The Economist: Voter Suppression

Note on the new WordPress System: it lets you treat your blog like a real news outlet. In other words, you can get people to susbscribe, and limit what’s viewed by people who do not subscribe. btw, once you decide to use this system, there is no trial period. If you decide you don’t, after all, like to be like The New York Times, who actually charge for the privilege of reading an article, you have to trash the entire post, and begin again. As self is doing right now. Because the article on Voter Suppression is that important.

10 October 2020

Allegations of minority voter-suppression are hardly new. They are often . . . hard to prove. Yet Greg Abbott’s action in Texas stands out. On October 1st the Republican governor restricted the number of drop boxes for completed ballots to just one per county. For the 4.7m residents of Harris County, 70% of whom are non-white and liable to vote Democratic, that is a travesty.

Echoing President Donald Trump, Mr. Abbott said this was necessary to prevent voter fraud.

The Economist, 26 September 2020

Border Security

The Economist, 19 September 2020, p. 28:

Presidents worry about border security and deterring illegal immigration. But Miles Taylor, a lifelong Republican and former DHS Chief of Staff, says that Mr. Trump “deliberately told us, on multiple occasions, to implement policies that would maim, tear-gas, and injure innocent, unarmed civilians” trying to cross the border. Mr. Taylor told a podcast hosted by the Bulwark, a right-leaning website, that Mr. Trump wanted the border wall topped with spikes that would “go through their hands and their arms and pierce human flesh.”

Regarding Juan Sebastian Elcano, Basque

Rick Barot’s collection The Galleons is on the National Book Award’s longlist for poetry! Kudos, sir!

Self finds it interesting: she is writing about the galleons, too! Her book invents a character and puts him in the Philippines at the close of the 16th century.

Today, in her leisurely read of The Economist of 12 September 2020 (She’s fairly sure they skipped an issue; the 19 September issue should have arrived last week. What gives, USPS?), there is a letter about Magellan. Truly, self has entered a zone! A zone where everyone else is also thinking about Magellan! Galleons! The 16th century!

Letter to The Economist from Marques de Tamaron, Madrid:

Ferdinand Magellan was not “the first known circumnavigator (Obituary for Marvin Creamer, August 29th). He commanded the flotilla of five ships and 239 sailors that sailed in 1519 from Spain but he died in combat in the Philippines in 1521 before completing the round-the-world voyage. Juan Sebastian Elcano was then elected leader for the rest of it, reaching Spain in the only remaining ship, Victoria, in 1522. He and the emaciated survivors who dragged themselves ashore were indeed the first true circumnavigators.

Prompted by curiosity (mebbe she should have written about Elcano instead of making up a fictional character for her novel! Oh well, too late now!), self does some google research. Elcano died only four years after his return from that epic voyage. And there is a Spanish thinktank named after him that addresses such topics as climate change, cybersecurity, and international migration. Here is a link to their very interesting blog.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Economist, 25 July 2020

Modest Changes in Behavior leads to “huge rises in coronavirus infections”: The Geometry of the Pandemic, p. 19

This article focuses on a model by Rajiv Rimal of Johns Hopkins University. And it’s a big, fat chunk of the article (maybe a third), longer than she usually manages to quote. But she wanted to share it. Knowledge is power!

When “American states began easing lockdowns . . . their caseloads were three or more times higher than in Europe, in part, argues Jarbas Barbosa of the Pan-American Health Organization, because most states never had full lockdowns. Texas had 1,270 new cases on the day its governor said restaurants could reopen: 44 per million. In Georgia, the rate was 95 per million. Disney World reopened the day before Florida announced a record 15,000 new cases in a day. Just as incredibly, in two-thirds of states, infections were rising when governors started to ease lockdowns. By contrast, France, Spain and Italy had 13-17 new cases per million when they began to re-open their economies and numbers were falling fast.

“On April 12th … 95% of the population was staying at home (leaving the house only for essential visits), with 5% ignoring lockdown rules. Based on those assumptions, his model predicts that Americans would have had 559,400 cases on that day — an accurate assessment (it actually had 554,849). On July 14th, Mr. Rimal assumed that 80% of the population was staying at home, i.e., only a gradual change. On this basis, his model predicts the country would have 1.6m cases, again not far off the actual number and confirming the impact of modest rises in activity. If people really altered their behaviour, the number would rise even further to 5.6m cases if the stay-at-home share drops to 60% and to 9.5m if it falls to 20%. In that worst case, America’s death toll could top 400,000. Such is the dark logic of geometric growth.”

