Want to Save the Economy? Listen to Fauci, Not Trump.

Want to Save the Economy? Listen to Fauci, Not Trump.

John Locher/AP

On Thursday, America learned that well over three million job people submitted claims for unemployment insurance in the past week, largely thanks to a national economic shutdown in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. But somehow worse is that our leadership has wavered from chaotic to unreliable to, most recently, existentially dangerous. I’m referring, of course, to President Trump’s suggestion that we must soon, for the sake of the economy, pivot away from social distancing and other outbreak containment efforts.

In theory, unprecedented job-loss numbers like these could serve as fodder for that argument—one in which the president has been joined by a coterie of fringe figures. But that’s not only exactly wrong from a public-health perspective, but also an economic one. 

In other words, if you think these layoff numbers are scary, trust me when I tell you they’d be even more nightmarish—and more routine—if we prematurely pretend it’s safe to go back to work, shop, and eat out again.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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‘We’re Fucked’: Aircraft Carrier Outbreak Sends Troops Scrambling

U.S. Navy via Getty

U.S. Navy and Marine Corps service members in Guam were ordered on Wednesday to break their own quarantine to set up makeshift shelters for U.S. troops coming off a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, where an outbreak of the novel coronavirus is rapidly spreading within the hulls of the ship.

Some of the U.S. troops at Naval Base Guam, located on the western side of the U.S. territory at Apra Harbor, were assembled into 100-man working parties to begin transforming some of the base’s facilities into temporary quarantine shelters for some of the 5,000 service members arriving from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, a naval vessel where COVID-19 is spreading. 

“We found several more cases aboard the ship, we are in the process now of testing 100 percent of the crew of that ship to ensure that we are able to contain whatever spread that might have occurred there…but I also want to emphasize that the ship is operationally capable and can do it’s mission if required,” said Acting Navy Secretary Thomas B. Modly at the Pentagon on Thursday. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Coronavirus Bill Lets Pols Spend Your Money to Hype Themselves

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Tucked into coronavirus relief legislation passed unanimously by the Senate on Wednesday evening was a little-noticed provision that guarantees more taxpayer money will be spent in the coming months on radio, digital, and direct-mail ads promoting members of Congress ahead of their re-election contests.

Language in that legislation codifies a carve-out for official communications by senators and congressmen that, while not overtly political, serves to boost legislators’ profiles and hype their accomplishments with constituents.

Known as “franked” communications and paid for through official congressional office budgets, such mail pieces, digital ads, and broadcast spots are designed to keep constituents apprised of their representatives’ work. Franked mass communication is usually banned within three months of primary or general elections. But the House Administration Committee has the authority to waive that restriction if it feels official congressional communications can “address threats to life safety.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

There’s Never Been a Better Time to Teach Yourself How to Properly Sharpen a Knife

Focusing on small, tedious tasks that you can teach yourself in your spare time can really help with stress relief. As the world leans on things like Animal Crossing, tending to  gardens, or taking up hobbies like coloring or needlepoint, we’re here to posit a different skill: knife sharpening. Keeping your knives sharp can help you cook better at home and feel more confident in the kitchen. You can learn to understand a blade and the weight of a knife to make better cuts. But that means you need to actually sharpen them.

What Is a Whetstone?

Yes, you could run your knives through an electric sharpener or a pull-through model, but  it’s never going to be the same as sharpening it by hand. The main tool you need, besides the knife, is a whetstone. What’s a whetstone? It’s a rectangular block that you scrape at an angle to help refine and straighten a blade. It basically acts like sandpaper as you slide your knife up it. I also just now realized that “whet” doesn’t mean wet but it means “sharpen.”  Go figure.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

CNN Anchor Shreds Trump’s Trade Adviser Over Coronavirus Response: ‘You’re Wasting Everyone’s Time!’

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro found himself on the receiving end of a verbal buzzsaw Thursday afternoon when CNN anchor Brianna Keilar relentlessly grilled him on the administration’s lack of preparedness for the coronavirus pandemic, explicitly telling him he was “wasting everyone’s time.”

With casualties from the deadly coronavirus surging across the nation and hospitals running out of needed supplies as they become overrun with patients, Keilar confronted Navarro over the Trump administration’s seeming inability to provide ventilators and masks to localities and states in dire need.

