Month: April 2020

Human Sacrifice, Dogs and Cats Living Together, Mass Hysteria!

The total theater box office in the United States this past weekend was just 2 movies shown at one drive in theater:

With movie theaters across the country closed for the foreseeable future due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the weekly box office report is all but a distant memory. But there’s one theater that’s still keeping the weekly box office report alive. A single drive-in theater in Florida was the source of the entire domestic box office this past weekend, showing a whopping two (!) movies to its audience. So if you were missing your weekly box office report, here it is, in extremely barebones form.

The forced temporary shutterings of businesses and movie theaters across has created an unexpected result: the rise of drive-in movie theaters. Once a widely frequented form of moviegoing, the drive-in theater has become an increasing rarity since its heyday in the late 1950s. But now the drive-in theater is seeing a boom in business thanks to the pandemic.

That’s true especially of the Ocala Drive-In in Ocala, Florida: the one source of the domestic box office this past weekend. The weekend box office report on the website The Numbers (via ScreenCrush) showed two new movies playing at one theater in the entire United States last week. The two films, the World War II mime biopic Resistance and the indie psychological thriller Swallow (both from IFC Films) were shown at the Ocala Drive-In in Ocala, Florida, according to journalist Gitesh Pandya, for a grand total box office $33,456.

This is stunning.

I don’t even want to think how this effects theater popcorn sales.

Holy Sh%$

Look Out Below

Oil prices, specifically the price of WTI crude, just fell to almost NEGATIVE $40 a barrel today.

Part of this was an artifact of the calendar, futures contracts were coming due, so stockbrokers were facing the possibilities of thousands of gallons of crude oil being pumped into their swimming pools, but this is f%$#ed-up and sh%$.

When you consider the fact that fracking is a particularly expensive way to extract oil, and that the best evidence is that it has never been profitable, there are going to be a whole bunch of eager investors left holding the bag:

Of all the wild, unprecedented swings in financial markets since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, none has been more jaw-dropping than Monday’s collapse in a key segment of U.S. oil trading.

The price on the futures contract for West Texas crude that is due to expire Tuesday fell into negative territory — minus $37.63 a barrel. The reason: with the pandemic bringing the economy to a standstill, there is so much unused oil sloshing around that American energy companies have run out of room to store it. And if there’s no place to put the oil, no one wants a crude contract that is about to come due.

Underscoring just how acute the concern is over the lack of immediate storage space, the price on the futures contract due a month later settled at $20.43 per barrel. That gap between the two contracts is by far the biggest ever.

“The May crude oil contract is going out not with a whimper, but a primal scream,” said Daniel Yergin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning oil historian and vice chairman of IHS Markit Ltd.

There is a whole bunch of money from a whole the “smartest people in the world” that just got lit on fire.

Tru Dat

One of the truisms of the financial markets is that economic good times create a lot of fraud, because it tends to forestall probing questions about dodgy investments, and down-turns expose those frauds, because the free and easy money necessary to maintain the facade is no longer there.

This time around, we are going to see an enormous amount of fraud from the same people who cheated everyone before the 2008 collapse, because there were never any meaningful prosecutions:

When Bernie Madoff owned up to a $65bn Ponzi scheme in December 2008, it was not out of guilt. He knew the game was up. Three months earlier Lehman Brothers had imploded. The market meltdown sent clients clamouring to withdraw from his funds, leaving them depleted with many investors still unpaid. American regulators had not spotted the fraud, despite a tip-off years earlier. It was not them that did for Mr Madoff, but recession.

Booms help fraudsters paper over cracks in their accounts, from fictitious investment returns to exaggerated sales. Slowdowns rip the covering off. As Baruch Lev, an accounting professor at New York University, puts it, “In good times everyone looks good, and the market punishes you harshly for not keeping up.” Many big book-cooking scandals of the past 20 years emerged in downturns. A decade before the crisis of 2007-09 the dotcom crash exposed accounting sins at Enron and WorldCom perpetrated in the go-go late 1990s. Both firms went bust soon after. As Warren Buffett, a revered investor, once put it: “You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” This time, thanks to a pandemic, the water has whooshed away at record speed.


