It’s been a very busy week, requiring a long-form version of the roundup.
Stocks dipped again on Friday after one the strongest, fastest rallies in history. That rally has been fueled by the Fed’s decision to nationalize the equity markets in the same way be nationalized the mortgage industry over a decade ago. The Fed is now buying corporate bonds and stocks to prop up prices. The socialization of the stock market has fed a giant feeding frenzy of corporate debt and a bubble in stock prices, promising to worsen the reckoning on the horizon.
The Administration insists on hiding the identities of almost 75% of the recipients of PPP aid.
India’s fascist leader is trying to stir up a military conflict with China in the remote Galwan Valley.
AG Bill Barr claimed on Friday that the powerful Assistant AG for Manhattan, Geoffrey Berman, had stepped down. Berman, whose office is leading numerous investigations into Trump family members and friends, then clarified that he had not resigned, and would not be leaving until the Senate approved a replacement. Rep. Nadler is inviting Berman to testify to Congress next week.
Houston metro-area hospitals are running at 90% of their normal ICU capacity thanks to a recent surge of C19 cases. However, a fun fact helps explain this problem. The hospital system operates at roughly 80% of its normal capacity in the best of times. One of the reasons C19 has been so deadly in the US compared to places like Germany, is that we’ll overwhelm our capacity to cope with it with a minor surge in cases.
That minor surge is already building, as C19 cases in Texas metro areas moved into exponential growth last week and initial hospitalizations rose to record levels. New cases in Houston are up 61%. The rise in hospitalizations that lags behind the infection rate is pretty well built-in at this point, and looks certain to push Texas cities to use their surge capacity for ICUs. If case growth isn’t brought under control within about ten days, Texas will start to experience fatality rates similar to Italy and New York City back in March and April.
Texas’ state leaders continue to issue confusing, contradictory, and occasionally downright stupid C19 instructions as they scramble to avoid alienating the idiots in their political base.
As the StormTrumpers gather for their trailer park Nuremberg in Tulsa, the county hit a record for daily new C19 cases.
Oregon is landing on the list of states where C19 cases are growing fastest thanks in large part to the antics of one rural Pentecostal church. More than 200 new cases of C19 have been linked to services at Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church in Union County.
The NCAA is still planning to go ahead with college football this fall, with only modest accommodations for the pandemic.
As many schools welcome kids back for team workouts, the stupidity of this plan is becoming apparent. 13 students on the University of Texas football team have tested positive. 23 at Clemson. Students in the football program at UCLA, recognizing the nature of the business, are demanding a third-party health official be appointed to supervise football activities and protect players.
Players are right to be concerned. Though younger people are less likely to die from C19, researchers are documenting more and more cases of long-term, chronic illness among young patients with mild symptoms. Lung scarring, immune disorders, strokes and neurological impairment seem to be part of a complex of long-term impacts emerging from even milder cases. A disturbing number patients simply aren’t “recovering” by the conventional definition, suggesting that C19 may be a chronic, persistent condition more like Lyme Disease or herpes than the flu.
“Protestors” in San Francisco, suffering from an absence of Confederate monuments, tore down statues of Ulysses S. Grant and tagged a bust of Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote. Cities like Portland and San Francisco should solve this problem by setting up a statue of Stonewall Jackson on an easy-topple hinge, so the kids can take selfies of themselves destroying something we don’t care about. Should probably put it next to the skate park.
Catherine Damen-Young and Julie Maxey host a podcast called The Counselors. They’re friends from my hometown who grew up in the same evangelical church where I was raised. On this week’s episode they shared their stories of coming out to family and friends. If I was any prouder of them, my heart would pop like a balloon. Happy Pride Month.