Navarro, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, immediately took issue with Keilar’s questioning, demanding that she “not sensationalize this crisis” because it would “create more anxiety and panic.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Jeri Ryan Is a ‘Star Trek’ Icon—and One of the Most Important Political Figures of Our Time

Photo Illustration by Kristen Hazzard/The Daily Beast

Jeri Ryan is still haunted by those five little words. “It’s the scene that I’ve always hated,” she says with a sigh. “The notorious Then you wish to copulate? scene. Hated everything about it. It was so on the nose, so gratuitous. I haven’t gone back to watch any of it.”

It occurred in “Revulsion,” the fifth episode of Star Trek: Voyager’s fourth season. Ryan’s Seven of Nine, a statuesque Borg in a silver, form-fitting catsuit, attempts to seduce Harry Kim, the Operations Officer of Starfleet’s USS Voyager. After an extended monologue on the nature of human sexuality, she asks that he remove his clothes; he panics, stammering awkwardly. They remain friends.

“That scene annoys me so much, because it stands against what this character was. She was completely asexual and innocent, and had no clue,’ offers Ryan. “I remember saying, We’ve really got to slow this down. So we pulled it back after that.” 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Here’s How Congress Can Stop Trump and His Gang from Plundering the Coronavirus Bailout

Democrats in Congress are right to demand real transparency and oversight before signing on to the inevitable bailout. The bailout would be rife with potential for abuse in the most honest and open administration, which does not describe the Trump administration.

Even before we reached this urgent moment, Trump and his attorney general, William Barr, have argued that the president’s constitutional power is “plenary” and “illimitable,” and that the president can ignore legislation that “encroaches” on that power. Congress’s foundational checks on the president are the power of oversight of the executive branch, what Woodrow Wilson called the “informing function” of Congress, and the power of the purse. 

They must use those checks now.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Trump’s ‘Chinese Flu’ Takeback Is Worthless

Drew Angerer/Getty

After days and days of referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese flu,” President Trump’s statement Monday about how Asian-Americans aren’t to blame for it was too little and too late. 

It’s too little because he didn’t acknowledge, let alone apologize, for calling COVID-19 the “Chinese flu.” 

And it’s too late because he’d already sounded a dog whistle for harassment of and violence against Asian-Americans. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

After Putin’s Big Fail, Russia Braces for COVID-19 Onslaught


Only days after the Kremlin assured the Russians that the coronavirus pandemic was under control, Moscow’s Mayor Sergei Sobyanin told Russian President Vladimir Putin that “the momentum is high and a serious situation is unfolding.” Contrary to the previously reported low rate of infection, “the real number of those who are sick is significantly higher,” Sobyanin said. He added that the number of tests conducted to date has been extremely low “and no one on earth knows the real picture.”

On Wednesday, officially released statistics listed 658 coronavirus infections and no deaths. To date, there have been at least 3 known deaths of coronavirus patients in Russia, but they are being attributed to other causes and thereby deceptively omitted from government reports. The official bulletin about the coronavirus, released by Russia’s federal agency Rospotrebnadzor on March 24, states that more than 112,074 people remain under medical supervision.

Concerned Russian doctors sounded the alarm that potential coronavirus cases are being ascribed to pneumonia and seasonal flu without testing. For example, the city of St. Petersburg experienced a sharp jump of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus cases. During just one week in March, 63,000 SARS cases and 406 cases of pneumonia have been recorded, according to Interfax. The city’s administration emphasized that the incidence of SARS is at the epidemiological threshold. The Interfax news report did not point out that the official name of the novel coronavirus is SARS-CoV-2.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Darkweb Seizes on Trump’s Nod to Unproven Malaria Drug

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast / Photos Getty

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving sellers on encrypted darknet markets—usually used for selling hard drugs in anonymity—to offer chloroquine and scarce N95 protective masks for sale.

The Daily Beast searched Empire Market, an encrypted site that uses cryptocurrency and the Tor network to anonymize sellers and buyers, and found multiple advertisements for the drug and protective masks available in bulk by the thousands.

For now, the advertisements remain few, but the presence of what was once an obscure anti-malaria drug on a prominent encrypted platform for sales of cocaine, heroin, and other narcotics highlights how the unproven hope for chloroquine, stoked by President Trump, has rocketed the drug to global prominence and made supplies scarce for those who truly need it. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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