ARREST HOBBY LOBBY.
The Hobby Lobby is defying stay-at-home orders because presumably God wants people to die for arts and crafts supplies. How else are Americans going to make party favors for all the parties they can't have? The oh-so-Christian retailer is “quietly reopening" stores across the country, including in Kansas, Ohio and Wisconsin, whose governors have ordered residents to shelter-in-place. These orders close all businesses except for those that provide “essential services." Hobby Lobby does not provide “essential services."
Despite literally having the word “hobby" in its name, Hobby Lobby has tried to rebrand itself as an “essential" business. A hastily made sign on the window of one store claimed it's now operating as an essential business because it sells “PPE masks, educational supplies, office supplies, and various components for at-home small businesses." That's absurd. Bars and restaurants offer food, which is essential, but they're all closed except for takeout and delivery.
Hobby Lobby is not an actual grocery, pharmacy, or hardware store. There's no gray area here, and billionaire owner David Green is choosing to endanger his employees, and the communities they live and work in, in service of his bank balance. How evangelical!
We are not in this together if Ivanka's supposedly one of 'us.'
The president's useless daughter, Ivanka Trump, is trying to guide us all through the coronavirus crisis with obnoxiously cheery, uplifting messages. She's not providing a unique service. We already have a Gwyneth Paltrow.
Trump published a press release posing as an op-ed last week where she praised everything Donald Trump had done for the "forgotten man and woman." She neglected to mention how little her father did to stop the spread of a disease that has cost them their jobs and potentially their lives.
Within weeks, a pandemic has threatened the health, safety, and livelihoods of millions around the world — including here in the United States. In order to curb the spread of the highly-contagious virus, we have had to work from home, transition to distance learning, and temporarily manage a new way of life. As we collectively and individually experience this new reality, we have seen firsthand the hardships citizens face when they do not have access to paid family and sick leave.
That's a lot of “we" in there, sister. There's no way Ivanka Trump has witnessed actual hardship first or even secondhand, but maybe she's drawing from the memories of visiting her own sweatshops.
While her husband, Jared Kushner, screwed the tenants in his New York apartment buildings, Ivanka posted some videos of herself, sans makeup because she's real that way, social distancing her heart out. She wants to let us know we'll all be OK, except for the history-making number of unemployed people who might have to sell their teeth and hair while singing “I Dreamed a Dream."
Cruise Ships Ain't Getting No Stimulus Money Just Because They're Not Even American, Isn't That Sad?
You get nothing!
The coronavirus and resulting economic shutdowns have laid waste to such industries as restaurants, hotels, airlines, and, yes, cruise ships, those floating petri dishes where you go to fall in love and catch the measles. The Senate passed a hefty $2 trillion stimulus package this week, but cruise ships won't have access to $500 billion in aid for large employers. That's because they've previously spelled “relief" T-A-X-D-O-D-G-E.
From the Washington Post:
Language in the 883-page bill passed by the Senate says that to be eligible for aid from the $500 billion fund, companies must be certified as "created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States" as well as having "significant operations in" and a majority of employees based in the United States.
Major cruise companies like to base their primary headquarters overseas, so they can avoid pesky federal taxes and even more annoying US regulations, such as health and safety codes. They staff their ships with workers from the Philippines, Indonesia and India, which they don't do because they're big believers in the global village. No, they pay foreign workers around $2 an hour and work them plantation style. Business Insider reported that cruise-ship employees often work eight to 20 hours a day, seven days a week.
Give La Peste the slip.
I asked for an assignment, and for my sins, Yr Editrix gave me one: "Dok, you should do WARBLOG on the Stranger's Book Club reading of The Plague. Just lead a whole bunch of wonkers over there and DO INVASION." Well, I am nothing if not a toady, and so I said yes of course I will do that, although I added that I hadn't read Albert Camus's examination of humanity trapped inside a world gone weird and deadly since college. I'm not even sure I had a very good translation, since I'm not entirely sure Charlie Brown and Linus were even in that book. Though Linus certainly fits.
So here's the deal: Seattle alternaweekly The Stranger (actually, its blog, the Slog), is doing a Quarantine Club book club where they're reading The Plague. It's The Plague at the Slog, which is part of The Stranger, which is not the other famous novel by Camus. And we are going to go over there and raid their book club in the politest possible way, possibly bringing some of our cakes we like. We're excellent guests.
He’s a goddamn monster.
