March 16, 2020

"My wife got [a print of a boy on a horse asking, 'What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said?' to which the horse replies, 'Help'] for my birthday, and of all the things that we have..."

"... it’s the thing that I cherish quite a bit. It’s the only thing I pass when I leave my bedroom every day when I’m home. And it’s a reminder that strength is not necessarily being physically strong, but it’s asking for help, to be vulnerable, to be the person that I’m not supposed to be, right? And that’s not necessarily a bad thing."

Item #2 on a list of 10 "essential" things in "David Chang Loves Beethoven’s Ninth (but Won’t Finish ‘Infinite Jest’)/The chef, author and television personality, whose second season of 'Ugly Delicious' just arrived on Netflix, also puts a baby monitor, the Bhagavad Gita and 'Gattaca' on his list of essentials" (NYT).

I've been thinking, in this time of forced seclusion, about what it means to help. You can't be helping in person — unless you have a special medical or other relevant in-person service to provide. And most of us can help by just withdrawing and staying out of (literal) touch in the way that might, in normal times, seem churlish or cold. But beyond the negative help of not becoming part of the problem — not spreading the disease or becoming a consumer of medical resources — you can help. You can help by preserving and sharing whatever good thoughts you have that will make it easier for other people to accept and even to prosper within their seclusion.

I'm trying to do that, and I'm also going to push back when I see people who are not helping. I'm not shunning negativity altogether, but I'm trying to use a light touch. You can assume that when I say something like "Is Fox News helping?" (in the comments thread to yesterday's post about Trish Regan), I mean serious criticism of them for stirring up ridiculous unhelpful resistance to the needed social distancing. Ousting Trish Regan for her really stupid, flat-footed nonsense is the least they could do, and I suspect they only did it because it wasn't helpful to them. But I'd say the only reason Regan could be as stupid as she was is that it wasn't that far out of line with the general environment at Fox.

And that's not to say that the other cable news networks are helping. They seem to be trying to keep hating Trump, using any material he gives them, and every day, there's always something. I want them to make common cause with him and help. It's more important than their ratings and it's more important than who wins the next election. It's time to help.

But back to David Chang and the horse that bravely said "Help." Chang likes the idea of strength in terms of vulnerability — of seeing yourself as the one who needs help. I'm pondering how that balances with what I've been thinking about help: We need to be thinking how can I help. It's not inconsistent. Wondering how you can help is different from going about intending to help. What makes you think you're a fountain of help? Your "help" may have negative value. Seeing yourself as the one who needs help is better than imagining yourself as a giver of help when you are not helping.

First, help yourself. That's the #1 form that your helping can take. Next, quit "helping" with help that is not helpful! Use your time of forced seclusion to contemplate what it means to help others. Do you need some help with that?

182 comments:

Skeptical Voter said...


Well it's helpful to realize that as airports empty, CNN's audience share goes further down the drain towards zero. Babylon Bee gave me that thought to smile about.

Lucid-Ideas said...

Hey everyone, lay of the tp hoarders will ya! With enough tp and a 5-10 ton press you can make body armor, they did it on the YT BeyondThePress channel.

TP has like a million-and-one uses, and I'm planning to tp my very own home under quarantine as an ironic joke to the rest of the world but also as my way of 'helping' those with less tp than myself.

Yes neighbor, I CAN SPARE A SQUARE!!!

MadisonMan said...

Is it helpful that I spent time in a coffee shop this morning, a mostly empty coffee shop, and spent money? This is a locally owned business that needs to be supported. I'm not coughing nor am I, to my knowledge, contagious. I spent money and left a tip.

Money is like manure. It's only good if you spread it around, encouraging young things to grow.

Bob Smith said...

Trish Regan like most of the newsbabes on cable got he job because she ticked a box or two. Unusual beauty? Pleasant voice? Ability to read a teleprompter. They are all over the place. Kinda like some of the bubble headed politicians they cover. The livings been easy.

Yancey Ward said...

For the vast majority of us in this event, the best we can do is to not burden everyone else.

Sebastian said...

"Is it helpful that I spent time in a coffee shop this morning"

Yes. Old people like Althouse and Meade should stay away, younger people should keep spending.

Psota said...

Agreed that the news media has chosen hostility over information gathering,. but the Dem politicians who are dealing with this on the ground have been pretty good in dealing with the demon Trump.

Pelosi and Schumer have also been (relatively) muted.

This is the first time I can remember Trump giving directions and the majority have actually been listening and following along. It's almost like he's President!

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, is Regan stupid or are you gullible? Any person who hated Reagan because of the milieu in which she was immersed shuts down her substantially-above-average brain to let others do her thinking for her.

MadisonMan said...

younger people

Thank you for including me in that demographic! That's helpful!

Michael K said...

Ousting Trish Regan for her really stupid, flat-footed nonsense is the least they could do, and I suspect they only did it because it wasn't helpful to them. But I'd say the only reason Regan could be as stupid as she was is that it wasn't that far out of line with the general environment at Fox.

Hmmm. Althouse politics surfacing.

Ann Althouse said...

"@Althouse, is Regan stupid or are you gullible?"

All I know of her is the video clip at the link to my post that I provided. In it, she seems like some sort of robot or under some form of anesthesia.

But I did not say she is stupid. I said that what she spoke was "really stupid, flat-footed nonsense." I have no way to know if she wrote it or believes it or has any ideas about it at all.

So are you a bad reader or are you lying?

Ann Althouse said...

"Hmmm. Althouse politics surfacing."

I don't think the important health-preserving policy of social distancing is a matter of politics. But I really don't give a damn about hiding any political opinions I might have. And as my full post indicates, I am very critical of ALL the news media. I already hated television news shows. It's worse right now.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The economy is taking a major hit with all of this. Use your time in seclusion to improve your job skills. Take an online course, or work out your own self-study, online or off. You will benefit from your increased productivity, and so will the rest of the world.

Ann Althouse said...

"But I did not say she is stupid. I said that what she spoke was "really stupid, flat-footed nonsense." I have no way to know if she wrote it or believes it or has any ideas about it at all. "

I realize I also said "the only reason Regan could be as stupid as she was is that it wasn't that far out of line with the general environment at Fox." That is a reference to the stupid statement. "be as stupid" = spoke a stupid statement.

purplepenquin said...

Substitute the word "help" for "civility" and suddenly it ain't considered bullshit anymore?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.


Helping. You can only help within your reach. Do I feel horrible about all the people who are losing jobs and spiraling into the financial abyss. OF course I do. Of course WE all do.

I can try to help those in my reach. Physical reach, capabilities, or financial reach. I can help by not being a burden to others.

Running around with our hair on fire, is not helpful.

Know the difference.



Ann Althouse said...

"So are you a bad reader or are you lying?" = a criticism by example of questions that are a particular logical fallacy (giving only 2 options as if one or the other had to be the answer).

I don't appreciate that kind of crap. That's what I'm saying. I'm not saying the commenter was either a bad reader or lying. I'm saying the commenter was using a logical fallacy.

Ann Althouse said...

I used a rhetorical device. He used a logical fallacy. There's a difference.

traditionalguy said...

Helper types need people to serve. Accepting help can be humbling , but I mastered that skill at a young age. Samaritans need to stay on the lookout for the beaten and robbed people and stop to help. That is the secret ofTrump’s and FDR’s popularity..They help the mugged and abandoned people and are not forgotten for it.

Our kids live a distance from us, but locals keep offering us help. Over the years the wife has become a member of several other families through Church, and the now grown up kids from those families want to help us. That is touching.

tim maguire said...

While it may be true that the hysteria is at least as big a problem as the virus itself and that certain outlets are stoking that hysteria for market share and political positioning, it is not helpful to simply rant about the hysteria. That's just another form of hysteria for market share and political positioning. What we need are sound voices giving sound advice in the topic area most relevant to us, which is the nature of the pandemic and the best response to it that we as individuals can make.

Char Char Binks said...

Recognizing a hoax is flat-footed and stupid? People get influenza every day, but we usually don't know the name of the particular strain, and there's usually no political gain to be garnered by hyping the panic.

We're supposed to shut down the world because "people are going to die"? Guess what -- people die all the time, and the surest way to stop that is by killing everyone, reducing the risk to zero. This hysteria will end when a Dem wins the presidency.

Kevin said...

Unusual beauty? Pleasant voice? Ability to read a teleprompter.

Only one of three required at the other unhelpful networks.

It tricks the viewers into thinking the not-pretty, not-pleasant, not-blonde people were hired for their intellect.

J. Farmer said...

For those who hate television news (as I do), why do you watch it?

p.s. I always thought one of the bravest things to say was, “I don’t know.”

320Busdriver said...

Be Best, It’s really that simple!

Be good to one another and be safe out there.

stevew said...

Very Libertarian times: the best thing you can do for others is care for yourself.