David Sirota asks, “Will Big Pharma Fleece Us On A COVID Treatment That We Helped Fund?

This has been another episode of simple answers to simple questions.

On a more serious notes, extreme rent seeking is arguably the central tenet of the US economy these days.

If Remdesivir proves to be a good treatment for Covid-19, it will be sold for tens, if not hundreds, of times the cost of manufacture, and most of the development of the drug was paid for by the taxpayers.

This is Completely Unsurprising

It turns out that former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder knew about the dangerous toxicity of the City of Flint’s new water supply months before he admitted it.

In fact, he knew before there were any adverse health consequences, and he knew tht there WOULD be adverse health consequences, which makes him a murderer.

Here is hoping that he goes to jail for a very long time:

During the inauguration of his successor, outgoing Michigan Governor Rick Snyder needed a favor.

At the January 2019 event, Snyder approached Karen Weaver, who was then the mayor of Flint, a city of nearly 100,000 people that was still reeling from financial decay and a toxic-water crisis. He asked whether she could meet with Congressman Elijah Cummings.

“You have a lot of influence with him,” Weaver remembered a worried Snyder saying to her about Cummings. At the time, Cummings was the incoming chairman of the powerful U.S. House Oversight Committee.

Throughout the water crisis, Cummings led the charge as Congress demanded Snyder and his administration provide more information about what he knew about the poisonous water that ravaged the impoverished majority-minority Rust Belt city after it switched water sources to the corrosive Flint River in 2014, and when he knew it. More specifically, Cummings pushed for more information on when Snyder first learned of the lethal Legionella pneumophila bacterial outbreak in Flint. Snyder testified to Congress that he first became aware of Legionella in January 2016 and held a press conference the next day. Flint residents didn’t believe the governor; their doubt intensified after Harvey Hollins, the director of the state’s Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives office, contradicted the governor, testifying to Congress that he informed Snyder about Flint’s Legionella outbreak in December 2015.

Back at the inauguration, Weaver said, Snyder asked her to get Cummings to “back off” from investigating him, emphasizing that he wanted to move on with his life as a private citizen. He said “it would go a long way” if the request to the congressman came from her, Weaver recalled to VICE. Weaver’s former spokesperson, Candice Mushatt, as well as two other sources, confirmed that she had described the governor’s request to them after it occurred. (Snyder did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story).


After a VICE investigation spanning a year and a half across the state of Michigan, overwhelming evidence indicates Snyder had good reason to worry.

Hundreds of confidential pages of documents obtained by VICE, along with emails and interviews, reveal a coordinated, five-year cover-up overseen by Snyder and his top officials to prevent news of Flint’s deadly water from going public—while there was still time to save lives—and then limit the damage after the crisis made global headlines.

All told, the waterborne bacterial disease may have killed at least 115 people in 2014 and 2015, and potentially more whose pneumonia wasn’t officially considered Legionnaires’ disease, the illness caused by Legionella. In addition to the outbreak, Flint’s water supply was contaminated with lead and other heavy metals, harmful bacteria, carcinogens, and other toxic components. This wreaked havoc on Flint residents, leaving them with a laundry list of illnesses, including kidney and liver problems, severe bone and muscle pain, gastrointestinal problems, loss of teeth, autoimmune diseases, neurological deficiencies, miscarriages, Parkinson’s disease, severe fatigue, seizures, and volatile mood disorders.


VICE has learned that prosecutors leading the criminal investigation secretly subpoenaed key members of Snyder’s inner circle, including chief of staff Dennis Muchmore, Snyder’s “fixer” and top adviser Rich Baird, and state treasurer Andy Dillon, as they built a case against the governor. Documents reveal the governor’s chief legal counsel, Beth Clement, knew Snyder’s top officials were subpoenaed by prosecutors, suggesting Snyder knew as well (a spokesperson for Clement, now a judge, said she couldn’t comment on a case pending in any court). The aggressive investigation into Snyder may explain why the governor’s office’s legal fees, paid for by state taxpayers, came to at least $8.5 million in the years after the water crisis made national headlines.

