Friday, April 3, 2020

The Bo$ton Globe Sees a Bright Horizon

"Parents advocate for furloughed teachers; Bright Horizons executives take pay cuts" by Stephanie Ebbert Globe Staff, April 2, 2020

After their children’s preschool was closed to the threat of coronavirus, a group of Boston mothers began doing what mothers do: volunteering to help the teachers. One proposed launching a GoFundMe page to raise money for the staff whose already meager salaries — $18 or $20 an hour — would be cut off by furloughs. 

That's a meager $alary?

The Globe obviously occupies a different $trata than do I.

Then one of them challenged the premise: Why did this job, too, fall to working mothers? Why not push the school to take care of its teachers?

Their school, after all, is not funded by taxpayers or charitable donations. It’s run by Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc., a for-profit, publicly traded corporation founded in part by Bain Capital. Bright Horizons CEO Stephen H. Kramer received $3.4 million in compensation in 2018 — or 141 times the median employee pay, according to the company’s 2019 proxy statement, posted on its website. The compensation for its top executives and its board of directors alone topped $10 million in 2018, according to the proxy statement.

Yeah, that's the ba$is and foundation we want for education, corporate for profits.

Katie Mayshak, the mother who first raised concerns, encouraged other parents to push back against Bright Horizons — a global employer that often cites its socially minded business practices. In a securities filing amid the coronavirus crisis last month, Bright Horizons reassured investors that it has a strong balance sheet, with $100 million in cash.

Yes, the elites will take care of us all, $ure.

“Companies with significant cash reserves, with a history and track record of executive compensation in the tens of millions of dollars, have a responsibility to their employees — who are both their most valuable and their most vulnerable assets,” Mayshak said.

Another Bright Horizons mother agreed, saying the highly compensated executives should make some sacrifices in solidarity with their lowest-paid workers.

“They should share the love — especially at a time like this,” said Rebecca Gillani, a Boston neurologist, and then a surprising thing happened: They did.....

A round of applau$e, 'eh?

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Related:

Boston enlists school cafeteria in fight against coronavirus

What parent is going to want their kid eating in that lunchroom in the fall, and who is going to want to clean it (what, no mask?)? 

That right there is a sure sign that schools are finished. 

So what is going to be done with them?

With a little border fencing and barbed wire, they can be repurposed as concentration camps!

(L-R) Sergeant Tegan Brown, her sister Sergeant Coral Brown, Specialist Brandon Bessette, and Private Cesar Alvarez of the Rhode Island Army National Guard dressed in personal protection equipment.
(L-R) Sergeant Tegan Brown, her sister Sergeant Coral Brown, Specialist Brandon Bessette, and Private Cesar Alvarez of the Rhode Island Army National Guard dressed in personal protection equipment. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe) 

No social distancing?

Must be a drill.

The four soldiers fully suited up.
The four soldiers fully suited up. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe)

All dressed up for testing, huh?

Also see:

“I’m always in the hospital," says 21-year-old Fiona Howard. “When I get a cold or a virus, it slows my digestive system down. My body doesn’t have the reserve to get me back on track. So when normal people get a cold, they are sick for a few days and then they rebound. In January, I got a little virus and ended up in the ICU.”

Has she been tested?

"I called Peter Jillson, the CEO at Silo, and suggested he could be making a ton of money right now if he and his co-workers weren’t so altruistic. He chuckled and said business is business but as a human being, as a Vermonter, he and everybody he works with doesn’t look at this as an opportunity to cash in......"

You will have to head for the mountains because they already closed the beaches:

"Parking lots at state beaches are closing to reduce further spread of the coronavirus" by Emily Sweeney Globe Staff, April 2, 2020

In an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, state officials are closing all coastal beach parking lots; however, the beaches will stay open as long as people stay a safe distance away from each other and keep moving. That means you can walk, jog, or ride a bicycle at the beach without a problem, but forget about laying down on a towel, because sitting, sunbathing, and other stationary activities are prohibited.

Yeah, they are going to keep us hopping all summer long!

Governor Charlie Baker issued the emergency order Thursday to impose these restrictions and close all coastal beach parking areas managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation by noon Friday to prevent large groups of people from congregating by the ocean during the COVID-19 outbreak.

State officials said DCR will open some seasonal state parks early and expand access at other parks to provide other open space opportunities for people to enjoy as an alternative, starting Friday. DCR officials are also urging people to check the Massachusetts State Parks COVID-19 Updates webpage before visiting any state park property.

Oh, thanks so much for letting us exercise or rights on our land.

“State parks and associated parking areas remain open at this time; however, the public is asked to visit state parks and other open space properties that are located near their homes to ensure social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19,” officials said in a press release. “Additionally, DCR’s agency-owned ice rinks, visitor centers, campgrounds, playgrounds, fitness areas, athletic fields, athletic courts, golf courses, and bathroom facilities will remain closed until Monday, May 4, 2020. DCR will also be limiting the amount of parking spaces available at certain high-visitation state parks.”

You need not worry. I see you coming, I'm heading in the other direction.

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The pandemic poses significant access-to-justice obstacle, but fortunately a Cambridge technologist is developing solutions:

"Citing infected nurse, lawyers argue ICE detainess in Bristol County jail are in danger; Federal judge signals he’s inclined to begin releasing some prisoners" by Martin Finucane, Andrea Estes and John R. Ellement Globe Staff, April 2, 2020

A federal judge is expected to decide Friday whether to begin releasing more than 100 civil immigration detainees in Bristol County, who lawyers say are at “imminent risk” of contacting COVID-19 because of unsafe and overcrowded conditions at the jail.

As they insist that you remain under house arrest, they are letting the illegal immigrants -- with no jobs and no prospects -- out of jail. I hop none are gang members.

In an hourlong teleconference, US District Judge William G. Young said he was inclined to start freeing some detainees because medical evidence suggests that reducing the population would “improve the chances” that others at the jail would not contract the virus.

What if the "evidence" is wrong or a lie?

“I don’t think there’s any medical evidence that cuts the other way,” said Young, who divided the 147 detainees at the Bristol County House of Correction and the C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center into five levels of risk, ranging from those who have no criminal record or charges to those convicted of serious crimes.