MIL has received an offer for the Cape house. It is about 7% below asking. The buyer included a letter to MIL about how much she loves the house and how she has always admired it (they live in town and have visited the house in the past during antique home tours). This was a smart move as MIL is emotionally invested in the house and ambivalent about selling it. I, from my deal negotiating background and experience, see the letter as a transparent move to soften the blow of a lower than asking offer.

MIL is interested in my opinion of the offer and situation. There is no good end to be had by sharing my thoughts about the letter - it would make matters worse for her if I told her. I shall be keeping my opinion to myself. It makes me happy not to upset her.

roesch/voltaire said...

It is helpful to be honest in the face of this crisis, thanks for the post. And there is helpful information out there; I just read an article on NYT on How to Protect Older People from the Coronavirus for example which made practical suggestions on how I can reduce my risk. And to be helpful, I am helping my wife prepare to teach her classes on line(interestingly some of her Chinese students are planning on returning to China because they feel its safer, but I wonder about that), and to keep me engaged, along with painting, I will start Deacon King Kong, by James McBride.

Kevin said...

There was a need created by the other networks to debunk the incessantly-repeated rumor that Trump said the virus was "a hoax".

If Trish's rant did so, then yes, it was helpful.

Perhaps it was not optimal, but helpful nonetheless.

cdh said...

I think that isolation (i.e. not leaving the house) is only important if you're at risk (65+, preexisting respiratory issues, traveled abroad recently, or come into contact with someone with the virus).

Everyone staying at home is likely to do more overall harm than good, in my estimation.

Ann Althouse said...

"For those who hate television news (as I do), why do you watch it?"

I watched the Trish Regan clip because I read — *read* — about it. I have never watched her show.

I see some of the TV news because I'm in a room where the TV is on and I was not the one who put it on. Often I leave the room, but not always.

Big Mike said...

So are you a bad reader or are you lying?

Neither, though I accept the implied criticism that I should have written “Is what Regan said stupid or is Althouse gullible.” I happen to agree that the US is going overboard with social distancing. Shutting down restaurants is overkill as far as I am concerned, and will be devastating both to the people employed by them and anyone driving the 234 miles through Ohio in the Interstate. Governor deWine can emote all over the people he’s screwing, but he pays no personal price.

We can live without baseball, MLB or high school or collegiate, and we can live without basketball, pro or collegiate, and we can live without rock concerts. But let’s try to keep our heads, shall we?

n.n said...

Spreading a social contagion and mischaracterization of the risk may be worse than the antigen and disease. Fox News implemented a needed correction. NYT, CNN, WaPo, PBS et al are still in denial.

jaydub said...

I don't watch cable news so I have never seen Trish. I do occasionally go to the Foxnews.com site, but less so now that they have adopted the click bait format for the majority of their stories. It ticks me off to no end when I see a article headline that says something like "Cornavirus deaths in US up to this number" and then you are forced to click on the teaser to find out that it took more line space to say "up to this number" than to just give the friggin number. The only reason this number is not included in the headline is because Fox (CNN, MSNBC, etc) are selling advertising instead of news stories. So, screw 'em. I can find news on a site elsewhere that doesn't insult my intelligence by using inane teasers while also avoiding the drama over their news readers.

Ann Althouse said...

I see some of Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson, and I don't like it. I see parts of CNN and MSNBC, and I don't like that either.

I will put up with "The Five" sometimes for the entire hour. The flow of the banter there can be good, but I've had to turn away from the coronavirus coverage. Their instinctive scoffing was a bad fit for this crisis.

Chuck said...

You write stuff like this, Althouse, and I think you are sincere. You would deplore any politician’s politicizing this big societal problem for electoral gain.

So then there is this Tweet from Trump:

https://mobile.twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1239235411463020544


Ann Althouse said...

I see some of Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson, and I don't like it. I see parts of CNN and MSNBC, and I don't like that either.

I will put up with "The Five" sometimes for the entire hour. The flow of the banter there can be good, but I've had to turn away from the coronavirus coverage. Their instinctive scoffing was a bad fit for this crisis.

320Busdriver said...

I admit to feeling some guilt over my work. Over the last few days I’ve flown people from sfo-sea. Sea-jfk and jfk-sfo. Flights are 1/2 cap. If that. I know some of them are probably just trying to get home, but I question the wisdom of operating between these city pairs.

Dave Begley said...

“And that's not to say that the other cable news networks are helping.”

Spend some time today watching CNN and MSNBC. Pure panic.

Bay Area Guy said...

Althouse goes full milquetoast on us!

One thing that is helpful is to help people to not freak out and panic over exaggerated fears.

Example: Numbers are neutral. They just are. Some numbers are soft (like poll numbers), some numbers are reasonably hard (home runs by Yelich in a season).

Here's some reasonably hard numbers.

US Population: 330 Million
No. of Corona deaths: 63

California Population: 39 Million
No. of Corona deaths: 6

Source:

mockturtle said...

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 [NIV]

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Oh, yeah. The College Basketball Final Four is off. And it was here in ATL.. Those stars only play one year of College ball now.So they are gone with the virus.

chickelit said...

And that's not to say that the other cable news networks are helping.

Wouldn't it help to shun the worst of the doomsayers and even the people here who cite them? If not, why not?

chickelit said...

Dave Begley said...Spend some time today watching CNN and MSNBC. Pure panic.

Don't do that. Just trying to help.

n.n said...

Fox (CNN, MSNBC, etc) are selling advertising instead of news stories

NBC, ABC, CBS, Yahoo, Google, etc. They all are. Also the biases and prejudices of their owners and operators. Social distancing from each service and platform is important to mitigate spreading a social contagion.

Big Mike said...

That's what I'm saying. I'm not saying the commenter was either a bad reader or lying. I'm saying the commenter was using a logical fallacy.

Neither your second nor your third sentences are true. Did I mishear what Regan said? I got that she thinks people are going crazy, along multiple different paths, in a uniform effort to undercut Trump. What did you hear? Why did you hear it that way? (I recognize that I heard it the way I did because it is consistent with my own observations.)

mockturtle said...

The only TV news I watch is Varney in the morning on FBN. It was funny this morning seeing the reporters on the floor of the NYSE yelling as usual into the microphone when there are in fact no noisy crowds behind them. ;-D I do read a lot of online news services, though, mostly international.

mockturtle said...

Will no one rid us of this turbulent troll? Hint, hint...

Laslo Spatula said...

In the previous post my comment was considered nasty, as in: "The notion that they have anxiety unalloyed with boredom is just your nasty little fantasy to hit me with."

Note; That is NOT my nasty fantasy. I see the boredom felt by many here. The odes to streaming opera, as example.

I also am part of a social set that is seeing their work disappear right in front of their eyes. Their aria is "how the hell am I going to pay my rent?", among others.

I consider the Marie Antoinette contextualization as prime cruel neutrality. Because Marie wasn't evil -- she just couldn't be bothered with the fuss.

Maybe those who can comfortably cocoon should -- while buying their toilet paper -- look the stock-boy and the cashier in the eye and tell them of their boredom. Or nod wistfully as they drive by a closed restaurant that will not reopen.

What good´s permitting some prophet of doom?
To wipe every smile away
Life is a cabaret , old chum!
So come to the cabaret!

I am Laslo.

Tommy Duncan said...

I need to up my game. Gut check time. The coronavirus has the momentum. I need to dig in, play tough defense and get a stop. I need to rebound from my lax behavior. I need to avoid the open man and stay in the zone where I belong. I need to wipe down the ball on every possession and shoot the long three pointer.

On three: 1 2 3... Sanitize! (Elbow bumps ensue...)

Oh. Sorry. March Madness is hard to shake...

The un-examined life is not worth blogging.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

I disagree with your take on Trish (who wasn’t fired by the way but her show is being temporarily shelved for an extra-special 2-hour show focused on COVID-19, just what we all needed) and my impression is that FNC generally is EXACTLY like the other channels, almost exclusively focusing on virustalk 24/7. THAT behavior, not unique to Fox at all, of hair-on-fire journalism exaggerating the IMMINENT WAVE that would OVERWHELM our system, which by the way sucks compared to Italy (they said) is 100% the cause of the panic that is causing hoarding and grocery outages. Funny how 24/7 media chicken-littling can have such a widespread psychic effect on our country.

But they did. The stores have been emptied. The evidence of PANIC is now so obvious even you should be able to see it.

Trish was correct to push back against the people freaking out the hardest. The Corona Virus Task Force could do the country a huge favor by clearly stating the symptoms to watch for and how absent he high fever, most people will need no care, and to BAN media virus coverage except during the Team’s daily press conference.

RNB said...

It occured to me, sitting in front of the computer, that now might be a good time to slide some money (or 'some more' money) in the direction of our local food bank. So we did. It's one of those things you can do online.

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

tim maguire: ...it is not helpful to simply rant about the hysteria.

