Right Wing Can’t Decide If Virus Is No Big Deal, or Big Deal and China’s Fault

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Team Trump has finally found itself in a crisis it cannot propagandize its way out of. Unfortunately, this has not led Team Trump (the administration and its various Fox News-based media arms) to pivot to the brash notion of telling the truth. No, of course not. 

For the first time ever, though, Team Trump is very confused about which lie to tell. Historically, the Trump administration and Fox News have been meticulous messengers, able to turn almost everything into a way to “own the libs.” But COVID-19 is providing Trump very few opportunities for lib ownership.

Previously, before we hit the crisis stage, we got weeks of obfuscation, and the president’s conviction that “it’s going away. We want it to go away with very, very few deaths.” Now, Trumpists are trying to grapple with the possibility that the global pandemic may in fact be real. As COVID-19 has decimated Italy, killed thousands of Chinese nationals, and spread like a brush fire through at least 47 states, it’s becoming harder and harder for Trumpists to deny the truth.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Thank You, Meghan Markle, for Showing Us How to Set Boundaries

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Did anyone have a better Monday than Meghan Markle? Doubtful. The former actress spent her last day at what some might call the most thankless job she’s ever had looking positively giddy, as one tends to when leaving a toxic gig. (Except she did so looking less business casual and more Downton Abbey revival in an emerald cape dress and fishnet fascinator.) For many, it served as a victory lap for a woman who had placed her happiness and sanity above any perceived duties. 

“The smile of a woman who set boundaries and won her happiness back,” the life coach and author Michelle Elman wrote on Twitter, utilizing a b-word that has been dominating the online therapy-speak world and pop culture for much of this emotionally fraught year. 

You can see boundary-setting in action from Meghan’s decision to prioritize her personal life over her allegedly miserable professional one. Or on The Bachelor, which always has a finger on the pulse of pop psych culture, when Hannah Ann first told Peter how wrongly he had behaved, and later when Madison Prewett stood up to her boyfriend’s overbearing mother. And after spending much of her adulthood in front of a reality TV crew, Kourtney Kardashian has decided to film less of herself and young children. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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No, Your Dog Won’t Give You the Coronavirus—and More Advice From the Most Controversial Doggy Doctor

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The dictionary definition of quack is “an ignorant, misinformed, or dishonest practitioner of medicine.” 

“In the eyes of conventional, strict science, I could be considered a quack,” veterinarian Dr. Martin Goldstein readily admits. That’s entirely the point. 

Dr. Marty, as he’s become known to his legions of fawning, loyal patients—well, technically to their owners—was one of the first holistic veterinarians to come out publicly in the 1970s, preaching the values of incorporating supplements, nutrition, homeopathy, and even acupuncture into conventional treatment plans for the most hopeless of animal cases

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Is Soap or Hand Sanitizer Best for Stopping Coronavirus?

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SEATTLE—Shoppers had ransacked the shelves of isopropyl alcohol. Clorox bleach or Lysol disinfectant? Nothing at one store, and selling out fast fast at another. Hand sanitizers, Purell wipes, Wet Ones? All a distant memory.

But worried shoppers at stores across Seattle’s King County, the site of the vast majority of 2019 novel coronavirus deaths in the United States, haven’t emptied out what might be the most effective preventive tool in the game: hand soap.

Erin Sheets, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Minnesota Duluth, told The Daily Beast that the exterior of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is coated in proteins and lipids, or fat-containing molecules. This lipid envelope provides a protective cover, while the embedded proteins help the virus attack our cells, enter them, and replicate, she said.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Your Health Care Is the Love Child of Science and Insurance

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Justin Ford Kimball had to wonder if he was crazy for taking the job as vice president of Baylor Hospital in Dallas. It was 1929, and hours into the job, he realized that his new employer was about a month away from insolvency. Kimball and his team needed an infusion of cash, but where to get it?

Fortunately for all involved, Kimball—a lawyer by training—had previously been the superintendent of the Dallas school administration. In the midst of his tenure, the influenza pandemic of 1918 had ravaged the world, killing more than 50 million people. More Americans died from the flu (675,000) than perished in World War I. While fewer than one thousand died in the Dallas area, the plague rattled an already fatigued populace in the midst of war.

Kimball had a knack for actuarial sciences—the mathematical and statistical analysis of risk—and after a bit of number crunching, he realized that if the Dallas teachers each contributed just $1 a month, they could “insure” themselves with an in-house disability benefit of $5 a day if they fell sick. The sick benefit plan was very popular, but most important, it taught him how to think about risk and disease.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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If You’re Comparing Coronavirus and AIDS, Recognize the LGBTQ Heroes of History

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Perhaps it was clumsy language and an even clumsier tone, but speaking clumsily and looking giddy when invoking the 1980s, when so many gay men died of AIDS—in the midst of massive governmental homophobia—is jarring, particularly for a health official who lived and knows that history. On Friday, President Trump’s White House coronavirus press conference featured the highly respected Dr. Deborah L. Birx—the State Department’s U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator—sounding just like that.