If you are not looking for it, you won't see it.

Young suggested that detainees in the three lowest risk categories are the most likely to be eligible for release.

A nurse at the facility has tested positive for coronavirus, but Thomas Kanwit, an assistant US attorney who represents Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, said there’s no evidence the virus is present among the detainees, or will appear anytime soon. He said the nurse had only limited contact with detainees.

“I don’t agree it’s an absolute necessity that the virus will eventually be in the population and at that point it will be too late,” Kanwit said. “If the courts are convinced that the only solution that makes sense is some measure of reduction of the population, then I’m fighting an uphill battle.”

Aren't we all?

"I’m operating on the premise that the fewer the people in the facility, the more likely the people there will remain safe,” Young said.

Oren Sellstrom, arguing for the detainees, urged Young to move quickly to release as many of them as possible.

“The situation is escalating rapidly and has been since the start of this pandemic,” Sellstrom said.

Young, who urged the sides to try to negotiate an agreement, said anyone released would have to be symptom-free and be taken to a home or an apartment, where they would remain quarantined for 14 days, under house arrest.

Like the rest of us, and what guarantee do we have they will stay there?

Lawyers for Civil Rights filed the class-action lawsuit against Customs and Immigration Enforcement and Hodgson, whose department houses ICE detainees under contract with the federal government.

The lawyers said they are representing a group of 147 people. At least 111 of the immigrants have never been convicted of a violent crime, and at least 56 have never been convicted of anything at all. Of the 31 people with final orders of removal, only three have scheduled removal dates, the lawyers said.....

Being illegally in the country is apparently no longer a crime.

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Related:

"A Bridgewater State Hospital patient pleaded not guilty Thursday to allegedly distributing fentanyl and cocaine that led to another patient’s fatal overdose in September, the Plymouth district attorney’s office said in a statement. Kevin Malette, 35, of Brockton, was arraigned by teleconference at Brockton Superior Court on one count of manslaughter, possessing/delivering drugs or articles to prisoners in a correctional institute or jail, and other charges relating to the possession and distribution of narcotics, according to the statement. Malette was held on $250,000 cash bail. Hospital staff found the victim, Jeffrey Link, 51, of Fall River, unresponsive in his locked cell around 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 19 while they were conducting routine inmate checks, the district attorney’s office said. Staff members tried to perform life-saving measures on Link and he was taken to Morton Hospital in Taunton, where he was pronounced dead. Investigators discovered that Link had traded four bags containing more than $100 worth of food and coffee from the hospital’s canteen for narcotics, according to the statement. Investigators found the bags in the possession of Malette, who lived in another building at the hospital, the statement said."

Also see:

In Jamaica Plain, a new bank prompts a neighborhood to fight back

They won, and more help is on the way:

"Patriots team plane arrives with protective masks from China" by Victoria McGrane and John R. Ellement Globe Staff, April 2, 2020

The news, which broke early Thursday, resembled a plot pulled straight out of a summer blockbuster: The Kraft family had deployed a New England Patriots team plane to China to deliver about one million desperately needed N95 respirator masks to health care workers in Massachusetts.

I'm beginning to think this whole thing is a script.

Yet the story is as alarming as it is heartwarming, underscoring a harsh reality as the coronavirus pandemic spreads ever faster around the United States. Governor Charlie Baker and his counterparts throughout the country are forced to go to extraordinary lengths to secure life-saving medical equipment in the absence of a coordinated federal response.

Why is it such a pell-mell thing when other countries are doing better? 

We are/were America, no?

What happened to my country?

“The Krafts were terrific. They were a phone call away, and immediately went to work on the logistics associated with this, and did not stop until they could make it happen,” Baker said at his daily news conference Thursday. He praised both Jonathan and his father, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, along with Chinese officials and members of his administration focused on developing and implementing the state’s response to the pandemic. “This was a total team effort on every level.”

It's a ‘game changer,’ the mammoth machine that can sterilize up to 80,000 respirator masks a day is coming to the Boston area — a major breakthrough that could potentially recycle protective masks safely for all Massachusetts hospitals battling the coronavirus pandemic. Partners HealthCare has teamed up with Battelle, a nonprofit based in Columbus, Ohio, and the city of Somerville on the project, which addresses a crisis for health-care workers as they face widespread shortages of personal protective equipment. The machine is scheduled to be operational next week, and he brought it up from Florida.

The Kraft family also agreed to pay $2 million toward some of the cost of purchasing the masks, Baker told the Globe.

“This is not how it is supposed to work,” said Representative Katherine Clark of Melrose, a member of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team.....

Well, it kind of iOS and it kind of isn't, and she is still “very grateful” for the Kraft family’s generosity and help getting the critical gear, but....

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The Globe says that was a real championship move and they should be awarding the QB from Alabama as a reward.

"Pelosi announces new select committee to oversee coronavirus response" by Erica Werner and Paul Kane The Washington Post, April 2, 2020

WASHINGTON —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the creation of a new select committee Thursday with subpoena powers to scrutinize the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and its management of the new $2 trillion economic rescue law.

I saw this, and I know his hands are dirty as much as everyone else's, but the Democrats are disgusting. It's one thing after another with them in their single-minded obsession and hatred. You can read the day's posts and clearly see I'm not necessarily defending him; I just realize, as does he, that he is powerless to stop all this. He tried and failed. I don't really hold him blameworthy. The best he can do is warn us as he is held hostage in the White House.

‘‘Where there’s money there’s also frequently mischief,’’ Pelosi, a California Democrat, said as she announced creation of the special bipartisan panel she said would be focused on rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse.

Yeah, unless it's Clinton Foundation loot.

Pelosi’s announcement comes amid growing clashes between congressional Democrats and the Trump administration about oversight of the new rescue legislation and a $500 billion fund controlled by the Treasury Department. Trump has to appoint a new inspector general to oversee that fund, but has already signaled opposition to the scope of that person’s mandate.

The divisiveness acts as a diversion and sucks in the weak-minded.