Snyder and his administration were investigated by a team led by special prosecutor Todd Flood from 2016 to 2019. The team concluded that the administration had “committed conspiracies of ongoing crimes, like an organized crime unit,” a source with knowledge of the probe told VICE.

But before a case against Snyder could develop, the state’s newly appointed attorney general, Dana Nessel, fired top prosecutors and investigators pursuing the case.

Investigative subpoena documents obtained by VICE, along with details from sources with knowledge of the Flint water criminal prosecution, reveal that:

  • Snyder was warned about the dangers of using the Flint River as a water source a year before the water switch even occurred.
  • Snyder had knowledge of the Legionella outbreak in Flint as early as October 2014, six months after the water switch—and 16 months earlier than he claimed to have learned of the deadly outbreak in testimony under oath before Congress.
  • communication among Snyder, his top officials, and the state health department spiked in October 2014 around the same time state environmental and health officials traded emails and calls about the Legionella outbreak in Flint.

According to sources familiar with the criminal investigation, as well as Flint residents VICE spoke to, during those 16 months, Snyder’s top advisor, Baird, attempted to pay off sick Flint residents to keep quiet and silenced a whistleblower sounding alarms over the city using the Flint River while there was still time to save lives. And Snyder himself “punished” Weaver, Flint’s mayor, she said, after she repeatedly refused his administration’s requests for her to declare the water safe in Flint to residents.

What follows is the full, never-before-told story behind the cover-up of a government poisoning tens of thousands of innocent people—and the ongoing, six-year-old crisis.

But that latter proposal wasn’t free of flaws either. Genesee County, which Flint is part of, was the majority owner of the proposed KWA; oddly, the county’s elected drain commissioner, Jeff Wright, doubled as KWA CEO. Wright had a checkered past: In 2005, he was accused of laundering funds during his 2000 drain commissioner campaign; he ultimately wasn’t charged and denied the allegations, but the FBI did seize his campaign records. Years later, Wright became an FBI informant.

In March 2013, more than a year before the Flint River switch, Stephen Busch, a supervisor with MDEQ’s drinking water division, emailed other environmental officials in preparation for a call about Flint’s water options with state treasurer Dillon, Busch, and MDEQ director Dan Wyant. Busch warned that continuous use of the Flint River would pose “an increased microbial risk to public health” along with an “increased risk of disinfection by-product (carcinogen)” to Flint residents.

In the investigative subpoena interview between treasurer Dillon and special prosecutor Flood obtained by VICE, Dillon didn’t deny that Busch repeated his email’s warnings on the call they had the same day. Soon after the call, a source familiar with the details of the Flint water criminal investigation told VICE that Dillon and MDEQ director Dan Wyant—whom, VICE learned, prosecutors interviewed—briefed Governor Snyder in person on Busch’s warning about the hazards of the Flint River.

By the time Snyder received Busch’s October 2014 memo about the potential for a dangerous bacteria to be in the water, Flint residents had already been poisoned for six months.

“The source of the outbreak may be the Flint municipal water,” state epidemiologist Shannon Johnson wrote in an email to colleagues on October 13, 2014. This was the same day General Motors announced it would discontinue using the Flint River because high levels of chloride in the river water corroded its parts. A state health spokesperson told VICE that Johnson couldn’t answer questions “due to the ongoing criminal investigation.”

“He’s a fixer, he’s an old-fashioned fixer,” a source familiar with the criminal investigation told VICE. Baird’s M.O. was “by any means possible: threaten, coerce, whatever, to fix these things for Snyder.”

Baird’s “fixing” for Snyder expanded as the water crisis unfolded, allegedly descending into identifying Flint residents who could damage Snyder—and trying to pay them off.

By 2017, Flint resident Adam Murphy had become ill with seizures, memory loss, and double vision. Things grew so bad he could no longer work as a millwright welder. His then-wife Christina developed severe skeletal and muscle pain. Their newborn son Declan’s umbilical cord blood tested positive for lead in 2016 (the CDC cites no safe lead level for children).

Angry and desperate for help, Adam unleashed his rage at a water-crisis town hall in January 2017. A police officer removed him from the event and said she’d connect him with a top state official who could help his family, Christina recalled to VICE. Adam’s outburst received attention in the Flint Journal and the Detroit News.