It was plain weird for Dr. Birx, who Mike Pence appointed as the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, to breezily invoke the 1980s as such an illuminating time when the government learned so much, which now informs their response to the coronavirus. It sounded too dandy.

The truth of that history is not so dandy. LGBTQ people and their allies of that time remember something much starker: the Reagan administration’s sheer callousness, ignorance, and a willingness to let people die horrible deaths while judging and demonizing them. For the first years there appeared to be little desire to learn anything; quite the opposite.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Trevor Noah to Trump: Stop Pretending No One’s ‘Gonna Die’ From Coronavirus

Before late-night television shuts down completely next week, The Daily Show host Trevor Noah managed to get in one more message to President Donald Trump. It came in the form of his often more direct, less joke-y “Between the Scenes” segment and, of course, it had to do with the coronavirus.

“I’m being serious, leaders are afraid to just say the thing,” Noah said in the new video, taped earlier this week. “Because it seems callous, but we don’t want to say the honest thing in society. And that is, if you’re gonna die, you’re gonna die.” 

As the audience laughed nervously, the host explained what he meant. “No, I really think it is important to have perspective,” he said, “because death is a thing that terrifies many of us, right?” At that point, the coronavirus had claimed 5,000 lives worldwide. Noah said it “would be good to have a leader” who could put that in perspective.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Biden’s Digital Town Hall Exposes Difficulties of Remote Campaigning

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For those who want the Biden Experience, being there in person is just a given. 

The ability to look you in the eye, give you a hug, or, if warranted, a pat on the back, has guided the former vice president’s personal political style for decades. His physical presence is foundational to it.

So when his campaign announced that he would speak in a “virtual” capacity about “restoring the soul of the nation” and “unifying the country,” among other more specific things, with community leaders in Chicago on Friday night, it wasn’t clear exactly how well that would go over. Thirty minutes after the event was supposed to take place on Facebook Live, only 475 people indicated they were “interested” in it, using the tech company’s tool to express that. By the time it went live, there were nearly 5,000 viewers, but the format was rife with technical problems blurring the whole experience. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Bill Maher: Trump’s Been ‘Exposed’ to Coronavirus and Should Be Quarantined Immediately

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On Friday night, Bill Maher returned to Real Time and, like many of his late-night TV comrades, performed his shtick sans in-studio audience (albeit with a generous laugh track, courtesy of his staff).

And the comic—who said the show would be off next week due to concerns over the novel coronavirus—began his monologue by taking aim at President Trump’s delayed, confused, and downright bizarre reaction to the global pandemic that is COVID-19.

“There’s a new protocol in place, because Trump, whenever he talks, things get worse. So it’s called: Operation Shut the Fuck Up. Because, you know, Trump, he was in the Rose Garden today, and he’s lost if he can’t brag about the stock market. He’s like a porn star whose dick fell off. He’s got nothing!” Maher exclaimed.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Act of Charity Exposes Billionaire NBA Owners’ Coronavirus Greed

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For a few years, I worked for the Portland Timbers as an event staff employee at Providence Park. I scanned tickets, helped guests in wheelchairs get to their seats, gave directions, told some bad jokes here and there, and operated for some hours a week as a little cog in a big ol’ stadium, just keeping people moving and helping everyone have a good time.

As far as jobs where you don’t really make enough money, it’s honestly not bad. My bosses were nice, Portland is pretty temperate during soccer season, listening to the game roll on in the background is fun. Dealing with people who are happy to be somewhere, who love the game and aren’t looking to get kicked out, is way easier than trying to talk someone out of a rage when they can’t find something at Wal-Mart. There are side perks, too: some tenured employees worked in the bowl and got to watch the game for free.

But don’t mistake me, here: it’s precarious. I was working there to supplement my income as I weaseled my way into the media, but a lot of people who work as event staff are living paycheck to paycheck, stitching together an income in a country that has taken exactly no steps to improve their lives for decades. Postponing the NBA season throws their lives into chaos. Same with the hourly workers who staff events at baseball games, concerts, conventions, and all the other large gatherings that have to be postponed or cancelled on account of the quarantine conditions imposed during the novel coronavirus pandemic. God forbid any of them happen to get sick; event staffing doesn’t exactly hook you up with a Cadillac insurance plan.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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