Donald Trump — out of the goodness of his own shriveled heart — recently declared California, New York, and Washington state coronavirus disaster areas. But the president has been a little tardy on releasing disaster unemployment assistance, which is a pressing need for the gig economy workers who are otherwise ineligible for traditional unemployment benefits. The only aid the Trump administration has offered so far is “crisis counseling." That's probably useful for everyone who needs counseling because the president won't fund their unemployment.
A senior White House official claims that Trump is holding off because the coronavirus stimulus package will provide similar protections, and Trump hates double dipping. That's certainly an explanation. Another, perhaps more likely, explanation is that Trump is a petty POS. He hates the Democratic governors of California, New York, and Washington state. He's feuded with California Gov. Gavin Newsom and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He's called Washington Gov. Jay Inslee “a snake" like he was a rival rapper not a political leader dealing with a national emergency.
Stay home. God will find you.
During desperate times, there are always scumbags willing to take advantage of the desperate. Televangelist Rod Parsley is reaching out to the faithful who are afraid for their physical and financial health. They can just give him their money. This won't solve any of their problems, but Parsley's bank account will appreciate it.
CON ARTIST: As you fill out our online prayer form, I want you to pray about the seed of faith you will sow.
Sow a $54 targeted No Weapon seed, claiming the promise of Isaiah 54:17. The size is not important, but rather what kind of faith it takes for you to sow a sacrificial seed.
Maybe you should sow $54 for every member of your family you want to defend from the enemy's attack or a $540 seed if that will stretch your faith.
All this talk of “seeds" reminds me of gardening, which I think is still legally permitted, and that weird Heart song from the 1990s “All I Wanna Do (Is Make Love To You)."
Obviously, you shouldn't give a dime to Parsley. You should give money to hospitals, struggling restaurants and theaters, or Wonkette. You should even give money to the cruise ship industry before this asshole.
Yep, time for us to yell at the Times again.
Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick told Tucker Carlson Monday that senior citizens such as himself would cheerfully die so that America's economy can tap dance on their graves. An elected official suggesting that we move toward a Logan's Run society is a big deal, and the New York Times originally made that clear in its headline before backpedaling like a common New York Times. The Twitter account "Editing TheGrayLady" highlighted the change.
The original headline, in gray and pink, is chillingly accurate, but its replacement, in green, is bland and unoffensive, which often feels like the New York Times's journalistic credo. Texas isn't struggling between federalism and nationalism. It's not like whatever passes for our national government these days has ordered state governments to act. Donald Trump wants to throw a coronavirus party on Easter Sunday. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott isn't “balancing" local control with the coronavirus crisis. He's not doing anything. He's leaving the critical decisions to the local authorities in 254 counties. Time is of the essence when it comes to flattening the curve, and Abbott is leading by confusovision.
Besides, we all know what Edna Mode thought of capes.
Today has been another hell of a week! Let's take a quick look at some of the things people are doing to help each other through this, whatever it is (It is a pandemic — wash your damn hands).
Go hit up your buddies in Panama.
Donald Trump is a big fan of the cruise ship industry. Last week, he said it was a “prime candidate" for a bailout, along with actual useful businesses such as airlines and hotels. We're not monsters here, though. If we let Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Lines ... er sink that would negatively impact countless Americans.
Oh, I guess we can count them, and it's 20,600 people. According to Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, that is 0.013 percent of total employment in the US. Put in perspective, that's half the people reading Wonkette on any given day. I confess that even though I wouldn't take a cruise at gunpoint, I have a soft spot for the industry because of the 1980s Carnival ads featuring Kathie Lee Gifford, with whom I was briefly in love for reasons I can't explain.
Your Sunday breather.
Everything continues to be nuts, but we keep being reminded that in addition to all the anxiety and toilet paper hoarders, there are also the online performances by Yo Yo Ma and the kids playing music for their neighbor. Life goes on, and we're going to get through this with each other's help. So let's do some nice things!
Loeffler might become another McLoser like Martha McSally.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler from Georgia is busy cleaning up her mess after cleaning up her stock portfolio. Loeffler and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, dumped a few million in stocks after an all-senators briefing with Dr. Anthony Fauci back in January, when we still had meetings. Her sales don't look quite as an incriminating as North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr's, but he's not running for re-election this year. Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to her seat in December and she has to actually face voters -- metaphorically, of course -- in a November special election.
Loeffler has never held prior political office. She's a Republican in Georgia and might've won her first actual race on partisan inertia, but now she has to really put herself out there. Unfortunately, Loeffler doesn't come across as the most honest and trustworthy person. She reminds me of the villain in a Lifetime movie who's threatening to foreclose on the family farm or bulldoze the family diner, both of which are run by Lacey Chabert.
