It's a fuck-you to Obama, so it must be done.
The Trump administration rolled out the final version of its vehicle fuel-efficiency rules Tuesday, meaning that Trump will finally have eliminated tougher standards put in place under Barack Obama. The auto industry didn't particularly want the new rules, and several automakers plan to support higher gas-mileage standards planned by California, but now the rules are here and they're going to make you happy if you know what's good for you. The administration has had a hard time presenting any logical rationale for the rules beyond the fact that Obama wanted to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change, which of course is all the reason needed to dump his regulations.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a joint statement with the Transportation Department that the new rules delivered "on President Trump's promise to correct the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards." No, of course he didn't explicitly spell out what needed "correcting." But clearly, dirtier air is a good thing for everyone:
Our final rule puts in place a sensible one national program that strikes the right regulatory balance that protects our environment, and sets reasonable targets for the auto industry. This rule supports our economy, and the safety of American families.
The statement reads a lot more plausibly if you imagine a guy in a suit making the universal jerking-off gesture.
It Might Be Good If People Who Know Things Were In Charge, By A Doktor Of Rhetoric.
When histories of the coronavirus pandemic [2019-20??] are eventually written, the role of one libertarian scholar, Richard A. Epstein of the Hoover Institution, will deserve at least a footnote, if not a full paragraph. Epstein wrote a couple of articles, published on Hoover's website, in which he suggested that all the public health projections on what needs to be done about COVID-19 exaggerated the severity and danger of the outbreak. According to the Washington Post, the first of those pieces, a March 16 epic titled "Coronavirus Perspective," was a real big hit in the Trumpy circles, where everyone thought it was brilliant and, we presume, staffers read the best parts excitedly to each other, possibly calling in Jared Kushner to help them pronounce the bigger words.
The piece included a slightly optimistic projection for how bad the outbreak would be: no more than 500 deaths nationwide, maybe, which Epstein later revised upward to 5,000, tops, depending on the breaks. As the New Yorker's Isaac Chotiner notes in the preface to his interview with Epstein, published today, "So far, there have been more than two thousand coronavirus-related fatalities in America," and although epidemiologists' projections of possible totals vary, almost all are a lot higher. Chotiner also notes Dr. Anthony Fauci's estimate yesterday that the total deaths in the US could be between 100,000 and 200,000.
We can see why Epstein's work would be popular with Team Trump:
In a follow-up article, published on March 23rd and titled "Coronavirus Overreaction," Epstein wrote, "Progressives think they can run everyone's lives through central planning, but the state of the economy suggests otherwise. Looking at the costs, the public commands have led to a crash in the stock market, and may only save a small fraction of the lives that are at risk."
Despite how popular that rosy scenario might be, Trump nonetheless looked at the shadow of death and announced yesterday we'd have at least four more weeks of staying indoors and out of large groups, at least until the next dumbshit thing he sees on Fox News.
Epstein, who is a lawyer, not a biologist, agreed last Wednesday to a phone interview with Chotiner, and wow, you should go read the whole thing. (The magazine's coronavirus coverage won't even subtract from your five monthly New Yorker clicks. Even if it did, OH BOY.) Turns out that however well-respected in conservative law circles Epstein is, he has a whole bunch of flatly wrong assumptions about how viruses and epidemics work, which would be merely sad if his nonsense weren't also helping to set policy. Chotiner lets readers know up front that bullshit will be flung and disinfected:
During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, Epstein made a number of comments about viruses that have been strongly disputed by medical professionals. We have included factual corrections alongside those statements.
Hoo boy. Talk about putting it mildly.
Dumber than a Tater Tot.
What is the point of Ron Johnson? Does Wisconsin's senior senator actually do anything besides take in oxygen and expel copious amounts of rancid hot air? Can Mitch McConnell just park him in the Senate cloakroom with a bucket of Legos until he's needed for a vote?
In Johnson's latest demonstration of his fundamental pointlessness, he Googled a couple of death statistics and barfed them out into a 320-word "opinion piece" for USA Today.
