Trump comes right out and says extending voting rights would hurt Republicans

‘President Trump on Monday morning became the latest in a procession of Republicans to say making it easier for more people to vote would hurt his party politically.

In an interview on “Fox & Friends,” Trump referenced proposals from Democrats in the coronavirus stimulus negotiations that would have vastly increased funding for absentee and vote-by-mail options. The final package included $400 million for the effort, which was far less than what Democrats had sought.

“The things they had in there were crazy,” Trump said. “They had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”…’

Via Washington Post

Social distancing may be a rare chance to get our sleep patterns closer to what nature intended

 

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Via The Conversation:

‘Besides connecting with those closest to us, many of us can sleep in and organize lives in ways that suit our biological ticker. Larks can go to bed earlier and owls can snooze in. Families can synchronize their meal and play routines in new ways, honoring the time of their internal clock (what chrono-biologists call the ‘circadian’ phase’). For most of our history we slept with one another when our bodies told us too, not by ourselves and only when work allowed. This may be an unprecedented opportunity to embrace a basic human need to switch off on a regular basis, helping human bodies fight the wars only those bodies know how….’

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A history of beards and pandemics, from the 1918 Spanish flu to coronavirus

Michael Waters writing in Vox:

‘In terms of bacterial shedding, “there is no difference in bearded and non-bearded men,” said Carrie Kovarik, an associate professor of dermatology and medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In her study of the phenomenon, Dr. Kovarik found that bearded people might actually carry fewer germs than their clean-shaven counterparts — perhaps because the “micro-trauma” that shaving inflicts on the skin opens up space for bacteria to congregate. But while Park’s lactic fearmongering might seem like the bygone panic of another era, the associations of beards with disease have proven strangely resilient….’

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Medical Expert Who Corrects Trump Is Now a Target of the Far Right

 Davey Alba and Sheera Frenkel writing in The New York Times:

‘At a White House briefing on the coronavirus on March 20, President Trump called the State Department the “Deep State Department.” Behind him, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, dropped his head and rubbed his forehead.

Some thought Dr. Fauci was slighting the president, leading to a vitriolic online reaction. On Twitter and Facebook, a post that falsely claimed he was part of a secret cabal who opposed Mr. Trump was soon shared thousands of times, reaching roughly 1.5 million people.

A week later, Dr. Fauci — the administration’s most outspoken advocate of emergency measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak — has become the target of an online conspiracy theory that he is mobilizing to undermine the president.

That fanciful claim has spread across social media, fanned by a right-wing chorus of Mr. Trump’s supporters, even as Dr. Fauci has won a public following for his willingness to contradict the president and correct falsehoods and overly rosy pronouncements about containing the virus.

An analysis by The New York Times found over 70 accounts on Twitter that have promoted the hashtag #FauciFraud, with some tweeting as frequently as 795 times a day. The anti-Fauci sentiment is being reinforced by posts from Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, a conservative group; Bill Mitchell, host of the far-right online talk show “YourVoice America”; and other outspoken Trump supporters such as Shiva Ayyadurai, who has falsely claimed to be the inventor of email….’

All I can say is that the contempt of the contemptible is a compliment. 

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R.I.P. Krzysztof Penderecki

Polish Composer With Cinematic Flair Dies at 86 – New York Times:

‘Mr. Penderecki was regarded as Poland’s pre-eminent composer for more than half a century, and in all those years he never seemed to sit still. Beginning in the 1960s with radical ideas that placed him firmly in the avant-garde, he went on to produce dozens of compositions including eight symphonies, four operas, a requiem and other choral works, and several concertos he cheerfully described as being almost impossible to play….’

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How Panic-Buying Revealed the Problem With the Modern World

Helen Lewis writing in The Atlantic:

‘As pictures of empty shelves dominated our social-media feeds here…, armchair critics denounced their fellow citizens as selfish and greedy. Stop hoarding! End the panic-buying!

Hang on, though. Were hordes of selfish [shoppers] really squirreling away 90 tins of tuna each? As the fog of panic dissipates, the answer is clear: No. Instead, the data show that small changes in the habits of a minority of shoppers prompted lurid headlines about empty shelves—which then made others, quite rationally, change their behavior. That has led to short-term supply issues. (Neither of the two stores closest to me… has any eggs in stock, for example.)

Any student of economics will tell you that modern supply chains rely on just-in-time ordering. In the case of … supermarkets, production schedules are tailored precisely to demand, so that unused stock does not sit in warehouses or go to waste. In the current crisis, [we have] not run out of essential goods such as toilet paper; the difficulty is getting them onto the shelves quickly enough….’