This meeting of the Grover Norquist Bathing Society will come to order.
Ronald Reagan always got applause for his witticisms about how bad and useless government is. The Reagan Library, right on its homepage, features the campaign slogan that Reagan repeated in his inaugural address: "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem." He was also fond of the very funny joke, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help."
Oh, hey, know what else is right on the Reagan Library's homepage right now?
We're sorry. Due to the coronavirus public health emergency, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum will be closed to the public beginning March 14th until further notice.
But Ronald Reagan must surely be proud of his achievement right now, forty years into the ongoing Republican effort to dismantle the federal government. We have a hell of a problem, with thousands of Americans infected with COVID-19, plus hundreds of thousands already out of work, or soon to be unemployed, as the nation grinds to a stop, since that's the only way to stop the disease from spreading. We can say with some confidence that right now, the government isn't anywhere close to a solution. Maybe tax cuts.
Also, what's left of the government is doing everything it can to assure you it's not here to help, so we bet people sure are relieved they won't have to worry about those terrifying words, either.
Bill-O the Clown is at it again.
Former Fox News lech Bill O'Reilly has some thoughts about the coronavirus, and why Donald Trump didn't effectively react to looming crisis: Democrats are to blame for not leaving him alone while he shredded the Constitution.
We all miss impeachment. It was a simpler time when we thought we'd always be able to leave the house. How did O'Reilly deduce that Trump's impeachment is why the coronavirus caught us with our pants down? (Now that we're in isolation it no longer matters if we're wearing pants or not.) O'Reilly combed that barren desert he calls a soul for clues and filled us in on his website.
Celebrities need to develop a blogger mindset.
Rapper Cardi B betook herself to Instagram to complain that she's not enjoying being locked up to avoid coronavirus any more than anyone else. She also pleaded for someone at the fucking Pentagon to get in touch with her and let her know when this will all be over and she can go out on the town again.
Thank goodness we encountered the story at military blog Task & Purpose, which gave the story the professional defense-oriented context it needed.
Although the DoD has been issuing daily updates regarding numbers of infected service members, and holding briefings on how the military is dealing with the spread of the virus, fundamental questions still remain: how long is this damn thing going to last? How bad will it get? Should we be freaking out?
Plenty of experts and non-experts disagree over all of those things, but perhaps there is some top secret document buried deep inside the defense secretary's office that holds the key.
Normally we wouldn't air the grievances of someone who thinks the military is withholding a secret timeline for ending the outbreak, but this is Cardi B and we have no idea how seriously she believes it anyway — probably not much? It's kind of awesome. Fortunately, someone recorded it:
Fox News is finally figuring out how to say some facts about coronavirus WHILE ALSO giving its viewers the racist fact-free bullshit they so crave.
Well now, Fox has done an about-face and is pretending like it has always been at war with coronavirus. But there's good news, because even as they're starting to figure out how to deliver some actual science knowledge to their viewers, they're also figuring out how to keep delivering that trademark Fox News garbage bullshit their audience hoovers up like fentanyl-laced Metamucil.
For an example, we go to Fox News "medical expert" Dr. Nicole Saphier, who knows why all the kids are out there spring-breaking naked in the streets, while coronavirus rages:
Let’s see if our new “wartime” first lady can finally get her #BeBest on.
Melania Trump, who we hear is the first lady, is stepping up to help during the coronavirus crisis. The White House announced Wednesday that Trump will appear in public service announcements that'll detail "important ways Americans can protect themselves and those most at risk" from contracting and spreading the coronavirus. The PSAs will also feature Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Dr. Deborah Birx. They won't be filmed in front of a live audience of schoolchildren, so there's no chance the first lady will get booed.
The PSAs will appear digitally and on all the major broadcast networks, which soon won't have any original programming. Instead of “Ellen" or "Saturday Night Live," you can enjoy "Chillin' with Melania." It's neither entertaining nor informative!
Just a couple weeks ago, Trump was blithely tweeting photos of herself in a designer hardhat looking at plans for a neoclassical tennis pavilion at the White House. Now she's put on her designer surgical mask, but shockingly people aren't taking her seriously -- probably because she says stupid things on Twitter.
Try to understand, Mrs. Trump that if you're working from home, you're still “working." There's not much time for journaling or building tennis pavilions. Schools are also closed in many states, so if you're a parent, you're also trying to keep your kids, who are confined to the house, from going feral. It's The Shining, not a staycation.
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