"I'm not aware of any public official, including President Donald Trump, who is calling for a complete opening of the U.S. economy," Johnson starts, erecting his strawman in the very first sentence. "What more people are saying is that as we learn more about COVID-19, we should evaluate the total societal cost of this awful disease and try to put things into perspective."
Have you thought about the SOCIETAL COST, libs? Have you? Sure you're spending every waking minute trying to bend the curve by homeschooling your kids while desperately trying to keep your parents from going to store. But "more people" should think about the societal costs!
It's your Sunday Rundown!
Greetings, Wonkers, time for your rundown of all the terrible things that happened on the Sunday shows.
We begin with Fox News's "Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo," which had South Carolina senator and brett Kavanaugh defender (never forget) Lindsey Graham on to talk about the stimulus passed by Congress. But it was when Bartiromo brought up Nancy Pelosi that Graham got the vapors:
Sen. Graham pins Pelosi's attack on Trump as 'shameful, disgusting' www.youtube.com
BARTIROMO: Well take us behind the curtain to tell us how this all shook out, Senator, because Nancy Pelosi said she did jujitsu on this relief bill...
BARTIROMO: ... to get it where it needs to be.
BARTIROMO: And this morning, this weekend, she is saying that the president is fiddling around while people are dying, Senator.
GRAHAM: No, what she said, she's blaming the president of the United States for people dying because of the way he's led the country. That's the most shameful, disgusting statement by any politician in modern history. Let me tell you, we have seen the best of America from our citizens helping each other, delivering groceries, having special shopping hours for senior citizens. She's the first politician to blame another politician for people dying. This is the same speaker of the House who held up the bill in the Senate for days because she wanted same-day voting, she wanted carbon neutrality for the airlines, she wanted $75 million for the endowment for the humanities, and $25 million for the Kennedy Center. She is the one that held up the package in the Senate for days to get the Green New Deal put in a recovery package. So it's the most shameful, disgusting thing I have heard yet. And it needs to stop.
Mind you that Lindsey Graham has been in Congress through Terri Schiavo, Brett Kavanaugh and Dennis Hastert. But the kicker of hypocritical bullshit is Graham's "disgust" at blaming a politician for people dying like THIS motherfucker never heard of Benghazi and how Republicans blamed Hillary Clinton ("another politician") for "people dying" there.
Just thinking outside the box, and into a pine one.
Among the many bad takes out there on how we should hurry up and ignore public health experts so Donald Trump can get Barack Obama's economy back in time for Easter, we should have known the rightwing brain trust at the Federalist would be the first to urge us to stop worrying and love the virus. In a bizarre piece that reads like Outbreak fanfiction, Douglas A. Perednia, a dermatologist from Portland, Oregon, explains that the best way to get the economy up and running again would be for lots of healthy young people to voluntarily get infected with COVID-19 so they could gain immunity, then get to work growing the economy. It would be entirely voluntary, he's sure it would work, and it would be ever so much quicker than waiting around for months, so Perednia thinks we should give it some serious consideration.
You bet, just as soon as we find out who funds the Federalist.
Yr Doktor Zoom is not a physician. But I am a Doktor of Rhetoric, and I can diagnose a shitty argument pretty handily. This monster of faulty logic should never have been allowed out of the dungeon of the old castle where it was stitched together, not even as a thought experiment. The possibility that some rightwing True Believers may rush out to try it makes publishing the thing even more irresponsible. We've already had one person in the US die after rushing out to try what they thought Donald Trump was prescribing, so there's at least a strong chance some bunch of patriots will rush out to get themselves infected to own the libs.
This isn't some sort of perverse punishment? WHOA IF TRUE.
There is good news, America. No, really!
You know when you have to leave the house and you see idiots doing idiot things standing like three feet apart, and you want to scream "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" because in our new world, that is not safe? You know when you go to the Target and everybody is being very good and respectful, except for the one pastor who decides to get 12 inches from your face in the self checkout line and breathe on you about how it's just UNFAIR that he's not allowed to throw Jesus church parties right now? (Happened to a member of our family!)
