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Celerity's Journal
Celerity's Journal
April 10, 2020

Joy Division - Isolation

(perhaps in the running for the definitive coronaviral pandemic song)

"Isolation" is a 1980 song appearing on the post-punk band Joy Division's second album, Closer. The song is based upon an industrial beat by Stephen Morris, accompanied by a high-pitched keyboard line by Bernard Sumner. Midway through the song, a rushing drum and hi-hat motif come in, propelling the song toward its dramatic end in what resembles a compact disc skipping, followed by a sudden electronic crescendo. The song also appears on the Heart and Soul box set and on Permanent. A live version from the band's last concert appears on Still. The song is also used in the 2007 Joy Division biopic Control. This video has been put together using the limited live footage of the band, as well as elements from the documentary "Joy Division". An official video was never made, so I've put this version together. It is an unofficial video and all rights to material remain with the original filmmakers and the record company WMG.

Joy Division ‎– Closer
Factory ‎– FACT∙XXV, Factory ‎– FACT. 25
Vinyl, LP, Album, Rounded Corners
18 Jul 1980
Post-Punk, New Wave

The Closer cover picture is the Appiani Family Tomb in the Staglieno Cimitero Monumentale, Genoa, Italy

April 10, 2020

WaPo : Trump administration pushing to reopen much of the U.S. next month


The Trump administration is pushing to reopen much of the country next month, raising concerns among health experts and economists of a possible covid-19 resurgence if Americans return to their normal lives before the virus is truly stamped out. Behind closed doors, President Trump — concerned with the sagging economy — has sought a strategy for resuming business activity by May 1, according to people familiar with the discussions.

In phone calls with outside advisers, Trump has even floated trying to reopen much of the country before the end of this month, when the current federal recommendations to avoid social gatherings and work from home expire, the people said. Trump regularly looks at unemployment and stock market numbers, complaining that they are hurting his presidency and reelection prospects, the people said. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal discussions.

Trump said at his daily briefing Thursday that the United States was at the “top of the hill” and added, “Hopefully, we’re going to be opening up — you could call it opening — very, very, very, very soon, I hope.” Multiple Cabinet secretaries in recent days have publicly expressed hope that the various government orders directing residents to stay at home and forcing nonessential businesses to close could at least be partially eased next month.

Asked Thursday during an appearance on CNBC whether he thought it was possible that the country could be open for business next month, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said, “I do.” A day earlier, Attorney General William P. Barr had called some of the stay-at-home orders and other restrictions “draconian” and suggested that they needed to be reevaluated next month. “When this period of time, at the end of April, expires, I think we have to allow people to adapt more than we have, and not just tell people to go home and hide under their bed, but allow them to use other ways — social distancing and other means — to protect themselves,” Barr said on Fox News.

April 10, 2020

NYT : CALIFORNIA TODAY - A Call With Katie Porter: 'This Is Not a Partisan Crisis'

(Don’t already get California Today by email? Sign up here.)

The representative from Orange County talks about how the pandemic hit California early. Also: A remembrance of a “cowboy.”


Representative Katie Porter at home with her son Paul and daughter Betsy in Irvine in March 2019.Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Good morning.

On Tuesday evening, Gov. Gavin Newsom told MSNBC that the state would be able to buy 200 million desperately needed masks per month, under deals with a variety of sources. “Enough of the small ball,” he said of efforts to bulk up the state’s supply of personal protective equipment amid a global shortage. Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles also announced an order that customers at grocery stores and other essential businesses wear face coverings. The directive, which takes effect on Friday, comes as workers at those businesses express mounting concerns over a lack of protection.

A conversation with Representative Katie Porter

Last month, Representative Katie Porter, the freshman Democrat elected as part of Orange County’s “blue wave” in 2018, extracted a promise from the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make coronavirus testing free for all Americans.