The Economist concludes that “to drive the level of infection down to perhaps a tenth of what it is now (closer to European or Asian levels) … seems to require full lockdowns.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

We Who Live in the Real World

from The Economist, 25 July 2020, p. 17:

  • New confirmed infections are surpassing their previous peaks in mid-April, sometimes exceeding 70,000 per day. The unemployment rate in June was 11.1%, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects it to decline only modestly to 8.4% in 2021. The “v-shaped recovery” that America had hoped for seems out of reach. About 18m are still unemployed, compared with 6m before the recession. Surveys from the Census Bureau show that 16% of adults who owe rent or mortgage payments missed them last month, and 11% report that they do not have enough to eat at least some of the time (compared with 8.8% in early March). Eviction notices, many filed by landlords who are also struggling, have begun to pile up.

Sentence of the Day: The Economist, 20 June 2020

When stimulus checks arrived in mid-April, Americans let rip on a broad range of goods. — Leader, p. 7

LOL  LOL  LOL

America is not dead — as long as Americans can shop, there is hope.

During the first week of lockdown, self was very anxious. She worried about stuff like — writing instruments.

Self still writes in longhand, and she needs a special kind of pen. After days of fruitless searching in groceries and supermarkets, frustrated at not being able to find the exact pen she was in the habit of using, she finally found them on Amazon. Sold in packs of 10. They took a bit longer than she expected to arrive, but they did arrive. So that got rid of one of her primal anxieties.

And she makes herself use Door Dash to support local mom-and-pop restaurants (one of self’s favorites, a small Thai restaurant on Woodside Road, closed two weeks after the lockdown, and she was so bereft).

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Legacy of George Floyd (The Economist, 13 June 2020)

George Floyd was not famous. He was killed not in the capital of the United States, but on a street corner in its 46th-largest city. Yet in death he has suddenly become the keystone of a movement that has seized all of America. Still more remarkably, he has inspired protests abroad, from Brazil to Indonesia, and France to Australia. His legacy is the rich promise of social reform. It is too precious to waste.

amreading The Economist, 2 May 2020

A multitude of drops

Private citizens are valiantly trying to compensate for federal failures

Before the pandemic, John-Paul Kaminski was a retired cross-country coach and middle-school technology teacher in Dobbs Ferry, a village about 15 miles (24 km) up the Hudson River from Manhattan, who liked to tinker with his 3D printer at home. He used it to make key chains, jewellery boxes, maze games and the occasional carved pumpkin. These days, he and other tech teachers he knows from university use their printers — 60 in all — to make head- and chinstraps that hold plastic face-shields in place. A college student nearby uses a laser cutter to stamp out the shields himself. Using materials bought out-of-pocket and through donations, they have given away more than 3,000 face shields to hospitals and nursing homes in four counties.

Across America, makers of all ages and skill levels have thrown themselves into helping to alleviate the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). Some, like Mr. Kaminski, are making masks, shields and gowns. Others are collaborating on designs, and making those designs public. Still others are trying to figure out how to get PPE to those who need it most as quickly as possible. These charitable tinkerers provide ground for both a deeply American kind of hope — strangers doing as much as they can, for the good of their neighbours — and despair, at the colossal federal failure that inspired them.

Happy Mother’s Day, and STAY SAFE dear blog readers!

 

Lexington in The Economist, 18 April 2020

Self will summarize the finer points:

  • The corona virus has killed 31,000 Americans (This number is significantly higher now)
  • Trump is “a human wedge.”
  • The 2000 presidential election was “a watershed moment … the last decided by persuadable voters.”
  • “Even before Trump made factionalism a governing strategy . . . ” (lol)
  • “Notwithstanding Mr. Trump’s effort to give it a Chinese face (he reverted this week to calling it ‘the Wuhan virus’) . . . ” (smh)
  • “Infectious diseases like density, which is one of the most reliable predictors of Democratic support there is . . . This makes Republicans more receptive than Democrats to Mr. Trump’s call for a reopening of the economy: an issue that — by pitting the certain tragedy of 17 million unemployed workers against the likelihood of additional infections — could scarcely be more polarising.”
  • The differences between the Democrat and Republican response to the pandemic could not be more stark: Democrats are demanding “better, cheaper health care” while “Republican states including Texas and Ohio have meanwhile used the lockdown to try to ban abortions . . . “

On the last point, a political party that cares only about banning abortions when a virus is killing 10x as many Americans as the number of fetuses aborted annually is surely loco.

The article mentions William Barr and describes him as a “cultural warrior,” self hopes in jest. And refers to Ron DeSantis of Florida as “a Trump proxy with ratings to match.”

Stay tuned.

 

 

« Older entries

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through fashion and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

lita doolan productions

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

Poems, stories, and reflections by Catherine Hamrick