Pelosi told reporters on a conference call that her new committee would be modeled after the World War II-era committee run by then-Senator Harry Truman, whose role in investigating the implementation of billions of dollars in defense contracts eventually led to his elevation to vice president.

I don't know if she sees that as a stepping stone, but why did she not investigate the missing  trillions under Rumsfeld back in 2001, a number that has grown to $20 billion by some accounts.

She said that this new committee needed to serve as an everyday watchdog of the more than $2 trillion already allocated to fight the virus and the virtual lockdown it has placed on the economy.

The House Select Committee on the Coronavirus, as Pelosi called it, will be chaired by Representative James Clyburn, of South Carolina, who is the No. 3 Democratic leader as majority whip. No further details were provided about how many lawmakers would serve on the panel.

I thought it was going to be bipartisan. That's what was reported above. Then she picks the most partisan guy around, the guy who delivered South Carolina to Joe.

The new $2 trillion coronavirus spending law, enacted on Friday, included several oversight mechanisms, but some Democrats are already expressing concern that President Trump could try and minimize their scope.

Republicans voiced immediate skepticism about Pelosi’s move to stand up a new select committee.

‘‘This seems really redundant,’’ House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, told reporters on a call following Pelosi’s announcement.

McCarthy also expressed concerns about how the committee would be created since the House is on a long recess and no one knows when they are coming back given health concerns from the coronavirus. Several lawmakers have tested positive.

She said the new committee will have the full investigative authorities of any congressional oversight committee. ‘‘It’s no use having a committee unless you have subpoena power,’’ Pelosi said.

She is making me ill.

The select committee would supplement oversight mechanisms that Democrats pushed to include in the $2 trillion rescue package signed into law on Friday. Some experts are already questioning how effective those mechanisms can be.

Democrats have already called on Trump to quickly nominate a new inspector general tasked with overseeing how Treasury makes loans and loan guarantees as part of the $500 billion program. This process could take months, though, as the person must be nominated by the White House and confirmed by the Senate, which is not in session because of coronavirus fears.

The needs are urgent, stay inside, the banks get their loot overnight, and now we are told the process could take months.

Trump has already suggested he may try to block one of the inspector general’s most important tools: Their ability to alert Congress if the executive branch is denying requests for information.

‘‘There’s a bunch of oversight provisions [in last week’s $2 trillion law], and they are not as muscular as one might want,’’ said Adam Levitin, a professor at Georgetown Law who played a key oversight role during the financial crisis bailout programs of 2008, and also consulted with Democrats on language in the new bill.

As Congress and the Trump administration negotiated the vast rescue bill, one comment from Trump unnerved Democrats perhaps more than any other, when he told reporters: ‘‘I’ll be the oversight.’’

‘‘Democrats were never going to let President Trump be the oversight,’’ said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat. ‘‘It’s why we put in multiple layers of robust oversight, accountability, and transparency, and we’re going to do everything we can to see that they are enforced.’’

PFFFFT!

I imagine they would have no problem were it Jared.

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The Democrats postponed the convention until August due to coronavirus fears, but a federal judge won’t delay Wisconsin primary.

I'm sure they will be looking into this:

"Hospitality industry: Trump’s company seeks financial help as coronavirus takes toll" by David Enrich, Ben Protess and Eric Lipton New York Times, April 2, 2020

NEW YORK — All over the country, businesses large and small are seeking breathing room from their lenders, landlords, and business partners as they face the financial fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

Sigh.

President Trump’s family company is among those looking for help.

With some of its golf courses and hotels closed amid the economic lockdown, the Trump Organization has been exploring whether it can delay payments on some of its loans and other financial obligations, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The New York Times.

People are still sneaking into the courses, and they are being cited and fined by police (employees of a McDonald’s snitched on them).

Representatives of Trump’s company have recently spoken with Deutsche Bank, the president’s largest creditor, about the possibility of postponing payments on at least some of its loans from the bank, and in Florida, the Trump Organization sought guidance last week from Palm Beach County about whether it expected the company to continue making monthly payments on county land that it leases for a 27-hole golf club.

The discussions with Deutsche Bank and Palm Beach County are preliminary, and it isn’t clear whether Trump’s company will be able to delay or reduce its payments, according to people briefed on the discussions.

Like the broader hospitality industry, the Trump Organization is poised to take a significant hit from the coronavirus crisis. In recent weeks, the company has temporarily closed its hotel overlooking the Las Vegas Strip, cut staff and services at its hotels in New York and Washington and largely shuttered its golf clubs in Florida and New Jersey. It also closed the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, which at this time of year would normally be serving as the “winter White House,” as Trump likes to call it.

You don't $ay?

Yet the company, which has a portfolio of more than a dozen golf clubs and luxury hotels in the United States and overseas, has opted to keep some of its properties open absent government orders to close, in contrast with the widespread shutdowns by some larger hotel chains.

Everyone gets their own private golf cart.

Other companies may be able to tap into a $500 billion rescue fund that will be administered by the Treasury Department, but the economic bailout package, which Trump signed into law last week, specifically barred the president and his family from accessing that money.

If you read the fine print, you will find that the "provision inserted by Democrats to block the families of government officials from receiving certain assistance might not exempt the companies owned by the family of Jared Kushner."

Late last month, Trump’s representatives contacted their relationship managers in Deutsche Bank’s New York private-banking division, which caters to wealthy customers. They wanted to discuss the possibility of delaying payments on some of the hundreds of millions of dollars of outstanding loans that the Trump Organization has from the bank, according to a person briefed on the talks.

The discussions are continuing.....

The eviction notice is in the mail.

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I guess it's true that disasters like the coronavirus bring out the best in people:

CONTAGION (2011)
CONTAGION (2011)

I thought it sucked because it stoked fears real and imagined.




Trump needs to issue a national stay-at-home order

It must be the End Times, because it is the Globe's resident Democrat egging him on because clueless governors won’t act.

Of course, he wants Trump to do it so it will hurt him at the polls come November, and do you know what the policy makers are flying blind and could be making wrong decisions?