Video of the exchange drew headlines and praise from progressives — and, as The California Sunday Magazine reported in a profile of her, it wasn’t the first time that’s happened. Still, when I talked to her by phone recently, she was, like millions of other Californians, figuring out how to work from home while also caring for her children. She is a single parent to three.

“What I’ve learned is I don’t have any highlighters, I don’t have any Post-it notes, I don’t have any legal pads,” Ms. Porter told me. “I have a lot of markers.” At one point during our call, she paused to talk to her daughter, who she said had donned a homemade unicorn mask. I asked her about the federal government’s response to the pandemic and the upcoming general election to keep her seat.

Here’s our conversation, edited and condensed:


April 10, 2020

Chamath Palihapitiya: US shouldn't bail out hedge funds, billionaires during coronavirus pandemic

(I have to laugh at how gobsmacked the newsbot on CNBC is when presented with clear, concise rebuttals of his talking points)


Chamath Palihapitiya: US shouldn’t bail out hedge funds, billionaires during coronavirus pandemic

(video in the tweet above and at the link below)

Chamath Palihapitiya, founder and CEO of investment firm Social Capital, said the U.S. shouldn’t be bailing out billionaires and hedge funds during the coronavirus pandemic. Palihapitiya added that he was concerned that the Federal Reserve’s plans to support to economy during the COVID-19 crisis are going to have consequences, and it would have been better to just give more money to Americans.


Chamath Palihapitiya, founder and CEO of investment firm Social Capital, told CNBC on Thursday that the U.S. shouldn’t be bailing out billionaires and hedge funds during the coronavirus pandemic. “On Main Street today, people are getting wiped out. Right now, rich CEOs are not, boards that have horrible governance are not. People are,” Palihapitiya, an early Facebook executive, said on CNBC’s “Fast Money Halftime Report.” “What we’ve done is disproportionately prop up poor-performing CEOs and boards, and you have to wash these people out.”

“Just to be clear on who we are talking about. We’re talking about a hedge fund that serves a bunch of billionaire family offices, who cares? They don’t get the summer in the Hamptons?” he said. “These are the people that purport to be the most sophisticated investors in the world.” Palihapitiya also said he was concerned that the Federal Reserve’s plans to support to economy during the COVID-19 crisis are going to have consequences.

The Fed earlier in the day announced a slew of new moves aimed at getting another $2.3 trillion of financing into businesses and governments, including its Main Street business lending program and market interventions. The central bank said its loans will be geared toward businesses with up to 10,000 employees and less than $2.5 billion in revenues for 2019. Programs would total up to $2.3 trillion and include the Payroll Protection Program and other measures aimed at getting money to small businesses and bolstering municipal finances with a $500 billion lending program, it added.

But Palihapitiya said it would have been better to just give more money to Americans. “I’m not disagreeing with what the Fed has to do. What I’m saying is it’s creating a land mine, and it’s creating a bill that will have to come due,” he said. “It would be better for the Fed to have given half a million to every man, woman and child in the United States,” he added.


Chamath Palihapitiya is a billionaire himself, btw.



Immigration reform and policy advocacy

Palihapitiya was listed as one of the "Founders" of the lobbying group FWD.us. The group launched on April 11, 2013, and its goals include immigration reform, improving education, and enabling technological innovation, all in a United States context. An article in The New Republic stated that Palihapitiya received a weekly report about FWD.us and also quoted him as saying, in response to controversy around the FWD.us political lobbying strategy: "The folks that are actually people that run that day to day are sophisticated and understand the nuances of how to affect it... It's a really gnarly, gnarly thing having to deal with Washington. And to be honest with you, my perspective was, it's a really good investment because it's a good way to pay it forward, and I'm really glad there are other people other than me who are dealing with it who have the patience and resolve to figure it out."