Weeks later, Baird, an imposing man with broad shoulders and white-grey hair, stood in the Murphys’ living room, bizarrely flanked by former Army National Guard colonel Scott W. Hiipakka, a state trooper, and Sheryl Thompson, an official from the state health department, according to Christina. Baird was there representing Snyder, or as he told them, his “best friend.” He told the Murphys that the Snyder administration would fully pay for a medical treatment for Adam called chelation therapy, which injects agents into the body to bind to heavy metals like lead and extract them.

The Murphys weren’t the only Flint family Baird allegedly tried to silence, according to sources familiar with the details of the criminal investigation.

According to Mays, Baird approached her in May 2018, not-so-subtly trying to pay her off.

“Rick and I are out at the end of the year, so we have nothing to lose,” Mays recalled Baird saying. Baird allegedly said he was so tired of Flint residents’ complaining and lacking appreciation for all Snyder had done for them that he unilaterally, without the governor knowing, decided to end free water-bottle sites throughout Flint.

Mays told VICE she offered Baird to shower in her home as a demonstration of how unsafe the water still was. She also emphasized the need for transparent, non-state or EPA-funded water testing.

Baird’s response wasn’t subtle, according to Mays. “How about I do this: If I come in and replace your interior plumbing, your fixtures, the water heater, and your service line, would that make you happy and would that make you quiet?”

She didn’t flinch: “I just looked at him and said ‘If you do that for everybody,’” she remembered. “He turned beet red.”

Unfortunately, it does appear that the Snyder coverup will work, because the statute of limitations will expire in just a few months.

Here is Hoping that the Piranhas Wipe Him Out

Jerry Falwell, Jr. decided that Covid-19 was a left wing hoax, and so kept his Liberty “University” open.

When the press reported on this, he filed trumped up (pun not intended) charges against the reporters.

Now, after being forced to shut down by public outrage and the implied threat of actions by the local authorities, he is refusing to refund tuition and fees, and he is being sued for this:

Liberty University breached contracts with its students and profited from the pandemic by refusing to refund fees for campus services scrapped when the Covid-19 outbreak hit, an unnamed student has alleged in a federal class action lawsuit against the prominent Christian school.

The lawsuit stands to ratchet up attention first prompted by Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr.’s decision to welcome students back to campus last month for online learning, while the virus continued to kill and sicken growing numbers of Americans.


At Liberty, the lawsuit claims the school refused to refund unused portions of fees despite ending on-campus services and activities for the rest of the semester. The lawsuit further alleges that any refunds offered to students have been a “mere fraction” of what the school actually owes. The school offered a $1,000 credit to students who didn’t return to campus residence halls, the lawsuit said.

“Liberty University is, in a very real sense, profiting from the COVID-19 pandemic — keeping its campus and campus services ‘open’ as a pretext to retain Plaintiff’s and the other Class members’ room, board, and campus fees, despite no longer having to incur the full cost of providing those services, all the while putting students’ finances and health at risk,” the lawsuit alleged.


It also says the plaintiff is unnamed because of “a legitimate fear of retaliation and harassment, both from Liberty and its supporters, for proceeding with this claim”— including expulsion.

Here is hoping that Liberty gets bankrupted.  It is a cancer on the face of American education.

We are Screwed

The Covid-19 pandemic has interfered with the shipment of many types of products.

One I had not considered was the commercial movement of bee hives to pollinate crops, and right now this business is shut down, which means that many crops, most fruits and nuts and many vegetables, are likely not to be pollinated this year.

Lockdowns, quarantine requirements and border closures introduced in recent weeks around the world to slow the coronavirus pandemic are threatening to hit food production by limiting the movement of bees, agriculturalists have warned.

Farmers around the world growing fruits, vegetables and nuts rely on bees to pollinate their crops. In many cases bees are trucked through agricultural areas, rather than staying local to one area — but now they cannot travel.

“A third of our food depends on the pollination by bees. The production of those crops could be affected,” said Norberto Garcia of Apimondia, the international federation of beekeepers.

In the US, honey bees gather pollen and nectar from plants including berries, melons, broccoli and almonds, pollinating $15bn worth of crops every year, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

This is going to be a complete cluster-f%$#.

