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☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Wednesday, April 13, 2022 ☙ ZERO SPARROW 🦠
CNN+ explodes on the launch pad; another comedian dies; The Seattle Times blunders; Philadelphia re-masks; N.Y. gov't melts down; a surprising sports exchange; good news for Shanghai; and more...
Good morning and Happy Wednesday, C&Cers! Today’s roundup includes: CNN+ explodes on the launch pad; another celebrity comedian dies, making four this year; the Seattle Times receives a well-deserved mocking; Philadelphia re-masks; DeSantis makes a strong statement about lockdowns; New York’s government continues to melt down; an honest discussion bursts out on Australian sports media; the German Parliament rejects its vaxx mandate; and the New York Times breaks its silence on Shanghai.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
📉 Oh no! CNN Plus, the government information distributor’s new paid-subscriber network, is — for some reason — blowing up on its launch pad. CNBC ran an article yesterday headlined, “CNN+ Struggles To Lure Viewers In Its Early Days, Drawing Fewer Than 10,000 Daily Users.” For comparison, CNN’s cable network scrapes the bottom of the cable news lineup with about 775,000 daily viewers. So 10,000 daily users on CNN+ is nothing. There are preteen Youtube vloggers drawing more folks than CNN+.
Alert readers will recall that CNN+ recently acquired its crown jewel on-screen talent, who was Fox News’s most hidden jewel, Never-Trumper Chris Wallace. By all accounts, Wallace is not too happy about the lame launch, blaming CNN for mishandling the marketing or something.
It does prove one thing though: there are 10,000 people in the world who will buy anything.
💉 67-year-old comedian Gilbert Godfried began his stand-up career in Heaven yesterday. The official cause of death was diagnosed as ventricular tachycardia due to myotonic dystrophy (type II), a rare heart disorder. According to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center, the two types of myotonic dystrophy are caused by mutations, or changes, in a human gene. Specifically, myotonic dystrophy type II is caused by expansion of a gene called CNBP.
While still here on Earth, Godfried recently starred in a marketing campaign to promote Covid vaccines. Godfried joins comedians Bob Saget, Louie Anderson, and Norm McDonald, who have all died within the last 7 months, all in their 60’s. Just saying.
🔥 Accidentally provoking millions of mocking social media comments, the Seattle Times ran an unintentionally hilarious article yesterday headlined, “COVID Could Be Surging In The Us Right Now And We Might Not Even Know It.”
Hahahahahaha! The horror! The terror! Oh, the humanity!
Folks, we need to confront the fact that we are facing a virus that you might have RIGHT NOW and NEVER KNOW IT because it doesn’t affect you AT ALL. Are you terrified yet? Because I am. Jab me with anything! As much as you need to! No long-term safety data? I’ll take it! Anything but a virus that doesn’t cause any symptoms, because, um, well, because it’s so scary or something.
To be honest, the attached article is a little more nuanced, whining about the lack of testing and worrying about what MIGHT happen later. But that headline! You really can’t make this stuff up.
🔥 Philadelphia, for one, is still testing, and it noticed with alarm that cases there have drifted up to about 140 a day — a tiny fraction of cases from its Omicron peak — and promptly re-ordered mandatory indoor masking. There. Philadelphia health commissioner Cheryl Bettigole admitted that hospitalizations are at record lows but explained, “This is our chance to get ahead of the pandemic, to put our masks on until we have more information about the severity of this new variant.”
Safety first! By “new variant,” she means Omicron variant B.A.2, which they are assuming is causing the rise in cases, not seasonality, why would you think that? Philadelphia remains “green” in the CDC’s new community-spread color-coding system.
🦸♂️ While signing a bill expanding funding for foster care programs yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis responded to a question from reporters about mask mandates returning in some parts of the country. DeSantis said, “As long as I sit in the chair in which I sit, no Floridian will be restricted, mandated, or locked down in any possible way.”
They just keep setting him up for success.
🔥 In locked-down, mandated New York State, Lt. Gov. Brian A. Benjamin, second to Governor Kathy Hochul, surrendered to authorities yesterday on a federal bribery conspiracy indictment. Benjamin pleaded not guilty at his initial appearance to charges including bribery, fraud, conspiracy and falsification of records. He resigned from state government a few hours later.
In September, Hochul picked Benjamin as second-in-command when she became governor, taking over for disgraced “luv-gov” Andrew Cuomo, who’d resigned following allegations he’d been busy sexually harassing eleven women and sending old folks off to die in nursing homes and lying about it.
Hochul and Benjamin were running together for re-election this November. New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs said the party is exploring its options.
In related news, New York City’s head mandater and mayor Eric Adams, triple-jabbed, is now in Covid quarantine after testing positive. He is currently trying to oversee the city’s response to a mass-shooting event in the subway system by Zoom, which we used to call “phoning it in.” But it would have been so much worse without the jabs.