There is data indicating that those situations are becoming outliers, kind of the loud and obnoxious exceptions to the rule, and that Americans really are doing this whole stop, drop and shelter-in-place thing. A new Gallup poll says fully 72 percent of folks are doing social distancing, so next time you are going feral and singing full arias to your cat in the same bathrobe you've been wearing since last Tuesday, take heart and remember that 72 percent of your neighbors are probably in approximately the same boat. We're all going to get through this together! We mean apart!
Gallup's poll says last week it was just 54 percent of folks doing social distancing, and only 46 percent avoiding even small gatherings with their families and friends. Now the families and friends number is up to 68 percent. The message is getting through. One number that didn't take a huge jump in the last week is people who are hoarding food and other essentials — last week it was 52 percent, this week still just 59 percent. Maybe we can actually flatten the curve on that one before we flatten that other curve. (It's kind of the same situation, dumbshits. If everybody buys 100 chicken breasts at one time, NOBODY GETS CHICKEN BREASTS. And then how can you make your drunken noodles, spoiler you can't.)
(Also that is Chrissy Teigen's drunken noodles recipe, we made it last night, you should do the same.)
Other good news in the poll is that the social distancing has spread across all age groups, and for the most part across all regions. The only scary thing is that there is still a major partisan divide, with 78 percent of Democrats taking this shit seriously, but only 56 percent of Republicans. Gosh, if there was only some way to figure out why. Oh that's right, because Donald Trump and Fox News lie to Republicans all day long and are thereby a public health risk. We forgot.
But is it going to work? Are you hiding in your house for a reason? There is reason to suggest that it is, and that your Netflix-ing is improving public health in the midst of a pandemic. Oh yeah, baby, you are a fuckin' HERO.
Cut his FUCKING mic.
There was another Donald Trump corona-lie-presser late yesterday, but we don't care. We hear Dr. Fauci wasn't there, that Trump pretended to be concerned about racism directed toward Asian-Americans even though he's the one encouraging it, and that a miracle happened: Networks cut away from covering it live, because he was finally too long-winded and full of shit for them.
Maybe the media is starting to figure out that these daily pressers are his substitute for the Hitler rallies he isn't allowed to do right now. And maybe they're starting to figure out that, due to Trump's constant lies, freelancing, and cold making-shit-up, they not only give people false hope (the auto industry is building ventilators!) but they are also a public health risk. (Eat chloroquine! Can't kill you!)
NBC News reported that an older couple in Arizona — who sound like any older couple who watches Fox News and thinks Donald Trump isn't only and always lying to them — heard Trump saying the anti-malaria drug chloroquine would probably cure coronavirus, he was just pretty sure of it. And they looked at each other and thought, "Chloroquine? Isn't that the thing we used to give the koi fish?" And they took the thing they give the koi fish, because they didn't want to get sick and die of novel coronavirus.
DUMB MEDICAL 'EXPERTS' ARE RUINING HIS BEAUTIFUL ECONOMY!
Donald Trump is bored, y'all.
And he wants to go outside and do a rally where all the deplorables scream praises at him, but he's not allowed, because the so-called "doctors" say if he does that, all the deplorables are just going to spray coronavirus on each other. Pfffffft, "doctors." Didn't they hear Trump has made a science medicine discovery that if you put some malaria drug in a milkshake and shake it around while you grab them by the pussy, coronavirus is cured? Like, Fox News totally says it works. (And we hope it does! In the meantime, Trump needs to STFU about it. The experts will let us know.)
Anyway, Trump is ALL-CAPS-ing.
Just kidding, his real thoughts are probably much meaner.
