Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Sen. Kelly Loeffler sold at least $18 million more in stocks...

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) benefited from stock trades worth millions of dollars shortly before the general public was alerted to the severity of the Covid-19 crisis, selling off shares in industries that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and buying shares of companies that have benefited, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) report published late Tuesday. Loeffler, who sits on the Senate Health Committee, first began selling stocks on January 24 — the same day that committee held a private all-members session on Covid-19 — and continued making trades in late February and early March. According to her latest...

“Shelter in place” is impossible if you can’t afford a home

Social distancing and self-isolation have quickly emerged as essential public health responses to coronavirus. As of March 31, 270 million people in at least 33 states, 89 counties, and 29 cities across the US have been urged by their government officials to stay home. While these policies often come with seismic life disruptions, the vast majority of Americans are taking them seriously. Most of us don’t even think twice about it: we just stay home. But “stay-at-home” orders are impossible to follow if you can’t afford a home in the first place. The US Department of Housing and Urban...

NYC is investigating Amazon for firing a worker who protested coronavirus...

New York City’s Commission on Human Rights will launch an investigation into Amazon for firing a worker who organized a protest this week over fears of a coronavirus outbreak at the Staten Island warehouse where he worked. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the investigation on Tuesday. The former employee in question, Chris Smalls, recently organized a walkout of about 50 people at a fulfillment center in Staten Island to protest the company’s decision to keep the facility open despite allegations that several associates have been infected with Covid-19. Smalls and other employees demanded that Amazon shut...

The White House projects 100,000 to 200,000 Covid-19 deaths

On Tuesday, the White House’s coronavirus task force presented grim statistics: Under the best-case scenario for mitigation of the Covid-19 pandemic, there may be between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths in the United States, with the number of deaths peaking in the next two weeks. The White House’s numbers, presented in a sobering press conference, are based on statistical models drawing on the best available data that attempt to predict the number of cases and deaths. “When you see 100,000 people — that’s a minimum number,” President Trump said during the press conference. That’s notable coming from Trump, who, in...

A coronavirus recession will mean more robots and fewer jobs

The novel coronavirus pandemic is certainly not good for the labor market. Recent weeks have seen unemployment claims surge to record levels as businesses and entire industries shutter in order to stop the spread of the Covid-19. As a result, the economy has plummeted, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 down more than 20 percent from their February highs. While social distancing measures may be temporary, this economic downturn’s effect on the labor market will have long-lasting effects. In a joint post with his colleagues, Mark Muro, a senior fellow and policy director at the Brookings...

Why Battlestar Galactica is the perfect quarantine marathon

Few TV shows have spoken to the unrelenting chaos of the still-young 21st century as well as Battlestar Galactica, which aired on Syfy from 2003 to 2009. A remake of the critically panned 1978 series — itself a poorly disguised attempt to rip off Star Wars and make into a TV show — the new Battlestar Galactica took most of the good ideas from its predecessor (humanity on the run from murderous robots, a complicated mythology built around some combination of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 signs of the zodiac, and a search for a long-missing Earth)...

Partisanship is the strongest predictor of coronavirus response

The US is a land divided. Americans have sorted themselves into opposing factions, with different values, sources of authority, and shared understandings. In some ways, there is no longer any meaningful US “public,” but rather two publics that want and believe different things. The current state of deep polarization in the US is the subject of a great deal of discussion and research right now, including in an excellent new book by my colleague Ezra Klein. One aspect of it that I have highlighted in a number of posts (start here) is what I call America’s epistemic crisis. Epistemology...

The Instacart strike, explained

Some workers for Instacart, one of the most popular US grocery delivery apps, went on strike Monday, demanding better pay and health protections as they risk exposing themselves to the coronavirus to deliver essentials to people on lockdown. Instacart and other grocery delivery workers are facing soaring demand — as much as 65 percent more compared to the same time last year across the top three services in the first week of March alone. But many of them say they feel increasingly unsafe doing their jobs because the companies they work for are not providing basic support, like giving them...

Democrats are ready to start work on a fourth coronavirus bill....

The House and Senate likely won’t return to Capitol Hill until April 20 at the earliest, but that’s not stopping House Democrats from thinking about a fourth coronavirus stimulus package. One major initiative Democrats are already contemplating is an infrastructure bill, particularly related to coronavirus recovery. A list could include expanding America’s broadband and 5G internet to allow more Americans to work from home; modernizing hospitals and community health care centers; and updating crumbling water pipelines. “The fourth bill would be about recovery,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters on a Monday press call. “We would like to see...

N.K. Jemisin’s new book begins with a virus in New York....

In The City We Became, the new novel by N.K. Jemisin, an infection is spreading across New York City. It spreads rapidly from person to person, and its goal is nothing less than to destroy everything that makes New York a living, breathing, vital organism. To leave it a husk of itself. The City We Became is strange to read right now in a way that Jemisin — the only person ever to win the prestigious Hugo Award three years in a row — could not possibly have predicted. The infection in her fantasy New York City is a...