☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Thursday, April 14, 2022 ☙ TRANSFORMING 🦠
Elon offers to buy Twitter; CDC extends the airline mask mandate; Wen whacks Philadelphia’s mask mandate; the Economist gently criticizes China; evolving biology in US prisons; and lots more...
Zip! What was that? The week, mates. It’s almost over. Tomorrow is Good Friday, and an official holiday here at my law firm. Oh, it’s also Wealth Sharing Day for the pagans, where we collectively subsidize a federal government that locks us down and tells us what to wear and makes us take fancy new drugs* for everybody else’s benefit. (*Results may vary.) Speaking personally, I like the Good Friday holiday better.
Today’s roundup is BONKERS. Some days, like today, when I wake up and start working on my planned set of stories, I have to scrap everything and start over because of how much news dropped. It hasn’t happened in a while, but today, good grief! I have a breaking news roundup for you including: Elon Musk tries to buy ALL of Twitter; the CDC extends the airline mask mandate by two weeks to slow the spread; Wen whacks Philadelphia’s new mask mandate; the Economist gently criticizes China; an alarming story about evolving biology in a US prison; a UK newspaper uses innovative language; a Russian warship did or didn’t sink; and Biden plays the genocide card.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 BREAKING: Elon Musk just offered to buy Twitter outright for $47 billion dollars. The mercurial genius wants to take the company private, and made a legal bid last night to buy ALL of Twitter, outright, for $54.20 per share. In a published note to Twitter’s CEO, Musk explained, “since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company. As a result, I am offering to buy 100% of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash.”
Twitter’s stock jumped 12% in pre-market trading. Twitter’s managers have a fiduciary duty to shareholders. Musk is a transformative figure. He transformed electric cars and auto manufacturing. He transformed space flight, making private access to space possible. He could transform Twitter.
Get ready for the pro-lockdowners to start losing their mask-loving minds. This is going to be epic.
✈️ The CDC extended the widely-despised airline mask mandate yesterday by another two weeks. To slow the spread or something. The mandate, previously extended till April 18th, was renewed until May 2nd, even though most observers had expected the agency to roll out more flexible rules.
Currently, the mandate is opposed by Republican lawmakers, airline CEOs, and most sane Americans. A lawsuit against the mandate including 21 states, led by Florida, was filed late last month in the Middle District of Florida.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was critical of the mandate’s extension. “Biden’s extension of the transportation mask mandate simply prolongs the misery that passengers and flight attendants are being forced to endure. This is not evidence based, but simply more COVID theater,” DeSantis tweeted, adding “this is the Biden equivalent of continuing the beating until morale improves. I’m glad Florida and other states are fighting this mandate in court.”
😷 Late yesterday afternoon, The Washington Post published an op-ed by CNN’s TV doctor and former Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen headlined, “Opinion: Now Is Not The Time To Reinstate Mask Mandates.”
Yes. Wen criticized Philadelphia for re-imposing its mask mandate on Monday. She said “it was premature for the local government to reimpose a mask requirement. Other cities should not follow suit.”
She makes four arguments: First, Philadelphia is still solidly in the low-risk zone. Second, there is no convincing evidence that the rise in cases is so significant that it risks overwhelming hospitals. Third, by deviating so much from “gold standard” CDC guidance, Philadelphia is adding to confusion around public health recommendations. Fourth, Wen worries if mask mandates are brought back when they aren’t needed, it will be hard to get people to abide by them when they ARE needed.
Wen implied that Philadelphia is pursing a China-like zero-Covid policy, arguing “we need to agree that eradication of the virus is not on the table,” and explaining “it is no longer appropriate to use cases as the metric that determines when mandates return.” Wen concludes her argument saying:
”Government-imposed mandates are a last resort. They are blunt tools to be used extremely sparingly and in true public health emergencies, when all other options have been exhausted. Now is not that time.”
My goodness, what strange bedfellows these days. Hey Philadelphia, the experts have spoken! Are you going to follow them?