Criticism of Facebook and social media

In November 2017, Palihapitiya revealed that, for ethical reasons, he regrets having helped Facebook to become the largest social media platform. He said, "[t]he short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works: no civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth and it's not an American problem. This is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other. I can't control them. I can control my decision, which is that I don't use that shit. I can control my kids' decisions, which is that they're not allowed to use that shit". Following criticism from Facebook for his remarks, Palihapitiya subsequently clarified, "I genuinely believe that Facebook is a force for good in the world, so I'd like to expand on my comments...My comments were meant to start an important conversation, not to criticize one company — particularly one I love. In 2017, many of us have grappled with the unintended consequences of the products we've built. Social media platforms in particular have been used and abused in ways that we, their architects, never imagined. Much blame has been thrown and guilt felt, but the important thing is what we as an industry do now to ensure that our impact on society continues to be a positive one.

April 9, 2020

Boris Johnson out of intensive care but remains in hospital battling coronavirus


Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care, where he has been battling coronavirus since Monday evening.

The Prime Minister now remains on a general ward at St Thomas’ Hospital, where he will ‘receive close monitoring’, a Downing Street spokesperson said.

They added: ‘He is in extremely good spirits.’ During the daily press conference today, he was described as being in ‘high spirits’ by First Secretary of State Dominic Raab. He said that the PM had been continuing with ‘standard oxygen treatment’ during his time in the ICU.

Johnson first announced he had tested positive for coronavirus March 27, but continued working in isolation and leading the government. He was then admitted to hospital on Sunday evening after showing symptoms of the virus still after 10 days.


April 9, 2020

Capitalism's triple crisis

After the 2008 financial crisis, we learned the hard way what happens when governments flood the economy with unconditional liquidity, rather than laying the foundation for a sustainable and inclusive recovery.


Capitalism is facing at least three major crises. A pandemic-induced health crisis has rapidly ignited an economic crisis with yet unknown consequences for financial stability, and all of this is playing out against the backdrop of a climate crisis that cannot be addressed by ‘business as usual’. Until just two months ago, the news media were full of frightening images of overwhelmed firefighters, not overwhelmed health-care providers.

This triple crisis has revealed several problems with how we do capitalism, all of which must be solved at the same time that we address the immediate health emergency. Otherwise, we will simply be solving problems in one place while creating new ones elsewhere. That is what happened with the 2008 financial crisis. Policy-makers flooded the world with liquidity without directing it toward good investment opportunities. As a result, the money ended up back in a financial sector that was (and remains) unfit for purpose

The Covid-19 crisis is exposing still more flaws in our economic structures, not least the increasing precarity of work, owing to the rise of the gig economy and a decades-long deterioration of workers’ bargaining power. Telecommuting simply is not an option for most workers and, although governments are extending some assistance to workers with regular contracts, the self-employed may find themselves left high and dry. Worse, governments are now extending loans to businesses at a time when private debt is already historically high. In the United States, total household debt just before the current crisis was $14.15 trillion, which is $1.5 trillion higher than it was in 2008 (in nominal terms). And, lest we forget, it was high private debt that caused the global financial crisis.

Austerity pursued

Unfortunately, over the past decade, many countries have pursued austerity, as if public debt were the problem. The result has been to erode the very public-sector institutions that we need to overcome crises like the coronavirus pandemic. Since 2015, the United Kingdom has cut public-health budgets by £1 billion, increasing the burden on doctors in training (many of whom have left the National Health Service altogether), and reducing the long-term investments needed to ensure that patients are treated in safe, up-to-date, fully staffed facilities. And in the US—which has never had a properly funded public-health system—the Trump administration has been persistently trying to cut funding and capacity for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among other critical institutions.


April 9, 2020

Oh right, that asshole (Today's Big Stuff x Adam Parkhomenko)

Bill Barr, who has spent the last few weeks vacationing in Trump’s small intestine, emerged to do a Fox interview and remind everyone what a huge piece of shit he is.

First, he attacked Democrats for criticizing Trump, who he said has been very “statesmanlike” during this nightmare. Then, he decided to go ahead and made a decision on the bullshit investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation.