Oh, no, there is a dark cloud ahead:

"Community newspapers were already in a tough spot. Coronavirus might destroy them; Ironically, the appetite for local news has become enormous but the pandemic is undermining those best positioned to provide it" by Adam Vaccaro Globe Staff, April 2, 2020

At a time when their roles as information conduits and community sounding boards are critical to fighting the pandemic, local newspapers are reeling from the economic shocks of the coronavirus, laying off or furloughing staff and cutting back coverage as their already meager base of advertising shrinks even further.

From the Boston Herald to the Martha’s Vineyard Times, local papers in New England and beyond are cutting costs, in concert with other industries that have been devastated overnight by rolling shutdowns.

I often wonder about the local paper, and what will happen is some conglomerate will buy it up and the concentration of owner$hip will increase even more with the narrowing of debate, if any. They will have us locked in our homes and will drop the propaganda sheet on your porch. We will be like Soviet citizens back in the day with Pravda.

“There is no doubt that the fallout will be broad and deep,” said Jim Friedlich, executive director of the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, a nonprofit that supports local news and owns The Philadelphia Inquirer. “There will simply be fewer local newspapers, regional magazines, and local news websites standing three months from now than three months ago.”

Over the last two decades, at least 2,100 community newspapers across the country have disappeared, researchers say, either closing up shop or merging with other outlets — a reflection of an industry that was slow to adapt to changing media habits and the shifting economics of the advertising industry as the Internet gained prominence. Many papers still standing have drastically reduced newsroom staffs and offer far less coverage than they used to.

Yeah, that rotten Internet that exposed all their distortions and lies.

On Thursday, at least five workers were laid off at the already much-reduced Boston Herald, including a Boston Bruins beat reporter who said she was told a half-hour before a scheduled interview, and a journalist at the Lowell Sun tweeted Thursday that the paper had laid off at least one staffer. Both papers are owned by the same hedge fund-backed company that is infamous in the news industry for its aggressive cost-cutting.

Yeah, when it happens to them they don't like it. $crew the rest of us.

“The last three years or so have just been death by a thousand cuts, but this is unprecedented,” said Jim Hand, a 35-year veteran of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle who was laid off in March. “I have no idea what the future holds, but I can’t imagine that there are going to be any jobs available. It’s not like other newspapers are doing great."

“It makes you wonder if this is it," he added.

Well, you can always become a citizen journalist and blog!

The impact goes beyond just job losses. Various studies have linked the demise of local newspapers to lower civic engagement, fewer people running for office, higher government spending, and more political polarization.

That's not it; it was the constant lies and distortions, with WMD in Iraq being the tipping point.

It also gives government officials fewer options to disseminate important messages, such as reinforcing the social distancing practices public health officials say are so important to containing the virus, and steering residents to nearby sources of help. While government websites, Facebook pages, and community groups may fill some of the void, they don’t offer as much space, context, and vetting as newspapers traditionally have.

Oh, the evil bastards won't have a propaganda megaphone, boo-hoo-hoo.

“If the capacity is not there to let officials explain the decisions that are being made and why they’re making the decisions they are making and what the impact will be, that is a real challenge,” said Geoff Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

Like we would believe them?

Moreover, a lack of news can also make it more difficult for officials to pick up on local problems uncovered by reporters — including, most pertinently, the spread of a viral disease. Epidemiologists have said the death of community newspapers could make it more difficult to track disease outbreaks.

One dark irony is that the pandemic is driving an enormous increase in public interest for news while undermining many of the local institutions best positioned to provide that information.

Why am I reading this fetid, rank-rot garbage?

That reminds me, the TV station ran an ad today for their news team that will see you through the crisis. I couldn't help wondering who does their make up and hair, and if those peop[le are practicing social distancing. It's not a far leap to believe all this is scripted, folks. Coronavirus is flu and we are in the middle of a live exercise.

The major culprit is the precipitous falloff in advertising revenue, always quick to dry up during any economic pullback. While newspaper advertising has been dropping regularly over time, the coronavirus laid immediate waste to ad sales, especially from bars, restaurants, and cultural institutions that are closed for the foreseeable future.

The Globe seems to have most of theirs back. I haven't noticed any booze ads, but other than that, there are several pull page and partial page ads.

“The restaurants, the bars, the small mom-and-pop stores are the lifeblood of our newspaper — they’re the people who advertise their dinner specials and shows, and they’re all out of business at the moment, or doing minimal business. None of them can afford to take out ads in our paper," said George Brennan, editor of the Martha’s Vineyard Times, which has laid off some workers and will not print the paper for the next several weeks as it shifts temporarily to an online-only model.

That won't be temporary, and I suppose the trees can breathe a sigh of relief.

The Times in January had just begun selling digital subscriptions for $40 a year, in line with a widespread but late-to-arrive industry trend to mitigate falling ad revenue with revenue directly from readers. Industry analysts say papers with robust digital subscription bases may fare better than papers that rely on advertisements.

Yet that business model can also make papers a target. The Boston Globe has faced some criticism for not relaxing its paywall at bostonglobe.com for its coronavirus coverage, as some of the nation’s other major daily newspaper have (Boston Globe Media Partners management has noted that Boston.com and the medical news site Stat, two other online outlets under the company’s umbrella, are publishing for free and the Globe has sold discounted subscriptions.), and the model works only in some places; lower-income communities have seen newspapers disappear more rapidly, while papers in higher-income communities have been more successful in shifting to subscriptions-based models, said Penny Abernathy, who leads research on news industry markets at the University of North Carolina.

Then I am performing a public service, am I not?

Even subscription gains can do only so much, said Michael Moses, publisher of several Western Massachusetts papers owned by the regional chain Newspapers of New England, including the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton. The group’s Massachusetts papers have seen digital subscriptions double in the last year, to about 4,000, but that hasn’t fully mitigated a collapse in advertising revenue; the Gazette recently laid off four journalists, Moses said.

And now, the $ilver lining:

Some news industry advocates have begun calling for a government bailout of the industry. Newspapers may also be eligible for the business loans included in the more-than $2 trillion stimulus and rescue package signed last week by President Trump.

Then we will have $tate media!

