Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump's flaming crap bag of an administration have maybe, possibly reached a deal on a coronavirus aid package. The "Families First Coronavirus Response Act" includes free testing, paid emergency leave, and other needed resources to combat this crisis. According to our badass speaker in charge, this legislation is about “testing, testing, testing." If the White House realizes this shit's important, the Senate is expected to vote on the bill Monday. (NBC News)

Trump had threatened to bail on the bill if it didn't include more stupid tax cuts for his billionaire buddies. Pelosi refused. That last sentence deserves a featured position on a Wonkette tee. (Politics USA)


Smart people at Sunnybrook, McMaster University and the University of Toronto have isolated the coronavirus. This doesn't mean they can cure everyone in 42 minutes like on Star Trek, but it's a step in the right direction.

"Now that we have isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we can share this with other researchers and continue this teamwork," [Dr. Arinjay Banerjee, NSERC post-doctoral fellow at McMaster University] said. "The more viruses that are made available in this way, the more we can learn, collaborate and share."

Canadians are awesome!

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is extending his self-quarantine after learning in came in contact with yet another person who later tested positive for the coronavirus. He's still not exhibiting any symptoms and we wish him well because we're not monsters. But we are petty enough for this parting shot: (The Hill)

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey emailed his staff Wednesday and recommended they “donate" their paid time off to any coworkers who got sick during the ongoing pandemic. Mackey has an estimated net worth of $75 million. Amazon owns Whole Foods, and Jeff Bezos probably made $75 million while you read this sentence.

The upscale grocer announced Friday --- out of the goodness of its corporate heart (and likely shame from the Vice article revealing the former policy) -- that employees could now call out sick “without penalty." This is a supposedly “relaxed" policy in response to the coronavirus. It's not encouraging to know that prior to this, employees had to choose between losing their jobs or stocking the produce department with strep throat. (Vice)

Sorry, Google isn't building a nationwide coronavirus screening website. That was another of Trump's lies. (The Verge)

Major League Baseball is sending players home from spring training. It's unclear when they will return or how it will impact the upcoming season. (ESPN)

The Washington Secretary of State's Office is suspending public access to critical in-person services until further notice." That cuts the public off from the Washington State Archives, the state libraries, the division that handles corporations and charities, and the state elections office.

The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is suspending all screenings and events "until conditions improve sufficiently." The staff is now on furlough. If they wish, patrons can consider their pre-purchased tickets a “donation," which is what I encourage. (The Seattle Times)

Confirmed cases of the coronavirus are likely to grow exponentially in the coming weeks but social distancing measures and increased testing should help “flatten the curve." Two infectious disease experts explain how we can halt the spread but only if we act NOW. (The New York Times)

If the coronavirus outbreak has you feeling like Evillene from The Wiz, I don't blame you. That's all the bad news for today.

The Wiz (5/8) Movie CLIP - No Bad News (1978) HD www.youtube.com

And now, this is your open thread! Enjoy!

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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