It's also boring. You're not saying anything that hasn't already been said a thousand times over. Why does anybody pay attention to "news" shows? I don't watch them, and if I take a look at a clip featured on some site I do read, it only confirms what I already know - tee-vee news is Idiocracy grade bilge that is an industrial-grade fingernails-on-blackboard assault on any human with cognitive skills sharper than an orangutan's.

And no point raging at people who watch this shite and take it seriously. Think about it. That much should be obvious.

That's just another form of hysteria for market share and political positioning. What we need are sound voices giving sound advice in the topic area most relevant to us, which is the nature of the pandemic and the best response to it that we as individuals can make.

Fortunately there's plenty of useful, informative, and easily accessible stuff out there for anybody who cares to read it. Some of it even gets posted and discussed here.

daskol said...

Social distancing will continue until morale improves.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

And for God’s sake Pence do it at six so you NEVER EVER pre-empt The Five.

J. Farmer said...

Agree on Tucker Carlson, though I only watch clips of his on YouTube. I used to check in on Hannity & Colmes on occasion only because it was fun watching wussy Alan Colmes getting smacked around, but Hannity basically recites RNC press releases. I remember people trying to turn me on to Red Eye when it first aired, but I could never stand Greg Gutfeld and his Berkley English degree gimmick. The Five was fun on occasion when they had that lovable goofball Bob Beckel, probably the world's worst political prognosticator. Anyone remember him saying he didn't believe Hillary would run in 2016? Dana Perino is gorgeous, but she did worse on Jeopardy! than Kareem Abdul-Jabar. It doesn't air on TV, but I do actually like Rising with Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti.

Ken B said...

I am calling “civility bullshit” here. Your call for “helping” is just another form of asking the other side to stop. And remember, *I am on your side*, I support “social distancing” and the steps Fauci et al are pushing. I am with Farmer and Inga and Michael K and you. But your question “ are you helping” is just another variant of civility bullshit.

mockturtle said...

MikeMJBWolf suggests: and to BAN media virus coverage except during the Team’s daily press conference.

If you really want to make people paranoid, start restricting the news to official government news releases.

mockturtle said...

As noted by our hostess on another thread, the 'panic' is all about the possibility of running out of food and essential products during a possible quarantine or lock down, not about catching the virus.

Ken B said...

Farmer “Agree on Tucker Carlson, though I only watch clips of his on YouTube.”

Agree what? I only occasionally watch a YouTube segment. In those he strikes me as generally sensible, but I don’t know if that reflects his daily show. He is a Trump skeptic btw, saying he doesn’t think Trump has the capacity to be president. I sort of agree with that, but we are seeing a severe test right now. So far he is passing, imo. Passing but not excelling. So maybe I was wrong.

mockturtle said...

LOL, Farmer, I remember many years ago watching TV 'journalists' on Jeopardy. What a joke. Tim Russert was particularly stupid but they all fared very poorly.

mockturtle said...

Should have said 'ignorant' rather than 'stupid'.

Ken B said...

I don’t think CNN is “helping” from what I have seen. But I have never seen them help on any issue at any time. They were clearly destructive during Katrina, and Michael Brown, and Zimmerman, and .... they continue to be a blight. Turn them off.

rehajm said...

Dana Perino is gorgeous, but she did worse on Jeopardy! than Kareem Abdul-Jabar.

If the implication here is Kareem Abdul-Jabar is an intellectual low bar - pun intended - you need to learn more about Kareem Abdul-Jabar.

rehajm said...

(full disclosure- Perino is my neighbor)...

Yancey Ward said...

I watched a entire presser from last Thursday when PM Johnson and his advisors outlined their COVID-19 plan- I posted the video here the next day- and I was struck by the difference in the quality of the questions the journalists asked vs what I have seen at every one of these pressers Trump and Pence have been giving- it is almost like the UK journalists have IQs about 50 points higher than their US counterparts, and a correspondingly higher maturity. Now, perhaps this was a function of Johnson actually knowing which reporters to acknowledge and which to ignore, but it was still pretty shocking the difference.

rehajm said...

I think Trish Regan made valid points about the lefts' fomenting of hysteria for political gain. Ann's entitled to her opinion but it looks like what we're seeing other places where otherwise reasonable people freaking out because everyone else is not at their level of freak out.

Regan doesn't have an outsized obligation to unilaterally disarm her angle of politics while the other side of the political aisle is trying to make headway by encouraging hysteria...

...and as for her being taken off the air, Talking Dead wasn't on last night either, for the same reasons...and it's talk about zombie apocalypse...

Ken B said...

Yancey
I was struck by the same thing. Although at least one question was pretty bad - “will you level with us” - but in general they were streets better than our media.

Inga said...

People like Regan who tried to make others feel they were the stupid ones for understanding the seriousness of the coming pandemic are quickly finding out that this shit is getting real. A couple of Facebook relatives who were busy having temper tantrums over the closings and considered it “less than a virus” are now getting a reality check. One of them, a Covid deniers’ daughter, a nurse, who works at a clinic here in the area was just informed her clinic will become a testing center for suspected Covid cases. Oh how the narrative changed! Now that it’s affecting her personally it’s become real and nothing to poo poo anymore. How quickly the mind is made to grasp and deal with reality.

MayBee said...

Because this is happening, this is necessary = logical fallacy

MayBee said...

One of them, a Covid deniers’ daughter, a nurse, who works at a clinic here in the area was just informed her clinic will become a testing center for suspected Covid cases. Oh how the narrative changed! Now that it’s affecting her personally it’s become real and nothing to poo poo anymore. How quickly the mind is made to grasp and deal with reality.

Explain to me how he was a "Covid Denier", and explain to me how testing for the Virus is somehow a big change and a reality check for him.

narciso said...

it means more cases will be revealed, but the severity of that won't be manifest, nor the recovery rate, apparently dan goldman, peach mint counsel, caught it and recovered but we didn't know that till this weekend,

MayBee said...

I want all of you people who are certain this is the only way to handle this to explain how this isn't what we do from now on--- next time there is a SARS or a person with Ebola or an H1N1 or an Avian flu. Because this will "work", right?
By "work" I mean, we'll get past it just like we did the other things. But like airport screening, we won't dare to go back and *not* do this next time.

MayBee said...

narciso said...
it means more cases will be revealed,


That's one thing that concerns me about the timing of these shut downs. The testing is about to start on a larger scale, so more people will be diagnosed--- and that will be the proof that businesses need to stay closed!

MayBee said...

Also....everyone who thinks this is absolutely necessary, please remember the necessary response to people dying from black market THC Vape cartridges was to make fruit flavored non-THC, non black market vape cartridges illegal. And nobody in the press or politics questioned that!!!

daskol said...

"reality" is something we're creating. We've made this as big as it is, by consciously triggering a panic and empowering various tyrants at the state and city level who are spurred to further action both by the opportunity to exercise power and the need to appear to be doing something. There is a big difference between advising smart precautionary steps such as locking down borders, reducing air travel dramatically, social distancing, even including sports leagues voluntarily ending or postponing contests, vs. govt mandated business closures and outlawing large gatherings. We've gone very quickly from sensible management of extreme tail risk to a self-inflicted economic gut shot. It is our way, to react insufficiently or altogether excessively.

So at one point is it helping to begin emphasizing that the measures we are currently undertaking, the direction in which our collective panic is pushing us, are wreaking havoc even beyond what the virus might have left unchecked?

Michael K said...

a Covid deniers’ daughter,

This is called "Scientism." Ignorant titles by ignorant people. Global warming started it.

Two-eyed Jack said...

I look on the actual outbreak with interest. Most of the US deaths are at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland or Life Care in Kirkland. They are local to me; I was at the hospital last week. Yesterday one of the ER doctors there was reported ill with Wuhan Virus and is in critical condition. The infectiousness and death rates are of deep interest to me.

The media coverage, however, works on an entirely different plane. We have the intersection of a real health concern, presidential politics, and the need to fill the airwaves with something that will keep viewers engaged. This is not like the disappearance of the Malaysian airliner, however.I think that serious damage is being done to the economy and it will profoundly harm young people and hurt untold numbers of average workers who are likely at little risk. We need to understand what those risks are.

I think part of the problem is that, even when those interviewed are experts in a relevant area, the interviewers are hacks. We need a better set of interviewers to set context for us.

J. Farmer said...

@Ken B:

Agree what?

Ann said that she sees "some of Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson." I think my question may have come off as a bit snarky, which wasn't my intention.

I only occasionally watch a YouTube segment. In those he strikes me as generally sensible, but I don’t know if that reflects his daily show.

I have never watched his show from beginning to end, but I don't doubt he occasionally falls victim to pundit's disease, the need to fill five hours of air time per week with opinions about everything. I think Tucker is a pretty charming guy, but he sometimes tries too hard to be funny.