Furloughs await journalists at dozens of local newspapers owned by the giant national chain Gannett Co., including including The Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Cape Cod Times, and Worcester Telegram & Gazette. A memo to Gannett employees said those earning more than $38,000 a year would be furloughed for five business days for each of the next three months.

Am I $uppo$ed to feel $orry for them?

In some cases, these newsrooms don’t have much left to cut, having already seen staffs chopped and papers merged. The Gannett-owned Medford Transcript, for example, no longer has a dedicated staffer, said Dan Kennedy, a Northeastern University journalism professor who lives in that city.....

(Cue the somber cello music)

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Here is your ride out of town:

"The MBTA on Thursday announced temporary changes to bus service on some routes as the transit agency continues to adapt to service demands amid the coronavirus pandemic. Starting Monday, some routes will be expanded to prioritize service on routes servicing medical facilities and other routes will be eliminated, the T said in a statement. The T will run more buses on routes serving the Longwood medical area in Boston, Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford, and the Steward Satellite Emergency Department in Quincy, officials said. There will also be earlier service or additional trips added to some of the T’s busiest bus routes in an effort to support social distancing among passengers and employees, according to the MBTA. Buses will temporarily stop running some weekday express routes that are seeing few riders.The MBTA moved to a modified Saturday schedule across the system on March 17 in response to reduced ridership because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The changes will not affect trolleys, subways, or the commuter rail, officials said, and the T’s ferry service remains shut down."

Have you seen the video that showed an empty Green Line train rolling past an empty platform in mid-morning?

Twitter is blowing up:

"A 1-alarm fire that broke out inside a Dorchester apartment building Thursday morning caused an estimated $100,000 in damage and displaced one resident, the fire department said. Firefighters were called to an apartment building at 2 Kingbird Rd. around 8:30 a.m., the department said on Twitter. The fire started in a third-floor apartment in the four story building, but was contained to that unit, they said. Heavy smoke was seen on the building’s third and fourth floors when firefighters arrived. The resident who lived in the unit was in another part of the building when the fire started, said Brian Alkins, a department spokesman. No one was injured. The cause of the fire remains under investigation."

Time to say bye-bye Miss American Pie:

"The former wife of “American Pie” singer Don McLean plans to seek a hearing on allegations of abuse, her attorney said Thursday. The state supreme court on Thursday rejected her appeal of a judge’s decision preventing her from raising the issue of abuse when her protection order was extended by 10 years, until 2029, but the court said she has the right to request a hearing on whether she was abused. Patrisha McLean, identified in the ruling as “Pat Doe,” will request a hearing on the abuse question, said Chris MacLean, her attorney. Don McLean’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Don and Patrisha McLean divorced after a domestic incident in their Camden, Maine, home in 2016. McLean pleaded guilty to domestic violence assault, which was dismissed after he met the terms of a plea agreement. He also pleaded guilty to three other charges. Patrisha McLean is the founder of “Finding Our Voices: Breaking the Silence of Domestic Abuse.” The organization is putting up banners on buildings in the Camden area."

Maybe drinking whiskey and rye with them good ole boys wasn't the best idea.

Hard to see what's over the horizon for always in motion is the future, but.....

"COVID-19 Depression: Trump Needs a War; A dystopian nightmare for millions spreads across the land" by Kurt Nimmo, April 3, 2020

It is seriously astounding how fast the economy is crumbling. No infusion of funny money will save the American people from the historically severe depression now evolving.

State and federal governments are becoming more authoritarian in response to serious influenza (critical data on the transmission of the disease is absent, muddled, contradictory, and the corporate media feeds a frenzy of fear and paranoia based on conflicting, revised, and often speculative numbers). 

Critical supply lines foolishly based on the globalist profit-maximizing concept of “just in time” are now breaking down. How long do you suppose unemployed service industry and gig-economy workers will tolerate a serious shortage of food and other essentials before looting stores like the poor and hungry of Palermo? How long before armed citizens begin taking what they need and the military is called in to restore order and confiscate weapons like they did during Katrina? All hell will break loose from Baltimore to Seattle and the government may impose martial law (it can be argued we are already under a soft form of martial-medical law, half of us confined to our homes, the equivalent of house arrest, scared to death of a virus they now say can spread by merely opening of one’s mouth and speaking and thus allowing viral-laden breath to drift in the air). 

I don’t believe the state will be able to meet the needs of a third or more of an unemployed workforce—angry, desperate, and eventually violent as a dystopian nightmare spreads across the land. Congress and Trump’s onetime $1,200 check will certainly not satisfy the unemployed for long—in many cases, that’s not even a month’s rent. Millions of Americans stood by and watched as the Federal Reserve dished out a trillion and a half bucks to the banks and the financial elite. 

Mark Twain said something about history rhyming. It looks like a big fat sonnet is about to unfold and knock us flat. Historians argue whether FDR did or did not secretly agree with Churchill to get the US involved in the war in Europe and thus put an end to a stubborn depression. It did—and the military-industrial machine returned prosperity to depression and war-weary Americans while building a sprawling national security structure behind the scenes to face an exaggerated enemy, a critically flawed Soviet Union and the virus of Lenin’s version of communism. 

While we are obsessed with life, death, and the coronavirus, the Trump administration is moving to re-ignite the war in Iraq, a war that has as its final objective the destruction of Iran. 

From the corporate propaganda media:
President Donald Trump warned Wednesday that Iran was planning a “sneak attack on U.S. troops and/or assets in Iraq” and later cited unspecified intelligence he said indicated potential plots by local Tehran-aligned forces there. 
“Don’t do it,” the president warned at a press briefing that evening, threatening that his “response will be bigger” this time after U.S. airstrikes last month targeted Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah positions but also reportedly killed Iraqi troops, police officers and a civilian.
It was soon reported Trump ordered “Patriot surface-to-air missiles and a variant of the Navy’s SeaRAM and CIWS, or close-in weapon system, which fires 3,000 rounds a minute” be sent to Iraq to protect US bases.

Lost in the latest reportage is the fact the rockets fired at US soldiers were a direct response to Trump’s Mafia hit on Iran’s Qassem Soleimani.

