement people’s incomes but expires at the end of July. States have also begun putting funds into rental assistance programs to help renters meet their financial obligations, but these funds are not large enough to help everyone, and the requirements for assistance are also very narrow: for example, New York’s relief fund only helps those who lost their income between April 1 and July 31.
Nationally, the House passed the HEROES Act in May, which would provide $100 billion in rental assistance and create a national eviction moratorium alongside continuing unemployment benefits, but the bill has yet to pass the Senate.
- New Data Sheds Light on Who Is Moving Because of the Pandemic (NYT, $)
- As draw of city life faded for non-college workers, Blacks and Latinos were squeezed hardest (Reuters)
- CFPB Strips Some Consumer Protections For Payday Loans (NPR)
- Additional Song: Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out For A Hero…or try the Shrek version
Worst Case Bol-scenario
(Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
- For months, Brazil’s populist president Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the coronavirus crisis, dismissing the infection as just a “little flu,” refusing to wear a mask, socially distance or shut down any businesses. Now he’s tested positive for COVID-19. He made the announcement on Brazilian TV channels Tuesday.
- “On Sunday, I wasn’t feeling very well. On Monday, it got worse when I started feeling tired and some muscle pain. I also had a 38-degree [Celsius] fever. Given those symptoms, the presidential doctor said there was suspicion of COVID-19,” Bolsonaro said, adding that he then went to hospital to receive a lung scan. His wife, First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro, was also tested.
- He warned people not to come too close to him, and promised to hold future meetings by video conference. Bolsonaro has long maintained that lockdowns would hurt the country more than the virus itself. In a March 24 speech, he said: “Our life has to go on. Jobs should be maintained.”
- He held onto that position even as Brazil’s outbreak dramatically worsened, criticizing governors and mayors for introducing stringent lockdown measures in an attempt to curb cases. On Monday, Brazil’s health ministry said there have been more than 65,000 deaths and 1,623,284 confirmed cases so far. But given the difficulty of obtaining coronavirus tests in the country, some local experts say the real number of people infected could be 12 to 16 times higher. (CNN)
A “Cassandra” Health Official
- Israel’s top public health official resigned Tuesday, frustrated that her warnings hadn’t been heeded, the country had reopened too soon, and now there is a new surge of coronavirus cases that officials are scrambling to contain.
- Siegal Sadetzki, Israeli Health Ministry’s Public Health Services director, and the leading epidemiologist heading the COVID-19 response, had praised Israel’s nationwide lockdowns in the spring, which brought an initial wave of infections down to about 10 cases a day. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared victory over the pandemic in May, encouraging Israelis to go out and “enjoy yourselves.”
- Schools and wedding venues were reopened in June, with Sadetzki warning it was too soon. She posted her nine-page resignation letter on Facebook Tuesday, the same day authorities were quickly reimposing restrictions shutting down wedding and entertainment venues, bars, clubs, gyms and swimming pools.
- The Health Ministry said the country currently has at least 12,700 active cases, and at least 338 deaths. Netanyahu’s approval rating for handling the health crisis dropped almost 30 percentage points from May to July. (NPR)
Additional World News
- Merkel looks east as ties fray between Germany and U.S. (Politico)
- China blackmailing dissenters in US to return home – FBI chief (Guardian)
- Iran Nuclear Program Set Back Months; Bomb Used, Official Says (NYT, $)
- Even if we start to fix climate change, the proof may not show up for 30 years (WaPo, $)
- Russia Arrests Space Agency Official, Accusing Him of Treason (NYT, $)
- Britain Says It Will Resume Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia (NYT, $)
- US officially notifies World Health Organization of its withdrawal (Guardian)
- Dutch arrests after discovery of ‘torture chamber’ in sea containers (Guardian)
- Farmers’ markets go hi-tech: how online sales are saving Indian farmers (Guardian)
- Trudeau’s White House Snub Reflects Canada’s Fears Of Coronavirus In US (NPR)
- Kenya uses app in battle against desert locusts (Reuters)
- Sealand: A peculiar ‘nation’ off England’s coast (BBC). A few days ago America celebrated its independence from Great Britain. Sealand is revolutionary in its own way: it shows us the holes in international law, and that even some of the world’s most important governments have their blind spots. Additional reference: Seasteading (Wikipedia)
- Fauci: US is ‘still knee-deep in first wave’ of pandemic as it passes 130,000 deaths (Guardian)
- India Surpasses Russia In Reported Coronavirus Infections (NPR)
- Italy could ‘section’ people who refuse treatment for Covid-19 (Guardian)
- Sweden Has Become the World’s Cautionary Tale (NYT, $)
- Another Coronavirus Nursing-Home Disaster Is Coming (Atlantic, $)
- Spain’s coronavirus antibodies study adds evidence against herd immunity (CNN)
- Coronavirus: Fear over rise in animal-to-human diseases (BBC). As humans continue to expand our usage of natural resources while also destroying habitats and species, we need to consider the impact of those actions, not just on nature, but on humans as well. An increase in zoonotic diseases won’t affect people of all tax brackets in the same way, and the ambitions of huge farming corporations may hurt poorer people the most. Real human lives are at risk here, but a “get a quick buck mentality” and convenience are making us conveniently forget this.
World’s Most Dangerous Uncle
- President Trump’s niece will release her bombshell memoir next week. Mary Trump’s tell-all family memoir, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, describes how a decades-long history of greed, darkness, dysfunction and brutality turned her uncle into a reckless leader who her publisher says “now threatens the world’s health, economic security and social fabric.”