He is a Trump skeptic btw, saying he doesn’t think Trump has the capacity to be president. I sort of agree with that, but we are seeing a severe test right now. So far he is passing, imo. Passing but not excelling. So maybe I was wrong.

I largely agree with that take. I think Trump has some good instinct, but he's not a particularly good leader and has some real personality issues, not the least of which is his incessant need to surround himself with sycophants and yes men. For what it's worth, there are reports that while Tucker was at Mar-a-Largo and encouraged the president to be more forceful and proactive against Covid-19. That, along with reports that it was Tucker's show that helped convince Trump against a retaliatory strike on Iran, makes him probably the most important pundit working today.

Inga said...

“Explain to me how he was a "Covid Denier", and explain to me how testing for the Virus is somehow a big change and a reality check for him.”

It was a reality check to her because it is her OWN daughter who will be doing some risky work dealing with possible Covid patients now. Before then it was too easy for this person not to put a human face on it. As for being a Covid denier, she was one of the uninformed or stubbornly stupid who denied that Covid19 was even “as bad as the seasonal flu” despite being directed to numerous documentaries and articles by scientists saying just the opposite. Many of her a Facebook friends couldn’t understand how intelligent people could be so deeply in denial.

I’m not sure why you’re having problems understanding the concepts.

J. Farmer said...

@rehjam:

If the implication here is Kareem Abdul-Jabar is an intellectual low bar - pun intended - you need to learn more about Kareem Abdul-Jabar.

Certainly not. But there were only two other contestants, and the other was David Faber, so I decided to go for name recognition. Even though I don't believe in the dumb blonde stereotype, Fox News sure seems to try their hardest to make the case.

daskol said...

she's interesting to look at, but has a very mannish face to be called pretty.

MayBee said...

I’m not sure why you’re having problems understanding the concepts.

Because you've made up a term, "COVID denier".

But can't something not be as big as the seasonal flu (or bigger, but still not worth a complete economic lockdown) and still be risky? I mean, health care workers get exposed to all kinds of things the rest of us don't. I'm sure this woman wouldn't like her daughter being constantly exposed to the seasonal flu either, right?

Another example could be Ebola. I knew people who were terrified of Ebola. And it was dangerous for the healthcare workers and anyone who got it. But it wasn't worth a government shut down. Could people who weren't concerned for themselves during the Ebola scare be considered an Ebola denier?

J. Farmer said...

Of course the problem with self-isolating is that if it works, all the people who were against it in the first place will unironically announce that it was never necessary to begin with.

J. Farmer said...

@Yancey Ward:

I posted the video here the next day- and I was struck by the difference in the quality of the questions the journalists asked vs what I have seen at every one of these pressers Trump and Pence have been giving- it is almost like the UK journalists have IQs about 50 points higher than their US counterparts, and a correspondingly higher maturity.

Watch British news with a bit more regularity, and you will quickly be disabused of that notion.

daskol said...

his incessant need to surround himself with sycophants and yes men.

This is pretty much the opposite of how Trump operates. He emphasizes loyalty, but he has a long history of clashing with close friends and advisors, kicking them out and then getting back together with them. He thrives on rivalry and conflict, so this notion that he employs sycophants is misbegotten.

paminwi said...

I really hate it when people, including our hostess, make generalizations about Fox.
There are what I call “real news people” on Fox.
I notice Ann never mentioned Special Report with Bret Baier. He is the best evening newscaster on TV. And by that I mean better than anything ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN OR MSNBC throws at you.

See Jeff Greenfield and Joel Klein at the 92nd Street YMCA address this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teoxjspg0p8

It appears our hostess makes her decisions based on the biggest bloviators rather than actually educating herself about the full complement of options on Fox. I’m curious if she ever watched Harris Faulkner’s Outnumbered Overtime Show. Or, Bill Hemmer, in the timeframe where Shepherd Smith used to be.
It’s kind of like understanding a Supreme Court decision by only reading the majority opinion. And not taking the time to read the dissenting opinions. There is much to be learned by reading BOTH parts of a decision.

But, what do I know? I am not a professor, a doctor, or a lawyer, or a computer programmer. Just a stupid bank auditor/accountant in my past life. I am able to make discerning judgements about Fox by looking at the pieces and not just the whole and not make generalizations as our hostess did and does.

MayBee said...

J. Farmer said...
Of course the problem with self-isolating is that if it works, all the people who were against it in the first place will unironically announce that it was never necessary to begin with.


This goes both ways. Everyone who was for it will also announce it was the only thing that stopped the spread, when we won't and can't ever know that. The spread of other diseases has stopped before, without isolation.

To be fair, self-isolation isn't bothering me. Shutting every gym and restaurant is bothering me. The mandatory stuff.

J. Farmer said...

@MayBee:



When was the last time seasonal flu resulted in headlines like this:

Short-staffed and undersupplied: Coronavirus crisis strains Seattle area’s capacity to deliver care

Slowing down a surge of sick patients is critical to keeping health infrastructure from overloading. Waiting until after we get to that stage start isolating defeats the purpose of isolating in the first place.

MayBee said...

Slowing down a surge of sick patients is critical to keeping health infrastructure from overloading. Waiting until after we get to that stage start isolating defeats the purpose of isolating in the first place.

I understand that's the argument. I'm not making an argument this is just like the seasonal flu, although I will say the seasonal flu can be extremely deadly and rarely generates headlines.

daskol said...

The signal to noise ratio is generally unfavorable on TV news, and has become way less favorable even on shows with decent hosts (like Tucker Carlson) lately. They're memebots in the best of times, and the memes they're propagating now are panic inducing and destructive. The rate of information exchange is much higher than the rate of useful information being developed, always true, especially bad ratios at the moment. The financial news, CNBC and FBN, are no better at this point.

J. Farmer said...

o be fair, self-isolation isn't bothering me. Shutting every gym and restaurant is bothering me. The mandatory stuff.

The problem is that people who decide to ignore the recommendations and attend these types of places aren't just putting themselves at risk. They risk infecting other people, and if they get sick need healthcare, they will demand to be treated like everyone else, despite not taking any precautions to keep themselves healthy. It is the epitome of selfishness. You don't isolate just to protect yourself.

J. Farmer said...

I understand that's the argument. I'm not making an argument this is just like the seasonal flu, although I will say the seasonal flu can be extremely deadly and rarely generates headlines.

Because death is not the primary concern here. Running out of ventilators, ICU beds, respiratory therapists, and other critical care staff are. The flu is very well studied, its course is rather predictable, and we have a variety of medications, including vaccines and antivirals. The treatment for Covid-19 is have a machine breathe for you long enough for your body to fight the disease off. There is also evidence that a portion of those who recover from Covid-19 will experience long-term lung damage. Given that the virus is brand new, not well understood, and has shown the capacity to overload health systems, now is the time for caution. It is better to overreact to this than underreact to it.

Nichevo said...

You under fear terrorism. You under fear collectivism. You under fear Iran. But you seem to over fear covid 19.

MayBee said...

The problem is that people who decide to ignore the recommendations and attend these types of places aren't just putting themselves at risk. They risk infecting other people, and if they get sick need healthcare, they will demand to be treated like everyone else, despite not taking any precautions to keep themselves healthy. It is the epitome of selfishness. You don't isolate just to protect yourself.

yes, I understand that is the argument.

And you don't have to take 8 oz liquids out of your carry on because it's *you* who might be making the bomb onboard the plane. You don't have to take off your shoes because it's *you* who went to shoebombing school.

If you don't do everything everyone tells you you have to do to be safe, that is selfish. Just listen to the people who want to keep everyone safe. No questions allowed, right?

Fernandistein said...

in this time of forced seclusion

It's not forced. It's a choice you made.

wholelottasplainin' said...


Here are three sites to get updated data:

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

https://ncov2019.live/data?fbclid=IwAR0RrbSnW7wzWe2bW3iluyEoSyULLy-qUON46v0EV0aBRPsTDwxbH1E_ubk

https://ncov2019.live/data?fbclid=IwAR0RrbSnW7wzWe2bW3iluyEoSyULLy-qUON46v0EV0aBRPsTDwxbH1E_ubk

In the past 24 hours, the death toll for the virus in the US has risen by........nine people to 70.

Nine unlucky people in a country of 327 million. This time last week the fatalities were hovering in the mid-30's, mainly clustered in Washington state and Cali. That fact continues to this day. 38 states report NO deaths.

Whether testing increases the number of people infected is immaterial to the number of reported deaths; if the latter continue to grow very slowly it is evidence that the death rate is falling, not rising. Certainly not rising exponentially as some are worried about.

And if this very slow death tally continues, we will have demonstrated that the hysteria has been entirely entirely unnecessary.

daskol said...

The vast majority of people who get this won't need any medical treatment: Tylenol or maybe Advil (although maybe not Advil) at home is enough. Thing is, because of the panic around this disease, that fact seems to have been lost. People are terrified of getting it, and as a result will seek medical care even if they don't require it owing to the panic. On a personal level, I have people calling us constantly to find out if we're still alive because word got out that my wife and I probably had it (well, we warned anyone we had contact with for a week before symptoms).