A second establishment propaganda mill reported:
It was not immediately clear what intelligence Trump had obtained to prompt him to issue his tweet on Wednesday… [during a] subsequent press conference he indicated the US’s likely target would be Kata’ib Hezbollah, saying the US had “very good information on the group planning the attack”. He added: “It was led by Iran, not necessarily Iran, but by groups supported by Iran, but that to me is Iran.”
President Trump now has the distraction of a virus and the unfolding of a government-engineered depression to cover what the neocons plan to do in Iraq and Iran.

Considering Trump had zero reluctance to murder Soleimani in high-tech mob boss fashion, it is entirely possible he will go after Iran’s expeditionary Quds force commander Esmail Ghaani. He is scheduled for a meeting in Baghdad this week. “Ghaani is hoping to unite the Shia factions, and the visit is seen as a test of whether he can match the famed influence of Suleimani.”

Then again, taking into account Trump’s recent vacillations on Iran, he may decline to start another war in the Middle East. He believes the impending depression is “V-shaped” and America will bounce back after increasingly authoritarian COVID-19 measures are put into place and never rescinded.

If he believes there will be a bounce to prosperity, he is surely deluded. Before the middle of June, it is likely the US will be in a full-blown depression with hyperinflation, food shortages, mass protests, political violence, and the possibility of military rule as laid out in the state’s continuity of government plans for “national emergencies.”

Oliver North, now handsomely compensated as a patriot-celebrity, in the early 1980s under a compromised Reagan helped put into motion a plan to round-up and intern millions of “troublemakers,” most listed on the Main Core database established by FEMA under National Security Directive (NSD) 69 and National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 55. Main Core is now held by the NSA, FBI, CIA and more than likely the national security state’s corporate public-private partners (a classic example of Mussolini fascism-corporatism).

The severity of the depression and the reaction by the state will result in the final and complete destruction of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This will be of little concern to folks facing poverty, eviction, homelessness, and the disease, mental illness, alcohol, and drug addiction, and early death that invariably accompanies the fall of managed economies and the failure of government.

--MORE--"

He will be sorely missed come this July.

The Bo$ton Globe is Zooming In On You

On page C3, upper right-hand corner:

"A feature on Zoom secretly displayed data from people’s LinkedIn profiles" by Aaron Krolik and Natasha Singer New York Times, April 2, 2020

NEW YORK — For Americans sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic, the Zoom videoconferencing platform has become a lifeline, enabling millions of people to easily keep in touch with family members, friends, students, teachers and work colleagues, but what many people may not know is that, until Thursday, a data-mining feature on Zoom allowed some participants to surreptitiously access LinkedIn profile data about other users — without Zoom asking for their permission during the meeting or even notifying them that someone else was snooping on them.

It's almost as if they had the data-mining feature already installed and ready to go when this pre-planned crisis was foisted upon us.

The undisclosed data mining adds to growing concerns about Zoom’s business practices at a moment when public schools, health providers, employers, and fitness trainers are embracing the platform.

You will not have a choice.

An analysis by The New York Times found that when people signed in to a meeting, Zoom’s software sent their names and e-mail addresses to a system it used to match them with their LinkedIn profiles.

The data-mining feature was available to Zoom users who subscribed to a LinkedIn service for sales prospecting, called LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Once a Zoom user enabled the feature, they could quickly and covertly access LinkedIn profile data — like locations, employer names, and job titles — for people in their Zoom meetings by clicking on a LinkedIn icon next to their names.

The system did not simply automate the manual process of one user looking up the name of another participant on LinkedIn during a Zoom meeting. In tests conducted last week, The Times found that even when a reporter signed in to a Zoom meeting under pseudonyms — “Anonymous” and “I am not here” — the data-mining tool was able to instantly match him to his LinkedIn profile. In doing so, Zoom disclosed the reporter’s real name to another user, overriding his efforts to keep it private.

Zoom doxxed him?

Reporters also found that Zoom automatically sent participants’ personal information to its data-mining tool even when no one in a meeting had activated it. This week, for instance, as high school students in Colorado signed in to a mandatory video meeting for a class, Zoom readied the full names and e-mail addresses of at least six students — and their teacher — for possible use by its LinkedIn profile-matching tool, according to a Times analysis of the data traffic that Zoom sent to a student’s account.

The discoveries about Zoom’s data-mining feature echo what users have learned about the surveillance practices of other popular tech platforms over the last few years. The video-meeting platform that has offered a welcome window on American resiliency during the coronavirus — providing a virtual peek into colleagues’ living rooms, classmates’ kitchens, and friends’ birthday celebrations — can reveal more about its users than they may realize.

Quit stroking us while you f*** us.

“People don’t know this is happening and that’s just completely unfair and deceptive,” Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a nonprofit group in Boston, said of the data-mining feature. He added that storing the personal details of school children for nonschool purposes, without alerting them or obtaining a parent’s permission, was particularly troubling.

Early Thursday morning, after Times reporters contacted Zoom and LinkedIn with their findings on the profile-matching feature, the companies said they would disable the service.

In a statement, Zoom said it took users’ privacy “extremely seriously” and was “removing the LinkedIn Sales Navigator to disable the feature on our platform entirely.” In a related blog post, Eric S. Yuan, the chief executive of Zoom, wrote that the company had removed the data-mining feature “after identifying unnecessary data disclosure.” He also said that Zoom would freeze all new features for the next 90 days to concentrate on data security and privacy issues.

And if no one had found it?

In a separate statement, LinkedIn said it worked “to make it easy for members to understand their choices over what information they share” and would suspend the profile-matching feature on Zoom “while we investigate this further.”

The Times’s findings add to an avalanche of reports about privacy and security issues with Zoom, which has quickly emerged as the go-to business and social platform during the pandemic. Zoom’s cloud-meetings service is currently the top free app in the Apple App Store in 64 countries including the United States, France, and Russia, according to Sensor Tower, a mobile app research firm.

Hmmmmmmmmmm!

As the videoconferencing service’s popularity has surged, however, the company has scrambled to handle software design choices and security flaws that have made users vulnerable to harassment and privacy invasions.