I take Wen’s op-ed as evidence that Narrative 2.0 is alive and well. Wen is one of the most reliable faces in the government’s current “nudge team.” Biden seems to be trying to have it both ways, trying to please everyone: to end the pandemic as a political issue without actually ending the pandemic. Good luck with that.
🔥 The Economist joined the New York Times yesterday, finally publishing an article SLIGHTLY critical of China’s Shanghai disaster, judiciously headlined “The Way Chinese Think About Covid-19 Is Changing.”
It begins by reporting that Chinese officials recently alerted residents of capital city Beijing that 100 reported cases suggest a lockdown is on the horizon, but don’t worry, there is more than enough food for everyone. “Understood, hurry and go shopping now,” one smart-aleck replied online. The Economist reports people in other Chinese cities are frantically stockpiling supplies, determined not to make the same mistake that Shanghai residents did when they trusted government officials.
The communist-friendly journal explained that “anecdotal evidence” (because government figures are so unreliable) suggests that more people are dying because of the Chinese government’s restrictions than from the virus. Experts believe covid rules are causing avoidable deaths, pointing out that during an early lockdown in Wuhan, deaths from chronic illnesses exceeded expected rates by +21%. Deaths from diabetes exceeded expected rates by +85% and suicides by +66%.
For some reason, the Economist was shocked, shocked and appalled, to find Shanghai residents are losing faith that the all-encompassing paternalistic communist government will take care of them. “All the policies this month have been incomprehensible,” said one. “They say one thing but implement another. We don’t trust these policies any more.” Gosh.
Instead of relying on the government — get this — the residents of Shanghai are reportedly relying on EACH OTHER, using the term “zijiu,” which means “self-salvation.” We used to have a similar concept here in the U.S., I can’t quite remember right now, but it involved personal responsibility or something.
Anyway, the Chinese government doesn’t like it, not one bit. As younger Shanghai residents helped care for their elderly neighbors by organizing bulk orders of food online, the state responded by censoring the hashtag “buying groceries” on Weibo in Shanghai. In locked-down Shenzhen, a shop owner filmed state-media reporters refusing to interview him because he complained about not receiving promised lockdown supplies. The reporter explained angrily, “We’re only here to report on the people being helped.” Hahaha, reporters are so awesome.
The Chinese are dealing with a pandemic, all right, just not a COVID pandemic. They are fighting a pandemic of stable authoritarianism enhanced by “Science!” Science with a gun to its head. There are a lot of people here who’d have promptly voted for Shanghai-style lockdowns if they had a chance. Those are the ones who must be stopped, politically, for good.
🔥 The Daily Mail UK, where we have to go to get news about what’s happening in the U.S., reported an alarming story yesterday headlined, “Two Inmates At All-Women’s New Jersey Jail Are PREGNANT After Both Had Sex With Transgender Prisoners.”
Weird. Now, I’m just a lawyer. I’m not a biologist. But it seems to me that until very recently, women couldn’t make each other pregnant, at least without a turkey baster. Are we evolving? Are we becoming like hermaphroditic frogs, where when the population levels of one sex slip below certain levels, they start changing genders or something.
It turns out from reading the story that it wasn’t so much biology, but this was a great LEGAL victory for the ACLU, which had recently settled a lawsuit by forcing the prison to house 27 male cross-dressers there. Predictably, fun mommy-daddy times ensued in the jailhouse showers.
The newly-expectant mothers are enjoying their free vacations at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, in CLINTON, New Jersey. I know what you’re thinking. I’m not going to say it. But I sure am tempted.
Science! Shut up!
🔥 In a related story, the Metro UK ran an article headlined, “Ex-Soldier Exposed Her Penis And Used Wheelie Bin As Sex Toy In Public.”
There’s a lot there. But come on, HER penis? Hers. Her penis.
Again, I’m no biologist. But I can’t help but wonder if newspapers uncritically running articles including the words “her penis” are a sign of the End Times or something. I mean, for real, people. Please. Just. Stop.