The message that the spread of the disease represents a systemic risk to our infrastructure, and a death and severe illness risk to vulnerable people, has morphed into "you're going to die if you get it." That will stress our healthcare infrastructure.

narciso said...

as long as the collectivist is a white male, if it's a superannuated Trotskyite, he doesn't mind, yes I don't like this simulacrum of a ration book experience, next there will be bloc committees, in the more sjw bergs,

MayBee said...

Because death is not the primary concern here. Running out of ventilators, ICU beds, respiratory therapists, and other critical care staff are. The flu is very well studied, its course is rather predictable, and we have a variety of medications, including vaccines and antivirals. The treatment for Covid-19 is have a machine breathe for you long enough for your body to fight the disease off. There is also evidence that a portion of those who recover from Covid-19 will experience long-term lung damage. Given that the virus is brand new, not well understood, and has shown the capacity to overload health systems, now is the time for caution. It is better to overreact to this than underreact to it.

Yes, I understand that is the argument.
However, we have terrible flu years where a lot of people die, and if that doesn't overwhelm ICU beds then I'm not sure I am with you on this.
As for your last line, that the thing I think deserves a little caution. We've been teetering toward this kind of overreaction for a bit now, and I'm not sure governors who suddenly have the power/responsibility of closing down every bar in town is ever going to *not want* to use that power -- for the public good, of course.

J. Farmer said...

@paminwi:

I notice Ann never mentioned Special Report with Bret Baier. He is the best evening newscaster on TV. And by that I mean better than anything ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN OR MSNBC throws at you

I can't speak for Ann, but I think what most of us are talking about is the editorial side of television. After all, what exactly does it to take to be a good newscaster? A research team researches the stories, a writing team writes the copy, and the newscaster reads it. I don't particularly mind Brett Baier. Or even Chris Wallace. But anybody remember when he surprised Paul Ryan with a dollar-shaped birthday cake, that Ryan refused to eat? Cringe-inducing embarrassment.

daskol said...

There is also evidence that a portion of those who recover from Covid-19 will experience long-term lung damage.

There is no evidence this isn't the case, but there is scant evidence for the proposition. This is the kind of "fog of war" bullshit that is exacerbating panic about the disease, which despite the terrible risks it poses to the nation, actually seem to pose little risk to vast majority of individuals who get it. And this message, which there is no reason to believe it is true, is inconsistent with the overall strategy of "herd immunity" that is the only way we survive this outbreak with societies intact. People are going to get it, lots and lots of people, just not all at once.

MayBee said...

I mean, I would feel better if all of you guys who think this is the smartest response ever would say "I think when this is all said and done, we are going to have to review what made sense and what really hurt people in ways we could avoid in the future"

exhelodrvr1 said...

People are doing too much because they are afraid of being accused of not doing enough

J. Farmer said...

@MayBee:

However, we have terrible flu years where a lot of people die, and if that doesn't overwhelm ICU beds then I'm not sure I am with you on this.

As best we can tell with the evidence we have, the mortality rate and the percentage requiring critical care are much higher than standard flu. And again, flu rates are seasonal, predictable, and fairly distributed. It's not the same as 500 people needing hospital care in the span of a few days.

We've been teetering toward this kind of overreaction for a bit now, and I'm not sure governors who suddenly have the power/responsibility of closing down every bar in town is ever going to *not want* to use that power -- for the public good, of course.

I understand this point and have been hearing my libertarian friends complain about it a lot. Basically the slippery slope argument. For one thing, this power isn't new. They've had it for a long time. This country also has a long history of using such methods to contain epidemics. In the early 80s, local authorities used public health concerns as a reason to close gay bathhouses, where HIV was being spread like wildfire

Francisco D said...

The problem is that people who decide to ignore the recommendations and attend these types of places aren't just putting themselves at risk. They risk infecting other people

My (HS Art teacher) wife has been on a rant about her kids taking big trips for Spring Break. The parents in their thirties and forties are unlikely to have serious issues with COVID-1. Neither are their teenagers. They see the coronavirus as a real opportunity with cheaper gas and air fares.

However, she estimates that the average teacher age at her school to be mid fifties - a much more vulnerable population. I will be 67 next month. These people are putting me at risk.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

MayBee said...
I want all of you people who are certain this is the only way to handle this to explain how this isn't what we do from now on--

I am certain that there is more than one way to handle this. But different ways of handling it can result in vastly different numbers of dead.

But to answer your question, we can look at what happens, and think about what it means. There is a lag between infections, symptoms, hospitalizations, and deaths. Different restrictions are going into place in different locations at different times. So we will be able to see how the rate of spread varies from place to place based on different restrictions.

In this way it is actually good that we don't have a consistent national response. We will learn a lot more with this natural experiment.

MayBee said...

They've had it for a long time. This country also has a long history of using such methods to contain epidemics. In the early 80s, local authorities used public health concerns as a reason to close gay bathhouses, where HIV was being spread like wildfire

Local.
But surely you remember the panic that much of the public had about HIV. Gay man's cancer. I remember hearing that even giving food to gay prisoners would put prison guards in danger of catching it.
People were afraid maybe getting into a hot tub with a gay person would give it to them. Or hugging a gay person.
So then, imagine if the press had decided this HIV was endangering everyone to the extent that Reagan decided we needed to ban any business with a hot tub. Or we needed to socially distance any gay person.
I remember seriously scared people thinking there should be a special quarantine place for gay men.

Imagine giving into that, in the interest of public health, and then being called a "denier" if you questioned those practices.

J. Farmer said...

@MayBee:

I mean, I would feel better if all of you guys who think this is the smartest response ever would say "I think when this is all said and done, we are going to have to review what made sense and what really hurt people in ways we could avoid in the future"

Well, it's been known for quite some time that the best way to avoid spreading an infection is to not be around large groups of people. But I agree with your general premise. Public health types have been saying for a while that we were unprepared for a pandemic. We can also look to other countries, like South Korea or Singapore, for ideas on how to handle such crises in the future.

Francisco D said...

I am certain that there is more than one way to handle this. But different ways of handling it can result in vastly different numbers of dead.

Yes.

This is an opportunity to learn from our mistakes after the coronavirus wave breaks. Hopefully, we will focus on learning and not on recriminations. That will be a really big challenge for the mainstream media.

wholelottasplainin' said...

J. Farmer said...
@rehjam:

Even though I don't believe in the dumb blonde stereotype, Fox News sure seems to try their hardest to make the case.
*****************

So...Laura Ingraham, who clerked with Justice Thomas, is a dumb blonde?

Shannon Bream, with a J.D., is also a dumb blonde?

If Jeanine Pirro , with a J.D. and editor of her school's law review,w ere to dye her hair, would you call her a dumb blonde?

So far, all I can see is you speaking very well..of yourself.

How about arguments "on the merits" rather than simple sexism?

reader said...

I was out this morning trying to obtain a few items that I couldn’t last week (onions and potatoes). People out shopping today are much calmer than the groups out last week. Of course the majority of the shelves are empty and the people out shopping are attempting regular shopping. (I found onions and I only took 3. )

Once I was done I stopped at our local taco shop. It is hole in the wall and I know they have a tight margin. There is a good chance the shop won’t make it through this. There were four Mexicans eating in the shop (I got mine to go). I could tell they were friends because they were talking to each other - they were all seated at different tables yell/talking to each other. A lot of laughter. They were all wearing jeans and heavy work boots. They were discussing the Fed and the current rate.

You don’t have to panic just because there is an emergency. If more people are careful without panicking our taco shop (and the family that runs it) could get through this.

narciso said...

it's panic all the time for marvin the android, this world ended up much stranger than the running man,

MayBee said...

Ignorance-

Thanks for that response. I will tell you my fear: The US has been itching for this kind of lock-down response at least since SARS. Perhaps I am overly skeptical, but I watched from near and then afar as the US Freaked OUT about SARS, even though Americans were in very little danger. I actually had to leave the country and go back to ground zero (Hong Kong) to get away from irrational fear.
So what concerns me is that America is full of people who are prone to health panics and are willing to do anything- ANYTHING- to keep themselves from getting the latest dread disease.

And so my fear is, this becomes our response. If we do come out of this well, I hope there is some health hind sighting. Because being prone to allowing this kind of reaction is not healthy for us.

And if I am wrong, and this is a once in a lifetime honest to God health crisis, I will be so very sorry.

MayBee said...

reader-

HI! It's so good to see you! And I agree with you. Sadly, in our state, the local taco shop will be closing at 3 pm today, unless they can make deliveries.

J. Farmer said...

@daskol:

There is no evidence this isn't the case, but there is scant evidence for the proposition.