This is Gonna Get Interesting

He was fired because his email embarrassed “Dear Leader” Trump, and anyone who does not think that the White House did not play a role in this is deluded, notwithstanding acting SecNav Modly’s falling on his sword.

I expect to see a significantly less subtle intervention from the Oval Office to prevent this:

The Navy is looking into whether it can reinstate Capt. Brett E. Crozier, who was removed from command of the carrier Theodore Roosevelt after he pleaded for more help fighting a novel coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship, Defense Department officials said on Wednesday.

Adm. Michael M. Gilday, the chief of naval operations, has indicated that he may reinstate Captain Crozier, who is viewed as a hero by his crew for putting their lives above his career, officials said.

“No final decisions have been made,” Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a spokesman for the admiral, said in a statement on Wednesday to The New York Times. Commander Christensen added that Admiral Gilday was reviewing the findings of a preliminary investigation into the events surrounding Captain Crozier’s removal.

But Admiral Gilday’s decision could be upended by President Trump, who has not been shy about intervening in military personnel cases. Only five months ago, Mr. Trump fired Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer for opposing the president’s intervention in support of a member of the Navy SEALs accused of murdering a wounded captive with a hunting knife during a deployment to Iraq in 2017.

Unfortunately, it seems likely that Crozier will be collateral damage in this conflict.

Pope Frank has a Future in Standup

Upon greeting a class of priests, Pope Francis was presented with a bottle of Scotch whiskey, and he joked, “Scotch whiskey was the real holy wate.” 

I am amused:

Scotch whisky fans didn’t need any spiritual confirmation that their drink of choice is divine indeed.

However, it doesn’t hurt that Pope Francis has actually declared Scotch whisky to be ‘the real holy water’. It’s important to note that he did say it as a light-hearted joke to the Scottish student priests who offered him a bottle as a gift at a reception in the Vatican.

Though the moment was captured on video last year, the story gained attention recently, as the piece of footage censored by the Vatican was for a soon-to-be-released BBC documentary about seminarians at the Pontifical Scots College in Rome. In a Daily Record article, documentary director Tony Kearney described the scene:

“He was really down to earth with them all [the student priests] and when they handed him the bottle, instead of just handing it to his assistant as he normally would with a gift, he held it up and said ‘Questa e la vera acqua santa’, which means ‘This is the real holy water.’”

As for the specific whisky he was commenting on, it was a bottle of Oban, from the west coast of Scotland (both the 14 and the 21 year old are superb whiskies, by the way).

Somehow, I don’t think that we’d ever here such humor from Southern Baptist.

5.2 Million New Jobless Claims

Scary as Hell

The latest initial unemployment claims are out, and it’s 5.2 million claims over the past week, which is almost certainly an under-reporting, as overburdened offices are almost certainly falling behind.

In any case, it’s about 22 million claims in the past 4 weeks, and an unemployment rate of at least 15%:

More than 22 million workers have sought unemployment benefits during a month of coronavirus-related shutdowns, a record-shattering total that reflects a broad shock for the U.S. labor market.

Another 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said on Thursday, adding to three prior weeks in which millions of people filed for jobless claims. Since mid-March, about 13% of the labor force has sought jobless assistance, far outpacing any prior four-week stretch on record. Last week’s total decreased from figures that approached 7 million in the prior two weeks, suggesting the wave of workers filing for benefits has passed its peak.

“Claims are now falling, having peaked…two weeks ago,” said Ian Shepherdson, economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “But the weekly level is still almost unfathomably high.” He said Google search data for “file for unemployment” suggests claims will fall again this week.

Jobless claims are applications by laid-off workers for unemployment-insurance payments—not all of which are approved. Each claim is made by an individual person and that person can’t file another claim until their previous request was either rejected or their benefits expire.

Before the pandemic, the largest number of Americans to ask for unemployment benefits in a four-week stretch was 2.7 million, or 2.4% of the labor force, in the fall of 1982.

The glass half empty folks note that there are simply fewer people who are employed to make claims.

This is grim.

They Really Are Contemptible

I can get why some people would want to primary Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

I disagree, but I understand why.