🚀 *THE MINORITY REPORT* 🚀
🪖 A late-filed article yesterday in The Washington Post was headlined, “Russia’s top warship in Black Sea damaged; Ukraine says missiles sunk it.” WaPo isn’t sure, citing “conflicting assertions” and explaining that “Ukrainians claim[ed] credit for an alleged missile attack sinking the ship and the Kremlin [said] only that it suffered significant damage from a fire.”
The Washington Post said it couldn’t independently verify the accuracy of the claims.
In other words, who knows? Who can blame them? Everybody has been lying so much about this war there’s no telling what actually happened. Was there even a warship?
🪖 Also late yesterday, Joe Biden — or whoever runs his twitter account — tweeted that the US will be sending Ukraine ANOTHER 800 million dollars worth of weapons, ammo, and undefined “security assistance.” It’s good timing, what with Tax Day right around the corner.
The extra aid is great and everything, good for Ukraine, but I just have one question, and don’t cancel me for asking. There’s NO WAY, is there, that any of this money will end up in the hands of Burisma, Hunter Biden, or Pelosi’s kid? Or Romney’s? Or any of the other dems with substantial interests in Ukraine? They aren’t making money off the aid in any way, are they? Or their cronies in Ukraine? Of course not, I realize that, stupid question, but it sure would be nice if someone would just say it.
In other words, there’s no skimming or grifting or money laundering of the billions we’re sending to Ukraine, is there? We’re making sure EVERY PENNY will be used to help the benighted citizens of that war-torn country, right? Dumb question, I know, but, well, it seems a teeny-tiny bit important. To me, even if nobody else cares. So I can get fully behind the war effort and stuff.
🪖 Along with the extra billion, last Thursday Biden issued an official White House statement, titled, “Statement of President Joe Biden on the UN Vote Suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council.” In the statement, Biden said he “applaud[s] the overwhelming vote today in the General Assembly of the United Nations to kick Russia off the UN Human Rights Council.”
But Cuba, China, and Venezuela remain ON the international body’s so-called human rights council. So.
🪖 Yesterday Biden made some remarks blaming U.S. inflation on president Putin and and saying Russia was “commit[ting] genocide” in Ukraine. His remarks made news, because “genocide” is a heavily-loaded term with serious implications under international law, and Peppermint Psaki was quick to clarify that Biden was speaking only in PERSONAL terms and not invoking international anti-genocide laws.
Besides Biden, no other Western nations have made the determination that the war in Ukraine was a genocide. ”I am very careful with some terms [like genocide] these days,” French president Emmanuel Macron said, for one example. “I’m not sure the escalation of words is helping the cause right now.” Probably not. But that never stopped Joe.
When asked later by reporters, Biden doubled-down on his PERSONAL remarks, explaining “it has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being able to BE a Ukrainian.” See how simple it all is? Putin hates Ukrainians and wants to erase them from history or something. There’s no negotiating with a madman like THAT. No point.
Ukraine president Zelensky was delighted by the news. He called Biden a “true leader” and immediately asked for more money. How soon can we deliver the pallets of fresh hundreds?
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was less enthusiastic about Biden’s comment, telling reporters yesterday, “This is hardly acceptable from a president of the United States, a country that has committed well-known crimes in recent times.” Well.
📊 *COVID IN FLORIDA AND ALACHUA COUNTY* 📊
We have new numbers for Florida. As you can see on the spreadsheet, cases are ticking up again, just a little, completely consistent with prior seasonal waves. But check out hospitalizations and deaths. They are still trending down, with deaths (27) at the lowest point since the fall trough, and occupied beds in Florida below any prior low point during the previous year.
The uptick in CASES is what’s driving the re-masking efforts in blue areas, which I guess can now look forward to all this silliness every cold/flu season. Floridians are particularly grateful for our governor and state legislators.
Have a terrific Thursday! I’ll have a Good Friday update for you but it may come a little later than usual, since I’ll get to sleep in. See you then!
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