Well with anything this new, evidence is going to be scant. It will take time before we have a more robust understanding of the long-term consequences. CT scans of recovered patients do show fibrosis, but it is not yet known how reversible that is. And follow-up on recovered patients in Hong Kong has suggested reduced lung capacity. How long-term this is is not yet known.

This is the kind of "fog of war" bullshit that is exacerbating panic about the disease, which despite the terrible risks it poses to the nation, actually seem to pose little risk to vast majority of individuals who get it.

For some reason, people seem compelled to say "actually seem to pose little risk to vast majority of individuals who get it," as if this is a fresh insight. Is there anybody here who disagrees with that? It is acknowledged in virtually every single thing I have read. That. Isn't. The. Point.

Marc said...

I see the boredom felt by many here. The odes to streaming opera, as example.

Laslo is a very clever fellow indeed.

I don't stream opera because I'm bored: I stream it because I cannot afford to fly to Chicago, New York, Vienna, London, Paris, Berlin, Milan etc etc to hear it.

It is interesting which snippets of conversation here stick in the mind, isn't it?

J. Farmer said...

@wholelottasplainin':

So...Laura Ingraham, who clerked with Justice Thomas, is a dumb blonde?

Shannon Bream, with a J.D., is also a dumb blonde?

If Jeanine Pirro , with a J.D. and editor of her school's law review,w ere to dye her hair, would you call her a dumb blonde?

So far, all I can see is you speaking very well..of yourself.

How about arguments "on the merits" rather than simple sexism?


Uhh...it's called a joke. But admittedly, I am not half as impressed with credentialism as you seem to be.

J. Farmer said...

p.s. And no, I would never call Jeanine Pirro a "dumb blonde" Mostly because she's not blonde.

J. Farmer said...

@Francisco D:

This is an opportunity to learn from our mistakes after the coronavirus wave breaks. Hopefully, we will focus on learning and not on recriminations. That will be a really big challenge for the mainstream media.

Sadly, recriminations are about all we have left in American politics. National unity is pretty much dead and buried. Shockingly, a more diverse America is a more divisive America.

320Busdriver said...

My wife has a significant cold with nearly all covid symptoms EXCEPT fever and shortness of breath. She is not concerned she is carrying IT and has not reached out for care or testing. If she has IT, then I assume all of us in the home do as well. I believe those in China who tested positive were quarantined away from home in fever clinics developed in 2003 for SARS.

eddie willers said...

the local taco shop will be closing at 3 pm today, unless they can make deliveries.

Though Scott Adams has sadly become as panicky as Althouse, he made a great suggestion. Buy gift certificates from your favorite restaurants to help them weather this storm.

PS. If you are not watching Tucker Carlson, you are missing the best analyst on popular television. I may not agree with him all the time, but you can tell he put some real thought behind his assertions.

J. Farmer said...

@eddie willers:

Though Scott Adams has sadly become as panicky as Althouse, he made a great suggestion.

Whether you agree with Ann's decisions or not, I don't see any way they can accurately be described as "panicky."

J. Farmer said...

Donald Trump tweeting two days ago: "SOCIAL DISTANCING!"

Laslo Spatula said...

"I don't stream opera because I'm bored: I stream it because I cannot afford to fly to Chicago, New York, Vienna, London, Paris, Berlin, Milan etc etc to hear it."

I am all for streaming opera, square-dancing, synchronized swimming -- whatever people want to see.

I am responding in light of a different post:

"This is great. I love seeing the silver lining. People are stuck without things to go out and do, but they can watch streamed video, and the public's need for entertainment can be met, and the forced seclusion can be used to build new interest in the best of performance arts."

It may very well be a 'silver lining' to the comfortable, but -- to those losing jobs, or their small businesses -- a "new interest in the best of performance arts" is not high on the immediate priority list, and -- well -- a bit Marie Antoinette's cake. Especially when the 'forced seclusion' is presented with no end-game in sight, so no planning can be made.

(Perhaps we can indefinitely cut all government retirement benefits by 40% in this time of emergency to share the pain and build a rainy-day fund for the next time?)

I realize Althouse has already called me "nasty"; I would prefer to think of my comments as 'biting', and the cruel neutrality of it being no more off-the-mark than a label like 'splooge stooge'.

Your mileage may very, but you are still expecting someone to be there at the gas station.

I am Laslo.

MayBee said...

Your mileage may very, but you are still expecting someone to be there at the gas station.

I am Laslo.

3/16/20, 2:06 PM


Yes. All of it.

J. Farmer said...

@Laslo Spatulas:

Your mileage may very, but you are still expecting someone to be there at the gas station.

Luckily things like pay-at-the pump and operating behind glass can help mitigate the risks. We also expect healthcare, utility, and many other essential services to continue. The purpose of social isolating is to slow the rate of spread. Also, one thing the government can do to mitigate the damage is put money in the hands of people who will be most hurt. A payroll tax holiday won't do much to help a waitress with no customers.

Marc said...

I am responding in light of a different post

Oh, I know, or at least I presumed that I knew what you were referring to; was just advancing the conversation.

Marc said...

That's an initiative I hadn't thought about: I wonder if the magnates in Salem have contemplated freeing us from our servitude to the gas pump attendants here in Oregon? Do Governor Multicolor's emergency powers extend to that, I wonder.

Marc said...

Governor Brown has declined at this point to close bars, restaurants etc etc in Oregon, or reduce the 250 person limit to the mass of 'mass gatherings' to >49. I imagine that she thinks she is "helping".

paminwi said...

To J. Farmer
“I can't speak for Ann, but I think what most of us are talking about is the editorial side of television. After all, what exactly does it to take to be a good newscaster? A research team researches the stories, a writing team writes the copy, and the newscaster reads it. I don't particularly mind Brett Baier. Or even Chris Wallace. But anybody remember when he surprised Paul Ryan with a dollar-shaped birthday cake, that Ryan refused to eat? Cringe-inducing embarrassment.”

If you MEANT “editorial side” then SAY THAT! And if Althouse meant that she should have said that. I mean, the freaking blogger was a university professor! Who is supposedly smarter than that to the liberal world?
Maybe others are mind readers but I will not ASSUME a specific meaning when the actual words used were “ But I'd say the only reason Regan could be as stupid as she was is that it wasn't that far out of line with the general environment at Fox.” No where in that context is editorial even inferred.

So..if you meant editorial I will accept your statement as YOUR truth. I will NOT accept that as Althouse’s truth unless she clarifies her language.

PS: and no I don’t remember Chris Wallace doing that but since he is a liberal it doesn’t surprise me to hear that story. A “cute” way to bash someone with a different viewpoint on TV.

mockturtle said...

Your mileage may very, but you are still expecting someone to be there at the gas station.

You don't live in Oregon, do you? Don't you pump your own gas?

FullMoon said...

Two weeks. Two weeks and news from"officials" will be that we have stifled the potential disaster and it is ok to open back up. "Of course, there will be illness and death from covid, but we have prevented the worse" You're welcome

FullMoon said...

@Laslo

Interesting to see contrast between commenters who seem to have never been out on foot in the rain putting in applications at every business in town, or know people who have, and those who apparently have never un-intentionally skipped a meal or gone without a warm bed or shower.

Not talking about those all-so-rough ramen eating college days..

J. Farmer said...

@FUllMoon:

Two weeks. Two weeks and news from"officials" will be that we have stifled the potential disaster and it is ok to open back up. "Of course, there will be illness and death from covid, but we have prevented the worse" You're welcome

Any interest in putting some money on that?

FullMoon said...

This guy is a business genius? Everybody get $1,000., price of toilet paper and street drugs will rise.

Mitt Romney Proposes Giving $1,000 to Each American in Response to Coronavirus

J. Farmer said...

@paminwi:

If you MEANT “editorial side” then SAY THAT! And if Althouse meant that she should have said that. I mean, the freaking blogger was a university professor! Who is supposedly smarter than that to the liberal world?
Maybe others are mind readers but I will not ASSUME a specific meaning when the actual words used were “ But I'd say the only reason Regan could be as stupid as she was is that it wasn't that far out of line with the general environment at Fox.” No where in that context is editorial even inferred.


Well, what I have always said was that I don't watch television news. Relying on TV news, including Fox, but just as well may be any others, guarantees you will be misinformed. And considering that the non-editorial jobs consist of reading a piece of news copy in front of a camera, there really isn't much room to show off your stupidity. Compare the newsreaders to, say, the Fox & Friends nitwits, and you get a pretty good idea of the difference.

PS: and no I don’t remember Chris Wallace doing that but since he is a liberal it doesn’t surprise me to hear that story. A “cute” way to bash someone with a different viewpoint on TV.

It wasn't an attempt to bash him.

J. Farmer said...

This guy is a business genius? Everybody get $1,000., price of toilet paper and street drugs will rise.