We recommend reading Aaron Blake with WaPo on this because he really nailed it. But no, AG Kissass, this was not a travesty. Trump’s campaign and family were meeting with representatives of a foreign government while they were attacking us. What do you call the people who know that but have lied and covered it up? Oh yeah, dirty fucking traitors. More: Washington Post

April 9, 2020

Trump Will Use Coronavirus To Steal The 2020 Election

It’s the nightmare scenario we’ve all been thinking about since November 9, 2016.


WASHINGTON, DC -- One of the ongoing issues with liberal activists, not to mention Democrats in general, is that we tend to be a little slow-on-the-uptake when it comes to either Republican shenanigans, or liberal causes that deserve more attention. Specifically, we too often jump on board with an event, court decision, or scandal after it’s too late to reverse the course of whatever’s happening. I’m not a futurist, but this last-minute reaction time on the left is one reason why I sometimes warn about possible catastrophes perhaps a year or more ahead of schedule. I’m not always right, but I figure if we have a road map -- some sort of heads up for what’s next, it’s easier to be prepared when some of these eventualities hit the fan. Donald Trump is a crook, and as we’ve seen with performance-enhancing-drugs in sports, the crooks are always one step ahead of the regulators. We need to reverse that, especially given the political stakes of the November election.

Specifically, one of the most terrifying things I’m seeing on the horizon is the possibility that Trump will somehow exploit either the courts or the coronavirus or both to disrupt the November 3 election. It’s the nightmare scenario we’ve all been thinking about since November 9, 2016, and now, there are circumstances that might allow it to come true. It’s important to note here that the president doesn’t have the authority to simply postpone or cancel an election. But he can certainly disrupt an election. Hell, Trump disrupted the 2016 election and he wasn’t even president at the time. Instead, it was his boss, Putin, who handled that as Trump’s proxy. This year, however, he’s got Putin, plus his disinformation “Death Star” accosting Facebook users with agitprop, and now he’s also got the coronavirus and our collective urge to protect ourselves from getting it. Trump also has the federal courts, which have been stacked with hundreds of Trump loyalists, thanks in part to Moscow Mitch.

There’s no way of knowing exactly how he’ll do it, but it could involve all of those things as well as a propaganda campaign that’s already underway by the White House and the conservative entertainment complex to drive down voter turnout by demonizing mail-in balloting. For the past several episodes of the Trump Show, he’s been falsely suggesting that mail-in ballots are corrupt, and the only method of voting he’ll accept as valid is Voter ID supported in-person voting. Ironically, the most notorious example of absentee ballot “corruption” was by North Carolina Republicans who criminally tampered with mail-in voting to elevate Mark Harris in the 9th congressional district race back in 2018. It’s also worth noting here that voter fraud is statistically nonexistent here, leaving Voter ID as nothing more than another way for Republicans to suppress turnout. And suppressed turnout tends to benefit the GOP.

Nevertheless, Trump’s talent for repeating the same bullshit on endless loop will help to inject his anti-mail-in nonsense into the softened skulls of at least 40 percent of the voting population, perhaps more, given how Voter ID has also been confoundingly popular among some Democrats. Meanwhile, knowing that coronavirus cases could surge again when the weather turns cold, say mid-October in many parts of the nation, Democrats and secretaries of state will be planning ahead with alternative methods of voting on and before November 3, including mail-in ballots. It’s safe to assume that many of the states run by pro-Trump governors or states controlled by pro-Trump courts will repeat what happened with the state supreme court in Wisconsin, refusing to accommodate alternative balloting and forcing people to the polls, despite the harrowing circumstances. In other words, many of the traditionally blue states will roll out alternative voting systems, while Trump states will insist on in-person voting, even if the virus returns for another round.

April 8, 2020

The World's Nations Ranked by COVID-19 Deaths per 1 million/population

I did not list all (I do list a lot!), as at under 0.2 per million it seems pointless due to lack of data, testing, etc etc.


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Gender: Female
Hometown: London
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Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2018, 07:25 PM
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