Still selecting a recently Republican wing nut who called Social Security a Ponzi scheme is an indication of just how detached from reality they are.

My guess is that they decided that no one would notice if one Hispanic woman was replaced with another when they chose Michelle Caruso-Cabrera as their “Great White Hope.”

Some advice for AOC:  Unless you become Joseph Crowley and sell out completely, they are going to continue coming after you, so go ahead and endorse primary challengers to corporatist DINOs:

Wall Street titans are financing a direct challenge to firebrand progressive lawmaker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the New York primary on June 23.

Disclosures show that at least two dozen finance industry professionals, including several prominent private equity executives and investment bankers, made early donations to Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC contributor who is challenging Ocasio-Cortez. Caruso-Cabrera was a registered Republican until a few years ago and authored a 2010 book advocating for several conservative positions, including an end to Medicare and Social Security, which she called “pyramid schemes.”

The donors include Glenn Hutchins, the billionaire co-founder of Silver Lake Partners; James Passin of Firebird Capital; Bruce Schnitzer of Wand Partners; Jeffrey Rosen of Lazard; and Bradley Seaman, managing partner of Parallel49 Equity.


But the candidate’s beliefs are explained in detail in a book she authored in 2010 titled, “You Know I’m Right: More Prosperity, Less Government,” which included a forward by Larry Kudlow, who now serves as President Donald Trump’s director of the National Economic Council.

In the book, Caruso-Cabrera calls Medicare and Social Security “the country’s biggest pyramid schemes,” and wrote that she would end both programs in favor of a privatized voucher system. Medicare, Caruso-Cabrera wrote, “is another pay-as-you-go Ponzi scheme” that should be replaced with a health savings account that gives “seniors $1,000 or $2,000 a year to start.” Social Security, she notes, should be replaced with a private account system, in which Americans are incentivized to invest in the stock market.

In her book, she stated that tax evasion as essential to freedom, “Freedom and democracy are best secured when banking secrecy and tax havens exist.”

Making nice to these people will not get you more power in Congress, nor will it do anything to secure your position as the representative in New York’s 14th district.

In fact, given that Andrew Cuomo is governor and he hates progressives, you should be prepared for your district to be sliced and diced like Masaharu Morimoto making sushi by 2022.


Seriously, if you are concerned about Covid-19, wait 3 days, or use some damn hand sanitizer:

Apparently someone thought it was a good idea to disinfect $5,000 Canadian dollars using a microwave. Plot twist- Canada uses plastic money.

— Greg (เกร็ก) (@BkkGreg) April 13, 2020

Five Down, 45 States to Go

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam just signed a law making election day a holiday and creating an easy path to vote by mail.

Needless to say, making voting easier and more convenient is something that Republicans hate with a passion, they have been practicing aggressive voter suppression since before Reagan was President, but this is a good thing:

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Sunday that he signed a series of new measures into law aimed at expanding access to voting in the commonwealth.

The new legislation will establish Election Day as a holiday, remove the requirement that voters show a photo ID prior to casting a ballot and, expand early voting to be allowed 45 days before an election without a stated reason.

“Voting is a fundamental right, and these new laws strengthen our democracy by making it easier to cast a ballot, not harder,” Northam said in a statement. “No matter who you are or where you live in Virginia, your voice deserves to be heard. I’m proud to sign these bills into law.”

Several states and cities have already made Election Day a civic holiday, including Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky and New York. State offices typically close, though it depends on the state whether employees are entitled to paid time off to vote.

Proponents say making Election Day a holiday could improve voter turnout. But Election Day may not become a federal holiday anytime soon — it’s drawn deep division along party lines.


The new legislation also repeals the current Lee-Jackson day holiday which honored Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson as “defenders of causes.” Both men owned slaves and fought to preserve slavery in the US.

Making voting easier AND offering a big f%$# you to the folks who want to lionize Civil War traitors.

Two snaps up.

She’s Got Michelle Bachmann Eyes*

Republican Crazy Eyes

It looks like another right wing politician worshiping at the altar of Trump is now discovering that that whole Golden Calf thing was a warning, not an instruction.