I'm certainly no business genius, but I suggested that two weeks ago. Still sounds like a good idea to me.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

A payroll tax holiday won't do much to help a waitress with no customers.

Or the small businessman who employed her. Or the independent contractor (and there are millions out there) who don't pay any payroll at all but rely on profits. Cash flow to the bottom line.

No cash flow. No bottom line. No business to worry about because it is GONE.

FullMoon said...

Any interest in putting some money on that?

Nope. How long you expect people to go without a paycheck? You ever miss a credit card, rent, or utility bill payment? Ever talk to a bill collector? Ever work for minimum wage? Anybody in your immediate family? Know anybody without a savings account.

Not talking about grandparents or ancestors from the old country either, we all have a couple of those.

Marc said...

I didn't look into the pages of the Times this morning; there is this article, though, by Amy Harmon, asking a taboo question.

Calculating the economic costs of curtailing social interaction compared with the lives saved, [Jason Shogren, an economist] agreed, might yield a useful metric for policymakers. The U.S. government routinely performs such analyses when assessing new regulations, with the “statistical value of life” currently pegged by one government agency at about $9 million.

Still, Dr. [Linda, Shogren's wife, also an economist] Thunstrom asked, “Do we even want to look at that? Is it too callous?”

... But in recent days, a group of contrarian political leaders, ethicists and ordinary Americans have bridled at what they saw as a tendency to dismiss the complex trade-offs that the measures collectively known as “social distancing” entail.

Besides the financial ramifications of such policies, their concerns touch on how society’s most marginalized groups may fare and on the effect of government-enforced curfews on democratic ideals.


She goes on, Miss Harmon does, but that is the heart of it, such as it is. Who is talking about curfews? I recall that the possibility was mentioned, as speculation, in an article I read yesterday about politics in Salem, here in Oregon, but are there actually curfews imposed anywhere?

FullMoon said...

This guy is a business genius? Everybody get $1,000., price of toilet paper and street drugs will rise.

I'm certainly no business genius, but I suggested that two weeks ago. Still sounds like a good idea to me.

Why? Will prices stay the same or will price of goods go up because everybody has a thousand dollars to spend?

J. Farmer said...

Why? Will prices stay the same or will price of goods go up because everybody has a thousand dollars to spend?

Money isn't just going into the system; it's going out because of slowing economic activity. And considering that considerably more liquidity than what this would cost that has been injected without significant effects on inflation, it would not be my primary concern.

FullMoon said...

A payroll tax holiday won't do much to help a waitress with no customers.

Or the small businessman who employed her. Or the independent contractor (and there are millions out there) who don't pay any payroll at all but rely on profits. Cash flow to the bottom line.

No cash flow. No bottom line. No business to worry about because it is GONE.


Spoken like a true small business owner..

Peripheral minimum wage college student waitress is used to making $250.00 in tips on Fridays and Saturdays has just been given a week of paid time off. She has afamily to fall back on. Other staff are immigrants without family. Gonna be tough for them.Restaurant owner not sure what happens after that

J. Farmer said...

Nope. How long you expect people to go without a paycheck? You ever miss a credit card, rent, or utility bill payment? Ever talk to a bill collector? Ever work for minimum wage? Anybody in your immediate family? Know anybody without a savings account.

Precisely why I said, "one thing the government can do to mitigate the damage is put money in the hands of people who will be most hurt."

FullMoon said...

ope. How long you expect people to go without a paycheck? You ever miss a credit card, rent, or utility bill payment? Ever talk to a bill collector? Ever work for minimum wage? Anybody in your immediate family? Know anybody without a savings account.

Precisely why I said, "one thing the government can do to mitigate the damage is put money in the hands of people who will be most hurt."

Welfare and un-employment system is already in place. Just need to speed up the process.

FullMoon said...

Precisely why I said, "one thing the government can do to mitigate the damage is put money in the hands of people who will be most hurt."

Romney says give everybody $1000.00 Doubt anybody here needs it. I don't.

FullMoon said...

Now I feel better, just got an email from "my friends" at Bank of America..

"We are prepared and ready to help.
As the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, our entire team is ready and standing by to help small business owners like you. You rely on us every day for your professional and personal financial needs, and we're going to continue to provide reliable access to the important services you count on."

Fernandistein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tcrosse said...

We're facing the Great Switcheroo where our money turns to toilet paper, and toilet paper turns to money.

Fernandistein said...

as panicky as Althouse

LOL - and that load of dopey quotes she apparently thinks makes her trivial pseudo-intellectual sufferings appear worse than those of the peasants who've lost their income and/or don't have the choice to hang out their comfy ivory towers. (Oops, incomplete sentence there, we can't have that.)

Our 80-or-so year old neighbor just called to say she was going to Wal*Mart, and did we need anything - she'll leave the stuff by the gate if we don't want any contact!

Laslo Spatula said...

"Romney says give everybody $1000.00 Doubt anybody here needs it. I don't."

I could. I just took out two-thousand on a credit card to give a few friends money to cover immediate bills.

I don't have 'extra' money -- family health bills and prescriptions eat up most of my checks. But I do have great credit.

And I don't expect to be paid back: when things gear back up they'll take a while to try to get back to 'normal' -- I don't want to tie a weight to them.

Maybe a dumb thing to do on my part: I honestly don't know.

I am Laslo.

stevew said...

What a stupid proposal from the brilliant Mitt Romney. Agree FullMoon, I'm not put out of work by the lock down and don't need the $1,000. My niece and nephew in the food business (bar/restaurant) do. Give them mine and Mrs. stevew's in addition to their own.

FullMoon said...

I don't have 'extra' money -- family health bills and prescriptions eat up most of my checks. But I do have great credit.

And I don't expect to be paid back: when things gear back up they'll take a while to try to get back to 'normal' -- I don't want to tie a weight to them.


Anybody asks me, I loan money out interest free. And learned years ago not to expect repayment. If young peripheral has a job, I expect them to set up a repayment plan, even if ridiculously low, to encourage responsibility.

Got a call this morning from waitress telling me she might have to miss a payment or two. Impressed me.

And, I should have said "most here". Your previous comments indicated familiarity with paycheck to paycheck.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Full Moon. Welfare and un-employment system is already in place. Just need to speed up the process.

Those ARE good safety nets. What about the self employed. The contractors, truck drivers, independent businesses. Mom and Pop businesses. People who won't qualify for UNemployment since they are their own employers and don't pay a payroll.

If we wait long enough that group will qualify for Welfare. Whoopie.

J. Farmer said...

@FullMoon:

Welfare and un-employment system is already in place. Just need to speed up the process.

Romney says give everybody $1000.00 Doubt anybody here needs it. I don't.

There is a certain logic to that. For one, it would be much simpler to do that then use some kind of eligibility determination. People without children are not eligible for TANF, one of the primary cash welfare programs in the US. Since TANF and unemployent both have administrative overhead and an application process, it would not be so easy to quickly scale those programs up, considering we want to get money to people now.

If you take children and those over 65 (on Social Security) out of the question, that leaves about 150,000,000. So giving them $1,000 would cost $150 billion. That isn't that big of a figure when you consider a $19 trillion economy.

J. Farmer said...

@stevew:

I'm not put out of work by the lock down and don't need the $1,000. My niece and nephew in the food business (bar/restaurant) do. Give them mine and Mrs. stevew's in addition to their own.

Then give it to them. Slowing death everything with administrative overhead to determine eligibility isn't needed now. And if you did worry about costs, you could have the IRS administer it sort of as a tax prebate and then only collect it back against those over a certain income threshold in 2021.

Ken B said...

Farmer
Thanks for the clarification. I think you and I largely agree on Trump. We seem to be the only ones here who notice he actually does so much less than everyone believes.
I thought the best answer from a Democrat came from BBerg when he was asked how he would differ from trump. He said leaders build teams, and that Trump doesn’t.

FullMoon said...


If you take children and those over 65 (on Social Security) out of the question,

Expect people on SS could use the money more than you and me. And, Romney said $1000.00 per person. So, nothing to argue about once you get down to eliminating everyone who does not need the extra thousand. And, not just financially stable. No need to give addicts on the street any extra, unless maybe we start charging for needles instead of giving them away. Maybe charge for methadone.

And, no way that cash gonna be distributed without setting up some kind of bureaucracy to complicate things.

Just say, fill out an application, get welfare and food stamps. How long does it take for an illegal in California to get benefits?

FullMoon said...

And, why just a thousand? No doubt some put out of work need more than a thousand to pay the monthly. We gonna need a sliding scale..

n.n said...

I accept responsibility.

FullMoon said...

Full Moon. Welfare and un-employment system is already in place. Just need to speed up the process.

Those ARE good safety nets. What about the self employed. The contractors, truck drivers, independent businesses. Mom and Pop businesses. People who won't qualify for UNemployment since they are their own employers and don't pay a payroll.

If we wait long enough that group will qualify for Welfare. Whoopie.