- Mary, 55, is a clinical psychologist who asserts that her uncle has all nine clinical criteria for being a narcissist. But that label doesn’t begin to capture the full array of the president’s psychological troubles.
- She writes: “The fact is Donald’s pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neurophysical tests that he’ll never sit for.” Mary says her uncle’s position in one of New York’s wealthiest and most infamous real-estate empires helped him acquire “twisted behaviors” — attributes like seeing other people in “monetary terms” and practicing “cheating as a way of life.”
- One example she gives involves something the president often boasts about: attending the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school, which he has called “the best school in the world” and “super genius stuff.” According to Mary, when her uncle was a high school student in Queens, he paid someone to take the college entrance SAT test in his place.
- The proxy earned Trump a high score on the test, which later helped him transfer to Wharton after two years at Fordham University in the Bronx. Mary also objects to that notion that Trump is a strategic thinker, writing: “Donald’s ego has been and is a fragile and inadequate barrier between him and the real world, which, thanks to his father’s money and power, he never had to negotiate by himself.” (NYT)
- Another tell all book: Stephanie Winston Wolkoff is Coming Out With Another Dishy Trump Tell-All (Vanity Fair, $)
- The Inside Story of Why Mary Trump Wrote a Tell-All Memoir (NYT, $)
Additional USA News
- FBI director: China is ‘greatest threat’ to US (CNN) & Is the US in a New Cold War? China Has Already Declared It (Bloomberg, $)
- Tammy Duckworth Confronts Nativist Smears From Tucker Carlson (NYT, $)
- Congress wary on future aid as well-connected businesses rake in millions (Politico)
- ‘Disappointing’ Zuckerberg meeting fails to yield results, say Facebook boycott organizers (Guardian)
- Anger over US decision on foreign students’ visas (BBC)
- U.S. Killing Of Iran’s Gen. Soleimani ‘Was Unlawful,’ U.N. Expert Says (NPR)
- The Supreme Court Has Made the Electoral College Irrelevant (NYT, $)
- Chief Justice Roberts Was Hospitalized Last Month With a Head Injury (NYT, $)
- What unites young people against Obama and Trump (BBC)
- As November Looms, So Does the Most Litigious Election Ever (NYT, $)
- Trump could sink the House GOP in suburbia (CNN)
- Why Joe Biden Doesn’t Support Legalizing Marijuana (Atlantic, $)
- How “Starship Troopers” Aligns with Our Moment of American Defeat (New Yorker, $)
A Viral Tryout
- NBA athletes are known for their flashy passes, but as they return to action in a COVID-19 free bubble, professional hoopers may be giving virologists their most valuable assist yet. As the league’s top 18 teams flock to Disney World for their condensed season finale, their trial in isolation will act as a proving ground both for basketball supremacy and burgeoning mitigation strategies.
- In a small environment of regularly-tested individuals on regimented schedules, it becomes much easier to pinpoint a virus’ spread and test inventive treatment programs.
- With so many variables held in constant by the bubble, the NBA is granting researchers a rare chance to validate these new approaches to a virus that we are only beginning to understand. Players will be outfitted with smart rings that closely monitor heart rate and temperature, and tested on a daily basis using both a traditional nose swab and unproven saliva test.
- Whether or not you believe the NBA’s bold return is prudent, it’s reassuring to know that this logistical nightmare will serve to further science rather than merely crown a basketball champion.
- However, both entertainment and innovation depend on this idea actually getting off the ground. With less than a month before tip-off, COVID-19 shows no signs of fatigue. If August rolls around and players begin testing positive, where will the league draw the line and forfeit all their planning and research? (The Verge)
- Why time feels so weird in 2020 (Reuters) We can’t believe that 2020 is halfway over already. May the second half be better than the first! And maybe dust off those New Year’s Resolutions.
- Why human touch is so hard to replace (BBC)
- JK Rowling joins 150 public figures decrying ‘cancel culture’ (BBC)
- Google, Amazon Funnel Over $20 Million to Virus Conspiracy Sites (Bloomberg, $)
- Job Interviews Don’t Work (Farnam Street)
- The 1066 diet: Normans passed on their love of pork, study suggests (Guardian)
- Why did you watch Tiger King on Netflix?: How does Netflix’s famous algorithm work? And how does Netflix use it? (Vox)
- Kellyanne Conway and her anti-Trump daughter may be the future of reality TV (Guardian). As social media continues to grow, there are more avenues to fame than a book deal or TV show. Famous political family drama could find the Conways a deal with Snapchat, Youtube, or any number of other media sites. People on every platform love drama.
- A Theater Student Gets Supersized Attention After Superhero Video Goes Viral (NPR). While some sites may promote drama for drama’s sake, platforms like Instagram and even TikTok do provide a creative outlet for talented people to showcase their abilities.
- We also love fish, all aspects of fish (from observing them in nature to eating them). But “consider the fish:, and there are actually many things to consider when thinking about the death of fish, the integrity of fish, and how we consume them: Fish are nothing like us, except that they are sentient beings (Aeon) & The Japanese Chain That Wants You to Fish for Your Dinner (New Yorker, $) & How to Humanely Kill a Fish (Topic) & Ikejime & The right way to kill a fish & Why we need sharks: the true nature of the ocean’s ‘monstrous villains’ (Guardian)
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