🔥 A bit of honesty burst out on a mainstream Australian sports news show yesterday, alarming government officials. The anchors were discussing a soccer player, Ollie Wines, who’s been benched until further notice due to heart issues. Then things went sideways.
The problems started when one of the anchors asked “there’s a lot of this kind of thing going on in world sports these days? A lot of athletes have got these issues?” Then it went like this:
HEAD ANCHOR: You’re referring to the booster shots?
ANCHOR 1: Well, that’s the word going around.
HEAD ANCHOR: Look, it’s being discussed. I haven’t been able to get an official line on that from anyone attached to [the benched player] but it is being asked and put to me by others, including yourself …
ANCHOR 2: But it’s not just the heart issues. I mean, like, Del, you’re, I don’t mean to delve into your private affairs, but you’ve got Bell’s Palsy at the moment …
ANCHOR 3: Yep.
ANCHOR 2: … and hopefully you’re on the back end of that, but there’s a bit of that going around as well.
ANCHOR 3: Exactly. Heart issues and Bells’ Palsy have gone through the roof since the boosters and Covid issues. We had Michelangelo Ritchie on Friday night, and he said that there’s a ward filled with people with similar symptoms in Adelaide … nausea, heart issues, so there has to be something more to it.
ANCHOR 2: And we’re not anti-vaxxers. We’ve all done our due diligence with our booster shots and that sort of stuff. But there is going to have to be some study done on this, not just in a sporting sphere, but like a community sphere …
HEAD ANCHOR: (clearly uncomfortable) You’re right though. Because we don’t want to get into the space where we’re not experts at all.
ANCHOR 2: (laughs) But we do that every Sunday, Damian.
HEAD ANCHOR: We often do that. But when it comes to the medical side, we try to steer clear.
Later, the anchors re-appeared on TV and denounced themselves in a Mao-like confession, apparently reading from prepared statements, admitting it is definitely NOT the safe and effective jabs. Never mind what they said before.
🔥 The German Parliament rejected a compulsory vaccination bill by a vote of 378 to 296 late last week, effectively ending vaccine mandates in Germany. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was disappointed in the vote, but would not make a second attempt at a mandate.
Additional motions calling for strongly advising people to get the jabs were also voted down after a lively four-hour debate. Progress.
🔥 Possibly shamed by widespread condemnation of corporate media’s silence and implicit complicity with China’s forced humanitarian lockdown crisis, the New York Times ran a story yesterday headlined, “China’s ‘Zero-Covid’ Mess Proves Autocracy Hurts Everyone.” The sub-headline explained, “The fear in China is that the strict coronavirus policy has become another Mao-style political campaign with devastating effects.”
The article begins by describing China’s great sparrow extermination of 1958, after Chairman Mao blamed wild sparrows for his failing agricultural policy, declared the hapless birds to be pests, and called for up to 2 billion birds to be killed nationwide. The near extinction of Chinese sparrows predictably led to insect infestations, which ruined crops and contributed to the Great Famine that starved tens of millions of Chinese to death in the next three years. That’s how central planning “works.”
The Times implies China’s zero-Covid policy is like Mao’s zero-sparrow policy. It quotes Ye Qing, a Chinese legal scholar, who wrote “They’re not countering the pandemic. They’re creating disasters.” Ye’s online article was “swiftly deleted.”
“This disease has been politicized,” Zhu Weiping, an official in Shanghai’s disease control office, told a person who called to complain about the city’s response to the ongoing outbreak. In a recorded phone call that was shared widely before being censored, the official said she’d advised the government to let people with no or mild symptoms quarantine at home and instead focus on vaccination drives. But no one listened, she explained to the caller.
As of Monday, estimates suggest as many as 45 large Chinese cities are under full or partial lockdown.
Lang Xianping, a party-line Chinese economist, previously bragged on his verified Weibo account that the lockdowns demonstrated “the power of China.” But on Monday, he reported that his mother had died after the city’s Covid restrictions delayed treatment for her kidney disease. “I hope tragedies like this won’t happen again,” he wrote.
The Times ended the story by quoting Lawrence Li, a business consultant in Shanghai. “We believe that sacrificing minority interests in favor of the collective is just.” Like many Chinese, he said what’s happening in Shanghai echoes Mao’s 1958 zero-sparrow campaign. “History repeats itself again and again,” he said.
Although the article studiously avoids describing the most appalling stories emerging from the shuttered city, that the Times is finally reporting about the lockdowns, however lamely, is a good sign. The Chinese government fears embarrassment more than anything else, and their obviously disastrous attempt to centrally plan a lockdown is more than embarrassing. It’s likely they’ll back off if there’s enough media attention. This article, as thin as it is, is still extremely good news for the Chinese people.
Have a wonderful Wednesday, and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow morning for more.
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