That is why I am predicting, with fingers crossed, that within two weeks, our betters will somehow declare victory, and say time to get back to business as usual. Then, some will die, many will be sick, and life goes on

Ironically, people on welfare are least affected. Already making ends meet with what they get.

stevew said...

Farmer: I am helping them out, and my sister who has Lupus and can't work and their father, my brother, that lost his job in October. Was just pointing out the stupidity of Romney's proposal.

stevew said...

And by stupid I mean pandering.

wildswan said...


"As best we can tell with the evidence we have, the mortality rate and the percentage requiring critical care are much higher than standard flu. And again, flu rates are seasonal, predictable, and fairly distributed. It's not the same as 500 people needing hospital care in the span of a few days."

Trying to advance the discussion:
Might this be a sort of "forest-fire" epidemic? If it gets started, it races ahead of all efforts to contain it and over whelms ICUs as in Bergamo, Italy (and then they start triaging.) But forest fires don't start and don't become dangerous everywhere. We know when there's a dry season and where Santa Anna winds and unmaintained power-lines are and so we know where and when to expect forest fires. But we don't know why the epidemic hit Bergamo so hard. Were there special conditions that don't exist elsewhere or are we all just a few weeks behind Bergamo? If we knew why local COVID spots pop-up, if we knew where the "dry, brush-filled forests" so to speak are, then we could send help from other regions, send doctors and respirators from unendangered areas just as as fire-fighters come in from other areas to big forest fires. Bergamo would not be triaging if other areas sent help. But the trouble is the other areas don't know whether this epidemic will be "pop-up" in Bergamo or will be general so they keep their resources.
And even if this was a general epidemic, it might be actually dangerous only in certain regions - but we don't know what those are.

It's my opinion that it will hit the northern cloudy areas of this country the hardest but it will appear everywhere that has an airport and a lot of international travelers. If it's warm and sunny it won't spread, it will appear and disappear, in this theory. But if it's cloudy and chilly as it is in Lombardy the disease will spread rapidly from even one traveler. If we knew more, we might be be able to lift restrictions in many parts of the country and resume economic activity in those parts. And then, if we narrowed things further by concentrating on why the pop-ups happened where they did in the cloudy, chilly areas we'd learn how to handle this. Why did the Biogen conference in Boston lead to so many cases while hundreds of other conferences in the same area and time frame other had no real effect.

But, not knowing, and consequently fearing that a major nationwide outbreak is only days away, we're restricting everybody and everything. However in a very short time, meaning a week or less, with testing, we ought to know facts. COVID is appearing in all parts of the country due to travellers from China and the EU but is it spreading from those travellers equally rapidly in all parts? Is Manhattan worse than Houston?

mockturtle said...

Maybe a dumb thing to do on my part: I honestly don't know.

That depends, Laslo. You know your friends--if they're going to spend it on meth or gambling, then, yeah, it might be dumb. Otherwise I'd say it's a kind and selfless thing to do.

mockturtle said...

Tcrosse observes: We're facing the Great Switcheroo where our money turns to toilet paper, and toilet paper turns to money.

The Babylon Bee had an article this morning about the Mexican drug cartels switching from dealing drugs to making hand sanitizer.

iowan2 said...

What about the self employed. The contractors, truck drivers, independent businesses. Mom and Pop businesses. People who won't qualify for UNemployment since they are their own employers and don't pay a payroll.

We most certainly do pay payroll tax. Eliminating my quarterly estimate would put a lot of $ in my pocket quickly.

Stan Smith said...

What wildswan said. This is not likely to affect everybody everywhere in the same way. Total shutdown of everything is actually counterproductive in the sense of not allowing us to LEARN what we need to know about this virus.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

We most certainly do pay payroll tax. Eliminating my quarterly estimate would put a lot of $ in my pocket quickly.

Depends on how you are structured.

Yes. You probably do pay quarterly estimates on your SELF Employment tax which is payroll tax. 15.3& SS and Meidicare. And you do get credit towards your SS fund.

People who are SELF employed usually file a schedule C and pay self employment tax which is the full amount on NET earnings. Most often quarterly but not always. An employer who is paying payroll taxes pays half of that on each of his employees and collects from the employee's pay their half.

Payroll taxes paid by the employer besides SS and Medicare... also include Unemployment Insurance. Federal Unemployment. State Disability. Employment training tax. State Disability. As well as SS and Medicare

We are a Corporation so we only pay payroll on the salary that we "generously" pay to our one employee. Husband. The rest of the taxable income from the Corp after expenses...is pass through income and not subject to the 15.3% on a Schedule C filer's net. It is subject to our personal tax rate.

Then there are "owner's draws" which are not taxable. Considered a return of the original capital investment. But you have to be careful because you can draw your company into nothing. The IRS doesn't like that!!. So you can draw down...but should you? It is wise to periodically provide owner contributions which increase your cost basis or make up for the tax free draws.

Most small self employed pay very little in "payroll" taxes because of the ability to have deductions from the gross.

All stuff that Gavin Newsome knows nothing about.

Francisco D said...

If you take children and those over 65 (on Social Security) out of the question, that leaves about 150,000,000. So giving them $1,000 would cost $150 billion. That isn't that big of a figure when you consider a $19 trillion economy.

Agreed. However, why not give people over 65 the money? I am not in need, but many people my age are supplementing their incomes working at places that will close or have closed.

rehajm said...

The best proposal I heard was government providing business interruption insurance if the business agreed to avoid layoffs.

Ann Althouse said...

“ I notice Ann never mentioned Special Report with Bret Baier. He is the best evening newscaster on TV.”

I don’t watch a newscast. Reading the news is much faster and better. That show is just stuff I always already know.

Marcus said...

The Town of Palm Beach has instituted a curfew.

THEOLDMAN

It has been decades since I watched a newscast. I agreed with the hostess that reading the news is SO much better. When I do hear snippets of it, the meaningless personal patter back and forth ('great job, Toni, thank you)....reminds me of why I don't watch them

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

What’s the objective of a curfew?

Big Mike said...

8. "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness.... By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women's happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men...."

Predictable. I think women have had this formerly real but for many decades imaginary enemy called "The Patriarchy" and they don't have crutch they spent centuries relying on. Once upon a time there really was an male attitudinal issue in that some fields of study were deemed to be too challenging for the assumed-to-be-weak female brain. I was around back then, and I know how hard it was for women, especially in physics, math, engineering, and even computer science, to be taken seriously. My then-fiance overheard her dissertation advisor -- her dissertation advisor! -- tell a colleague that "If you grant a Ph.D. to a woman she'll just take a job away from some man who needs to feed his family." No wonder she wasn't getting her fair share of time on the cyclotron to run her dissertation experiments.

But that was then, this is now. Right now it's not easy to find a man who hasn't worked with women as his peers, subordinates, and managers, and found it to be natural. The old attitudes died out thirty years ago.

But! It turns out that their most convenient excuse is gone and the only reason they are not getting ahead is that they simply don't measure up. Some women do, some don't. The ones who don't are mightily unhappy. Just breaks my widdle heart.

mockturtle said...

Some women do, some don't. The ones who don't are mightily unhappy. Just breaks my widdle heart.

Mike, as I've paraphrased Shaw before, Those who can, do. Those who can't, whine.

Big Mike said...

@mockturtle, I bow before you. (No sarcasm meant.)

mockturtle said...

Mike, thank you and as you are bowing before me, I'll take the cue and confer knighthood upon thee. Arise, Sir Mike!

traditionalguy said...

I confess that I enjoy Trish Regan’s show. She is no intellect, but she is sincere and female as they get. That is a good antidote to Tucker and Sean Hannity all the time. She seems to enjoy her work.

Marc said...

What’s the objective of a curfew?

Presumably, it's 'social distancing' enforceable by the police?

Governor Brown here in Oregon has used her emergency powers to ban gatherings of more than 25 people and to close restaurants and bars etc-- takeout being still allowed.

The Archbishop has cancelled public Masses through April 14th and dispensed the faithful from their obligations accordingly. First time since 1971 when I won't be able to participate at the rites of Holy Week and Easter. It occurs to me, however, that in the circumstances I can probably justify attending the more or less local church of the SSPX.

MayBee said...

What’s the objective of a curfew?

They all want to be the leader who did the most.

Silly Calabrese said...

I always find it useful to think of the hippy/60s/Marxist revolution in the west as a direct and brainless inversion of traditional western mores, culture and religion. The idea that vulnerability is bravery doesn't stand up to even the slightest investigation of what happens in real life. Tell your bully that you are super-vulnerable, and see how that works out. I kicked one of mine, Anton, in the nether regions, and he never looked at me or spoke to me again. Strength is actually strength, bravery is actually being brave, honour is honour, duty is duty. Normal people never stopped believing these things because they are the truth. The horse-shit served up by the supremely over-confident know-it-alls of the hippy age does not work out in real life.