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stopdiggin

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Member since: Fri Jul 6, 2018, 07:29 PM
Number of posts: 3,434

Journal Archives

2 Republican Senators Post Photos of Elijah Cummings in John Lewis Tributes

ouch! That's gotta' sting a little bit!
Predicting staffing changes in certain offices.

Except the photo Mr. Rubio posted was not of Mr. Lewis, but of another congressman: Representative Elijah E. Cummings, who died in October. Mr. Rubio also used the photo of himself with Mr. Cummings as his Twitter profile picture for a brief time.


https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/18/us/marco-rubio-elijah-cummings-john-lewis.html

Woman's Death in California Upends Virus Timeline in U.S.

Resets the timeline in the U.S. -- Also reemphasizes "community" contact vector.

NYTimes (no paywall)
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/us/coronavirus-live-coverage.html

- snip -- The revelation that a coronavirus death took place in the United States in early February shifts the understanding of its arrival in this country and changes the picture of what the nation was contending with by the time government officials began taking action.
-- The first Covid-19 death in the United States had previously been thought to be on Feb. 26 in Seattle, one of the worst-hit cities in the country.
-- Officials in Santa Clara County said Wednesday that a newly discovered coronavirus-linked death Feb. 6, the earliest known death in the United States caused by the virus, was one of more than a dozen deaths in the county that the medical examiner had suspicions about and ordered investigated.

- snip -- The Feb. 6 death was a 57-year-old woman who died at her home in Silicon Valley, officials said Wednesday.
-- The announcement has reset the timeline of the spread of infection in the United States.
-- Officials have said that the death was believed to have been the result of community spread, not travel to another country.

Antibody Test, Seen as Key to Reopening Country, Does Not Yet Deliver

Good (layman accesible/understandable) info at NYTimes. (not behind a paywall for Covid reporting) Wish it were better news, but .. Calling it a hodge-podge is probably being kind.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/19/us/coronavirus-antibody-tests.html?

-snip -- In recent weeks, the United States has seen the first rollout of blood tests for coronavirus antibodies, widely heralded as crucial tools to assess the reach of the pandemic in the United States, restart the economy and reintegrate society. But for all their promise, the tests — intended to signal whether people may have built immunity to the virus — are already raising alarms.
- snip -- In Laredo, officials discovered the tests they received were woefully inadequate. The local health department found them to have a reliability of about 20 percent, far from the 93 to 97 percent the company had claimed. A police investigation led to a federal seizure of the tests.
- snip -- More than 90 companies have jumped into the market since the F.D.A. eased its rules and allowed antibody tests to be sold without formal federal review or approval. -snip - Their products vary. Some test only for a transient antibody that spikes while the body is in the throes of an active infection. An antibody that peaks about four weeks after infection and typically marks longer-term immunity is a separate target. There are tests that look for both antibodies; others also look for a third involved in respiratory infections.
- snip -- Rapid tests are by far the easiest to administer. But they are also the most unreliable — so much so that the World Health Organization recommends against their use. Most are manufactured in China. Reports of countries that quickly bought millions have just as swiftly been followed by accounts of poor performance. For example, Britain recently said the millions of rapid tests it had ordered from China were not sensitive enough to detect antibodies except in people who were severely ill. In Spain, the testing push turned into a fiasco last month after the initial batch of kits it received had an accuracy of 30 percent, rather than the advertised 80 percent.
- snip -- In an effort to speed up access, the F.D.A. apparently did not fully consider how these tests would be administered. The agency released a guidance document saying that antibody tests could be performed at “point-of-care” settings, indicating that doctors, nurses and others could give them to patients in their offices. But agency officials also acknowledged that under federal law, if a test has not been authorized by the agency, it must be conducted in so-called high-complexity laboratories, like some large commercial facilities or public health labs. The officials decline to provide additional clarification.

- snip -- Less than 5 percent of the U.S. population may be infected, and even in hot zones like New York or New Orleans, the prevalence may not be higher than 10 to 15 percent, according to Dr. Osterholm. In China, early screening in hard-hit Wuhan indicates that only about 3 percent of the population has antibodies against the new coronavirus.
-- When the proportion of people exposed is that low, the tests’ false positive rate — signaling antibodies where there are none — can limit the tests’ utility.
-- Even Cellex’s F.D.A.-authorized test has a false positive rate of about 5 percent. That is still a significant margin of error: In a community where 5 percent of people have had the virus, Dr. Osterholm said, there would be as many false positives as true ones.