In response to news reports on its problems, Zoom recently announced that it had stopped using software in its iPhone app that sent users’ data to Facebook, updated its privacy policy to clarify how it handles user data, and conceded that it had overstated the kind of encryption it used for video and phone meetings.

--more--"

Nevertheless, the Globe's resident skank is suggesting how to look good on Zoom, and one way is to launch a $12 million coronavirus relief food fund.

"Trump administration moves toward promoting broader use of face masks" by Zeke Miller and Mike Stobbe Associated Press, April 2, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is formalizing new guidance to recommend that many Americans wear face coverings when leaving home, in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

They haven't been, nor are they observing the social distance guidelines they have foisted on the rest of us, so WTF?

A person familiar with the White House coronavirus task force’s discussion said officials would suggest that non-medical masks, T-shirts, or bandannas be used to cover the nose and mouth when outside the home — for instance, at the grocery store or pharmacy.

Maybe we should all just wear black chadors.

Trump, who was tested again for COVID-19 on Thursday using a new rapid test, indicated Tuesday he would support such a recommendation, potentially even for all Americans regardless of where they live. “I would say do it, but use a scarf if you want, you know, rather than going out and getting a mask or whatever.”

“It’s not a bad idea, at least for a period of time,” he added.

The White House said Trump’s latest test returned a negative result in 15 minutes, and said Trump was “healthy and without symptoms.”

I bet he will have them soon! The tests are contaminated!

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention draft of the guidance suggested the covering recommendation apply to nearly all Americans, all over the country, according to a federal official who has seen the draft but was not authorized to discuss it, but on Wednesday, Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, urged his city’s 4 million residents to wear masks when they’re in public. On Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed suit in his city, the epicenter of the virus’ spread in the US.

Is the government going to provide them to everyone, or do we have to buy our own after being thrown out of work?

In response to recent studies, the CDC on Wednesday changed how it was defining the risk of infection for Americans. It essentially says anyone may be a considered a carrier, whether they have symptoms or not.

They are EVIL!

The virus spreads mostly through droplets from coughs or sneezes, though experts stress that the germ is still not fully understood.

HUH?

US officials have been telling people to stay at home as much as possible, and keep at least 6 feet away from others when they do go out. Other advice includes frequent hand washing and not touching your face, but until now federal officials have stopped short of telling people to cover their faces out in public.

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams has repeatedly admonished Americans not to wear face masks, saying they don’t prevent the people who wear them from catching the virus. He and other officials have stressed that surgical face masks and other protective medical equipment have been in short supply and must be prioritized for people such as health care workers.

The World Health Organization on Monday reiterated its advice that the general population doesn’t need to wear masks unless they’re sick. Since the epidemic began in China, the WHO has said masks are for the sick and people caring for them.....

Maybe you put one on anyway, huh?

--more--"

The self-appointed morality patrol is hiding in the bottom-righthand corner:

"Police reports, social media shamings: Coronavirus has turned some citizens into social distance vigilantes; Fed-up residents are exposing and reporting others who aren’t following health guidelines" by Matt Rocheleau Globe Staff, April 2, 2020

Pickup games of basketball. Co-workers enjoying lunch together. A child blowing bubbles while strolling down the sidewalk with family.

A few weeks ago these were all harmless, heartwarming activities, but in the age of coronavirus, they are drawing looks of disgust, shame on social media, and a flood of complaints to police and local authorities, who are fielding a surge of reports of supposed social distancing violations.

All good little East Germans, 'eh?

In fact, concern about the highly contagious virus has turned some area residents into social distance vigilantes — cranky and over the top in some cases, justifiably worried in others.

So when Cambridge resident Cynthia Haynes, a chef in her 50s whose outdoor exposure is limited now to solitary walks with her dog three times a day and occasional grocery store jaunts, worries about the well-being of residents most vulnerable to the virus, including her mother, who’s in her 80s, and sees people clustered in parks or in public, she takes action.

That is what we used to call a busybody

Cynthia Haynes, of Cambridge, looks for social distancing scofflaws while out on walks with her dog. She has posted comments on social media and filed complaints with police about people who aren't following health guidelines. Haynes worries about the well-being of residents most vulnerable to the virus, including her mother, who’s in her 80s.
Cynthia Haynes, of Cambridge, looks for social distancing scofflaws while out on walks with her dog. She has posted comments on social media and filed complaints with police about people who aren't following health guidelines. Haynes worries about the well-being of residents most vulnerable to the virus, including her mother, who’s in her 80s. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

What is the female equivalent of an Uncle Tom?

The first surveillance video she sent to police captured some teens playing basketball at Hoyt Field in Cambridge. A police officer, Haynes said, told her the basketball rims would soon be gone.

Another video captured adults at a park along Memorial Drive using an outdoor fitness station — without wiping down the equipment. That prompted her to ask the city to put fencing around the area.

Records show hundreds of annoyed citizens from all over the Boston area have logged similar complaints in recent weeks, with calls to municipal 311 services or in social media posts directed at police.

One complaint from Allston read: “Landscape people with leaf blowers during a crisis? Can we stop this air blown COVID-19 spread? Please send Cops.”

How Soviet of them!

Another featured a photo shot through a window screen in South Boston showing a half-dozen people chatting outside a home “No Social distancing?? What happened to 6 feet apart? I’m concerned for neighbors and passers-by. . . . One or two are coughing quite a bit too.”

Barbara Anthony, former Massachusetts undersecretary for consumer affairs, got into the mix recently, tweeting a photo of a gathering of people in Harvard Square on a sunny day, along with the tag #StayHome.

F*** off!

A former prosecutor, Anthony is no stranger to levying criticism and said extraordinary times call for people to speak out, loudly. “That lack of responsibility [by people who don’t social distance] doesn’t just impact a single individual, it impacts entire communities . . . it affects all of us,” she said. “I think we need stricter enforcement,” but if you thought the accused would go down without a fight, you’d be wrong. Some have fired back at their complainants.