Hey, did y'all hear there was another Trump corona-lie-presser on Sunday? Yeah, you don't say! Trump was somber and reasonable for like five minutes, but then the mask slipped and he lied a lot more and said, "Gee, that's too bad," when he heard Senator Mitt Romney is in self-quarantine, and he talked about how HARD it was for his rich self to run for president, oh, he just gave up so many billions of moneys, tiny violins. Oh yes, and while blowing smoke up America's ass yet gain about a COVID-19 cure that's definitely right around the corner, he clarified that people will take the medicine "through mouth."
You didn't miss anything, and quite frankly, we probably shouldn't cover those pressers every day anymore, and the networks shouldn't run them live, as they are a public health risk.
Notably Dr. Anthony Fauci, the world's leading infectious disease specialist who just so happens to be, thank God, one of the only credible people on the Trump coronavirus team, was not there. It's disturbing when he's not there. But he did an interview with Science magazine, published Sunday night, and oh boy, oh fuck, oh wow.
It's your Sunday show rundown.
[…] You did the hardest part. You took the jump, you didn't know where you were gonna come down. And that's it. That's those little baby steps you gotta take.To try to become whole again. To try to find purpose. I went in the ice in '45 right after I met the love of my life. Woke up 70 years later. You got to move on. Got to move on. The World is in our hands. It's left to us guys, and we have to do something with it.
— Steve Rogers/Captain America, "Avengers: Endgame"
It's been a very rough few weeks. With a global pandemic caused by the spreading of COVID-19, the United States has slowed down to a crawl. Major and hard hit states like New York, California, and Washington have gone into "shelter in place" or quarantine to try to flatten the curve. This has affected all sectors of human life to include the Sunday political shows, as politics and petty squabbling on them have slowed to report on the emergency we are living in.
On ABC's "This Week," Martha Raddatz asked Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Peter Gaynor about desperate and angry state leaders pleading for medical supplies. Gaynor tried to paint an optimistic picture:
Meet Your New Dad Marvin, Who Knows Kansas Ain't Got Coronavirus 'Cause Kansas Ain't Chinese Like Italy!
FACTCHECK: Coronavirus done come to Kansas.
The chairman of the board of commissioners of Riley County, Kansas, has found the bright side of coronavirus, and that is why he is today's America's Bestest Smartest Elected Official Not Named Trump.
Commissioner Marvin Rodriguez explained that everything is fine in Kansas — up to date, really — and they ain't got no coronaviruses (they do) and he knows why. His comments at the board meeting were described by Usha Reddi, mayor of Manhattan, Kansas, which is in Riley County:
"I'm paraphrasing, but he said we don't have a problem here because Italy has a lot of Chinese people, and we don't have that problem here."
Got that? ITALY has the CORONAVIRUS, because ITALY TOO CHINESE. As if the virus just sprouts up in people of Chinese heritage, regardless of where they've been or with whom they've been in contact.
Hey, do you get it now, assholes? THIS is why Trump calling it the "Chinese virus" is bad and racist and dangerous.
Just when you think they can't possibly find a new way to fuck it all up, the Trump administration goes and outbids state governments on sales of face masks and sterile gowns for hospital personnel dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Oh, we wish we were kidding! But, nope. Here's Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on a phone call with Trump yesterday.
BAKER: We took very seriously the push that you made previously on one of these calls, that we should not just rely on the stockpile and that we should go out and buy stuff and put in orders and try to create pressure on manufacturers and distributors. And I gotta tell you that on three big orders we lost to the Feds.
So, my question is, could you give some of these guys some guidance that says, the states are doing what the Feds want, trying to create their own supply chain on this, and that people should be responsive to that? Because, I got a feeling that if someone has the chance to sell to you or to sell to me, I am going to lose on every one of those.
And then Trump chuckled. FOR REAL. Because, what could ever be funnier than the federal government making it harder and more expensive for the states to get their hands on personal protective equipment (PPE) in a highly contagious viral pandemic?
Oh, we'll tell you. We sure will!
Today's presser was the usual, in some ways. Trump blamed people, he lied, he blamed people, he lied, and he rattled off a whole list of drugs used to treat other conditions that might maybe possibly serve to treat coronavirus at some point possibly, which was just some smoke he was blowing up America's ass like the conman he is.