The good news .. tests are (finally) becoming more available .. in some situations, and in some places.
The not so good news .. they're mostly a mess, and they're likely not really giving us the information we need.

'There Will Be Losses': How a Captain's Plea Exposed a Rift in the Military

Good reporting on the incident. Well worth the read (and the Times is not behind a paywall)

Among other things, 1) Modly was advised by military leaders to "wait for the investigation" .. but pleasing Trump (or fear of displeasing Trump) caused him to act. 2) The address aboard the Roosevelt horrified civilian and military alike. Modly was probably gone before he set down back in the states. 3) Military are concerned that the incident highlights not only problems with this virus and this carrier .. but also systemic issues dealing with discipline, respect and command.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/12/us/politics/coronavirus-roosevelt-carrier-crozier.html?
-snip - The episode shows how the military, the most structured and hierarchical part of the government, has tried to adjust to an erratic president, and how in a hollowed-out leadership, acting secretaries have replaced those confirmed by the Senate.
-snip - ... infuriated Mr. Modly. His next actions stunned Pentagon officials and effectively turned the crew of the Roosevelt even more solidly against him. Mr. Modly boarded a Gulfstream business jet at an airfield in suburban Washington and made the 35-hour round-trip flight to Guam, at a cost of $243,116.65, according to a Navy official, confirming a report in USA Today.
- snip - Then he went to the Roosevelt and delivered a 15-minute diatribe over the ship’s loudspeakers berating the crew for cheering for its captain. He called Captain Crozier either “too naïve” or “too stupid” to command an aircraft carrier. He told the sailors they should never trust the media. He blamed China for the virus. Less than 30 minutes later, after taking no questions from the sailors, he was gone.

The Supreme Court Nears the Moment of Truth on Religion

good read -- as the Supreme Court inches the judiciary ever closer to an incoherent, and increasingly untenable, policy on "religious freedoms."

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/opinion/supreme-court-religion.html?

NYTimes, Opinion, 2-27-2020, Linda Greenhouse

- snip - A few years ago, two Michigan prison inmates, proclaiming themselves adherents of the “Christian Identity” religion, sought the prison’s official recognition to be allowed to conduct their own worship services, apart from other inmates.

- snip - The two prisoners sued under a federal law, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. They lost in Federal District Court. This month, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit overturned that ruling. The court said the district judge, Phillip Green, had misapplied the law by weighing the prison’s interest in safety as part of his analysis of whether the prison was placing an improper burden on the men’s exercise of their chosen religion.

Say what?
If you just did a double-take, so did I when I came upon this opinion. If you wondered whether the members of the three-judge appellate panel were recent Trump appointees who perhaps share his administration’s desire to elevate religious claims above all else, so did I. They were not.

- snip - The startling fact of the matter is that Judges Griffin, Stranch and Donald were applying the law as they found it — as the Supreme Court has handed it to them in a series of decisions instructing judges to accept almost any religious claim, no matter how preposterous, at face value and to put the government to an extremely tough test to justify any infringement on a “sincere” religious belief.

- snip - Rather than looking at the Sixth Circuit prison decision, Fox v. Washington, as an outlier, we need to see it as a harbinger, a frightening one. I don’t know whether this particular case will end up at the Supreme Court. But there are plenty of cases like it, making claims that would have been dismissed out of hand not too many years ago and that now have to be taken seriously by those of us worried about the growing threat that an increasingly weaponized free-exercise clause poses to civil society, along with the statutes meant to extend its reach.

Was it assassination? Was it illegal?

Good read on assassination, definitions, executive power and mission creep, legal vs illegal .. and how we got here with targeted killing.

A One-Word Accusation Swirls Around Trump’s Deadly Strike: Assassination

snip-
Government powers to target people abroad are becoming broader as well as “more contested and more complex,” said Susan Hennessey, executive editor of Lawfare, a legal affairs site. “The term ‘assassination’ is kind of the converse of that, an identification of where the government has exceeded its authority and violated its own ban.”

Past administrations have widened that authority so substantially that, “if you surveyed every legal scholar, you’re probably going to see a fairly strong agreement that this is probably lawful,” she said, referring to Mr. Suleimani’s killing.

But that would not make his killing just, moral or wise, Ms. Hennessey stressed, only that it would fall within legal precedents set by past administrations. And any rationale remains hypothetical. The administration has presented no legal justification, raising concerns that it may have acted without first establishing the order’s legality.
-snip

[link:http://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/07/world/middleeast/iran-soleimani-assassination.html?|
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