So now South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has one of the largest Covid-19 clusters, and a significant proportion of the United States pork production has been taken off line, and her state is in a world of hurt.

And yes, she has some seriously CRAZY eyes:

As governors across the country fell into line in recent weeks, South Dakota’s top elected leader stood firm: There would be no statewide order to stay home.

Such edicts to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, Gov. Kristi L. Noem said disparagingly, reflected a “herd mentality.” It was up to individuals — not government — to decide whether “to exercise their right to work, to worship and to play. Or to even stay at home.”

And besides, the first-term Republican told reporters at a briefing this month, “South Dakota is not New York City.”

But now South Dakota is home to one of the largest single coronavirus clusters anywhere in the United States, with more than 300 workers at a giant ­pork-processing plant falling ill. With the case numbers continuing to spike, the company was forced to announce the indefinite closure of the facility Sunday, threatening the U.S. food supply.

“A shelter-in-place order is needed now. It is needed today,” said Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken, whose city is at the center of South Dakota’s outbreak and who has had to improvise with voluntary recommendations in the absence of statewide action.

You know, if your only goal is to drown the government in a bath tub, it’s a tough to sell in the middle of a pandemic.

*Apologies to Kim Carnes.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

A red light camera company is facing bankruptcy because of reduced driving, and reduced fines, during the lock-down.

I am amused:

Things change. And the stuff that used to work just doesn’t anymore. We’ve covered a lot of this over the years, mainly focusing on how the rise of the internet was greeted with rent-seeking and protectionist policies meant to extend the upper hand that incumbent industries had enjoyed for years.


We are again being asked to shed a tear for a law enforcement-adjacent industry. Social distancing and sheltering-in-place in response to the coronavirus has led to a downturn in driving. And if there’s fewer drivers on the road, proxy cops are seeing their revenue streams dry up.

Redflex, an Australian company that operates “traffic safety programs” in roughly 100 US and Canadian cities, warned that less traffic and suspended construction amid the pandemic will be a stress on its balance sheet.

“Approximately 15% of group revenue is dependent on volume-based contracts,” the company said in a regulatory filing Monday first spotted by The Wall Street Journal, hinting at its business line that includes enforcement cameras. “We anticipate our revenue from these contracts will be impacted broadly in line with the reduction in traffic volumes as well as the duration of the disruption.”

Yeah, that’s a real shame. It’s too bad a company that engaged in bribery to grab market share won’t be able to weather this unexpected downturn in questionably-obtained income. There are several competitors in the crowded “worst traffic cam ever” field, but Redflex did everything it could to stay ahead of the pack. This behavior resulted in other unexpected downturns, like refunding millions of dollars of tickets in multiple locations due to the tech’s inability to do the little things… like accurately judge vehicle speed.

Here’s hoping that these folks end up in the poor house.

Some Observation on the NY Times Article About Joe Biden Sexual Assault Allegations

It is significant that the New York Times is finally publishing something about the Biden allegations, if just because it means that the story is now officially not beyond the pale.

While the Times article is marginally less dismissive than the ones found in WaPo or Salon, I would note that it has information that confirms Ms Reade’s account of events.
Of course, they wait to paragraph 25 to note the claim that:

The staff declined to take action, Ms. Reade said, after which she filed a written complaint with a Senate personnel office. She said office staff took away most of her duties, including supervising the interns; assigned her a windowless office; and made the work environment uncomfortable for her.

And then a few paragraphs later (paragraph 38) they note:

At the time of the alleged assault, Ms. Reade said she was responsible for coordinating the interns in the office. Two former interns who worked with her said they never heard her describe any inappropriate conduct by Mr. Biden or saw her directly interact with him in any capacity but recalled that she abruptly stopped supervising them in April, before the end of their internship. Others who worked in the office at the time said they remembered Ms. Reade but not any inappropriate behavior.

(emphasis mine)

I’m not sure that this information should have been in the first paragraph, but it should have been in the first 5 paragraphs, and the statement by the interns about her abrupt removal should have been noted immediately following.

Talk about burying the lede.

Also, note that Fox News, of all people, pointed out a stealth edit of the article: (Deletion in red)

No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade’s allegation. The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.

All the news that’s fit to print, huh?