Look at CBS News, taking the damn bait:
Trump said one malaria drug, chloroquine, was already approved for coronavirus treatment, and that doctors could start handing it out like candy! YAY! And then the FDA commissioner had to horn in and say actually that's not true. (BUT JARED TOLD TRUMP IT WAS TRUE, PROBABLY ALLEGEDLY! NO FAIR!)
Trump claimed reports of doctors not being able to get important things like masks were fake news, because what he's seeing on the ground is great, just great. He said if there are no masks, no ventilators, well that's just all the governors' fault, there's nothing he can possibly do to fix it.
Trump said it's a "very exciting time for medicine," that's right, OOH, EXCITING, the medical community is just out here JIZZIN' SCRUBS because they get to deal with this pandemic.
Trump bragged about the economy, or at least the economy as it was, before everybody had to go home to hide from the pandemic the Trump administration put them in danger of catching, by refusing to do jackshit about it for more than two months. He claimed the only people who weren't prepared for the pandemic (which he was always calling a pandemic, long before anybody even had heard of that word, he was calling it that) were the media, who were too busy saying fake news lies about how he is a racist.
Trump was asked if there were plans for government employees to be able to work from home or "tele-work." President Best Brain proceeded to answer a question that was not asked, about tele-medicine.
And so on. It was all bullshit, is the point.
Great job, Wisconsin!
We will never forgive Russ Feingold. Because if Feingold had run a halfway decent campaign to get his seat back in 2016, we wouldn't be stuck with Ron Johnson, the stupidest sumbitch in the Senate this side of James Inhofe. It's not easy making Marco Rubio look cogent by comparison, but Johnson carries it off with gusto. So, thanks for nothing, Russ!
Johnson's latest dispatch from Dumbfuckistan was delivered in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where the senator attempted to reassure his Wisconsin constituents that the coronavirus pandemic is really NO BIG DEAL.
"I'm not denying what a nasty disease COVID-19 can be, and how it's obviously devastating to somewhere between 1 and 3.4 percent of the population," Johnson told reporter Craig Gilbert.
"But that means 97 to 99 percent will get through this and develop immunities and will be able to move beyond this. But we don't shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways. It's a risk we accept so we can move about. We don't shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu," Johnson said, out loud, on purpose, and not obviously under the influence of heavy narcotics.
Ideas that make too much sense, part 9,743.
Elizabeth Warren may not be running for president anymore, but her addiction to putting good ideas out to the public continues unabated. Thank Crom, because we need all we can get. Earlier this week, Warren proposed a $750 billion economic stimulus package that would focus on helping people and small businesses hurt by the coronavirus shutdown — not megacorporations. And yesterday, in keeping with her radical idea that governments exist to help people, Warren sent a letter to Donald Trump calling on him to order the Army Corps of Engineers to "convert or construct new temporary medical facilities," to meet the huge need for beds that the pandemic will create.
In her letter, Warren wrote,
Given the reality of the exponential growth of the virus, supplemental infrastructure must be designated and ready to receive patients immediately. The Army Corps is in position to help address this public health emergency by converting existing space into temporary medical centers. Taking this action will save lives.
The ability of hospitals to handle the growing number of coronavirus cases will be the next phase of this crisis. As Rachel Maddow detailed last night, the US may be roughly three weeks behind where Italy is right now, with hospitals overwhelmed.
Grim Future For Hospitals: Lag Time From Infections To Critical Illness | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC youtu.be
Not literally. But Fox News fans are more likely to ignore the threat.
We've been as amazed as the rest of you by Fox News's weird denialism about coronavirus, like its insistence that the Deep State is using health fears to impeach Donald Trump, the exhortations to go out and fly the coughing skies and all that. Now, some new polling data from an Economist/YouGov poll suggests that people who get most of their information from Fox News are also less likely to consider COVID-19 a serious threat, and more likely to believe conspiracy theories about the outbreak. Of course you're not surprised, but now there's data, so let's take a look!
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