One person in Roslindale wrote in to Boston’s 311 service: “News flash folks — a family playing baseball at Fallon field is not going [to] spread COVID-19. Mind your own business and [find] something else to complain about.”

The slanted Globe coverage picks one!

Still, law enforcement has taken notice of the illicit gatherings. After a resident tweeted at the City of Somerville about people “not practicing social distancing in the park,” the city quickly responded, and dispatched an officer to the scene.

I'm glad there is no crime in Somerville, but if there were and I were a criminal, I would call in a social distance complaint first before robbing someplace!

Spokesmen for area police agencies said people have generally been cooperative when officers have responded to calls and asked groups to disperse.

They don't want to get shot or beaten.

To be clear: It’s not a crime to be near someone else or gather in large groups in Massachusetts. Social distancing here is a health recommendation from state and local leaders, but other states have enacted strict rules and bulked up enforcement. Police have charged pastors for holding church services, broken up weddings and parties, and more, according to media reports. Lithuania’s capital city launched drones to patrol and prevent gatherings in public spaces.

Yeah, it could be much worse here -- which is little comfort.

In Massachusetts, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker have repeatedly urged residents to stay home, except in emergencies or to get groceries, medicine, and other essentials. They’ve encouraged going outside for exercise and mental well-being, but stressed that when residents leave their homes they should maintain proper distance from people they’re not living with.

So if they are living with you, it's okay even if they are sick? 

WTF?

This WHOLE THING STINKS!

Both leaders have so far resisted issuing orders that can actually be enforced. There are no fines or other penalties for being socially adjacent. That could change, officials have warned, particularly if there’s a lack of compliance.

“I know the mayor in New York is imposing a $500 fine if people don’t practice social distancing,” Walsh said Monday. “I hope we don’t have to do that.”

Related: "The Baker administration’s new order allows for police to penalize those who gather in groups of more than 10. A first offense would result in a warning, followed by a $300 fine for a second offense and a $500 fine or prison for additional offenses....."

Then the mayor of Bo$ton is either ignorant or a liar!

He also worried that the temptation to relax distancing discipline could be heightened with warmer weather. 

No more cookouts despite the heat.


In response to Walsh’s guidance, city workers have taken steps to curb recreational gatherings, including posting signs encouraging social distancing at parks and closing playground and tot lots. They’ve removed street hockey, soccer, and tennis court nets.

City workers zip-tied basketball nets, but some players persisted. The city then bolted pieces of plywood together to cover the rims, according to a parks spokesman.

It's a massive mind-f***, folks, as they rearrange society.

South Boston resident Taralynn Asack, 29, was propelled to document and point out violators on her social media accounts in part out of a sense of public service, in part out of boredom.

“I’ve taken it upon myself to be neighborhood watch,” said Asack, an on-air sports reporter for DraftKings. “I’ve been going a bit stir crazy without any news. So I’ve just been going around Boston exposing people,” but Asack said her posts trend toward the positive and supportive and are designed to raise awareness.

“Who wants to be screamed at right now?" she said. "There’s too much uncertainty to be mean to each other. . . . We need all the kindness we can get.”

Hypocritical bitch.

--more--"

Maybe Yvonne can join Cynthia for some patrols:

"Doctors and nurses on the front lines of the battle against the spread of the novel coronavirus have had issues finding enough protective gear to keep them safe as they tend to patients seeking treatment for COVID-19, but crews from Boston’s Public Works Department have apparently had no problems locating such items — because they’re being discarded on the city’s streets, according to officials. On Wednesday, the department tweeted a pair of images that showed workers out sweeping up rubber gloves and face masks that had been left on the soggy ground. The pictures were accompanied by a plea to stop littering the items....."

I wonder if they will yell at these girls:

Left to right, Fiona Howard and Alyssa Berkovitz rested during a walk with their service dogs, Elvis and Kernel.
Left to right, Fiona Howard and Alyssa Berkovitz rested during a walk with their service dogs, Elvis and Kernel. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)

Despite the coronavirus quarantine, hiking together with their service dogs is something best friends Fiona Howard (left) and Alyssa Berkovitz won't sacrifice.
Despite the coronavirus quarantine, hiking together with their service dogs is something best friends Fiona Howard (left) and Alyssa Berkovitz won't sacrifice. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)

They are "partners in quarantine" who are not practicing social distancing!

Jamaica Plain residents (from left) Gert Thorn, Kevin Moloney, Michael Epp, and and Ed Forte worked together to persuade Chase to alter the design of a new bank branch.
Jamaica Plain residents (from left) Gert Thorn, Kevin Moloney, Michael Epp, and and Ed Forte worked together to persuade Chase to alter the design of a new bank branch. (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)

C'mon, guys!

You are lucky you are not in an old folks home:

"At least 15 people at a Norwood nursing home have died of what staff members believe were coronavirus infections or related complications, the latest outbreak in an epidemic that state officials say has hit one-tenth of the state’s long-term-care facilities. The deaths at the Charlwell House Health & Rehabilitation Center occurred in the last 12 days, according to three employees with direct knowledge. Officials also reported deaths Thursday at nursing homes in Littleton, Worcester, and Greenfield, where one facility alone saw six fatalities, and, in newly disclosed statewide data, officials identified at least one case of coronavirus at 85 long-term care facilities across Massachusetts, including nursing homes, rest homes, and assisted living centers — or one of every 10 of the 700 facilities across the state....."

Staff members "believe" it was COVID-19 or RELATED COMPLICATIONS -- meaning, once again, anyone who dies, it was COVID.

That's how they are pimping the worst-case scenario, even as "Marylou Sudders, the state’s health and human services secretary, says, “Frankly, if we hadn’t put the restrictions [on visitors] in place that we had, the situation probably would be worse.”

If you guys want credit for averting catastrophe after all this is over, fine. Just call it off:

"Indian-ruled Kashmir, Hindu India’s only Muslim- dominated region, is divided between Pakistan and India but coveted by each in its entirety. Since 1989, an insurgency in Indian-held Kashmir has been demanding either outright independence for a united Kashmir or union with Muslim-majority Pakistan....."

It's like a Pearl in the Corona.