Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.




Ken Melvin

The times they are a changing.

And they are changing at pandemic speed. Five months ago is ancient history. Now is a but a fleeting interval. From now, the future. What will our world look like six months from now? What will it look like in three years?

So much for being the ‘Greatest Nation Ever Known’. We just got rolled by a virus whilst beset with incompetent leadership, inadequate healthcare, a global warming crisis, and a failed economic model. We weren’t prepared. Could’ve been, should’ve been, but we weren’t. For now, we must learn how to live with the virus while charting a new course. Can we rise to the challenge of dealing with the pandemic and its aftermath, and of correcting those existing, pre-pandemic, problems? We really need to do both.

There will be changes. Chances are that we will see a diminishment of globalization. The offshoring of medical supplies, such as protective equipment, and critical medicines has hurt. Those will probably return onshore. Such dependence was always a risk. The production of other ‘self-sufficient’ goods should be brought back. Some of the jobs will return; return to a much-diminished economy. Education, at all levels, will probably be changed forever. We are going to hear, “We can’t afford to do —-, a lot, when, in truth, we can’t afford to not do something about the pre-existing problems of healthcare, economic disparity, global warming, and a few other small things. In these short few months, the world was changed, changed forever, before our very eyes. If we are very wise and really lucky, we will get this mostly right.

Somethings stay the same.

During the Great Depression, jobs were scarce. Asked; the old men who came of age during the era would say, “there just weren’t any jobs.” When there are no jobs; education, gender, ethnicity, and race didn’t matter much. Many of those with good jobs got them because of who they knew or were related to. Whence the expression often heard from those of a certain age at the time, “It’s not what you know but who you know.”

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Weekly Indicators for July 14 – 18 at Seeking Alpha

by New Deal democrat

Weekly Indicators for July 14 – 18 at Seeking Alpha

My Weekly Indicators post is up at Seeking Alpha.

With the coronavirus beginning to rage out of control again in a majority of US States, improvement in the coincident and short leading indicators has generally halted.

As usual, clicking over and reading will bring you up to the moment, and bring me a penny or two.

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Covid litigation and immunization

(Dan here…a note for reality)

Full liability release for businesses and hospitals

It’s necessary, Mitch McConnell and his colleagues say, because of a “flood” of frivolous lawsuits crushing businesses and threatening economic recovery. So it’s important to say this clearly and out loud: there is no crisis of COVID-19 litigation. It’s made-up, it doesn’t exist, it’s a ploy to get businesses out of paying for compliance. That’s entirely it.

We have all the evidence we need on this. Hunton Andrews Kurth, a law firm, has been dutifully tracking COVID-19 complaints at its website for all to see. As of today, it shows 3,521 “complaints,” but the majority of those involve petitions for prisoner release and fights over insurance claims, as well as consumer and contract disputes. Under “labor and employment” there are a grand total of 302 cases, total, across the entire country.

There are 616 “civil rights” claims, and while most of those are challenges to stay-at-home orders, a couple of those might be business-related. At least one high-profile workplace case, against Tyson and JBS meatpacking plants, is being contested under the Civil Rights Act. The claim is that the largely Black and Latino workforces were not protected due to racial discrimination, compared to the mostly white managers. But that’s a very particular situation.

If you’re talking about the kind of cases that McConnell claims are “flooding” courts—“conditions of employment” cases alleging wrongful death, exposure to COVID-19, or a lack of personal protective equipment—there are 67 such cases. There are 33 wrongful death cases in the “Health/Medical” section but almost all of them have been filed against nursing homes. There are 6 malpractice cases, only one a COVID-19 misdiagnosis that resulted in death (three others are about nursing homes). There’s exactly one (1) miscellaneous wrongful death tort case outside the labor and health sections.

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Opening schools

Important questions from my friend

Paula W……..

! Listen up world!

Betsy DeVos, we have a few questions for you:
• If a teacher tests positive for COVID-19 are they required to quarantine for 2-3 weeks? Is their sick leave covered, paid?
• If that teacher has 5 classes a day with 30 students each, do all 150 of those students need to then stay home and quarantine for 14 days?
• Do all 150 of those students now have to get tested? Who pays for those tests? Are they happening at school? How are the parents being notified? Does everyone in each of those kids’ families need to get tested? Who pays for that?
• What if someone who lives in the same house as a teacher tests positive? Does that teacher now need to take 14 days off of work to quarantine? Is that time off covered? Paid?
• Where is the district going to find a substitute teacher who will work in a classroom full of exposed, possibly infected students for substitute pay?

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Me Worthies

Me Worthies


Ken Melvin

If 40% of Americans think like Trump thinks, is America worth saving? At his rallies, we see C-SPAN shots of mostly overweight middle-aged and somewhat older whites; so we certainly can’t blame his ascendancy on recent immigrants. As Walt’s Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Pretty good bet that Trump is both a narcissist and a sociopath. And his supporters, they too? No doubt some of his supporters care more about the stock market than they do about America or Trump, but what about the rest? What do they care about?

Since when did middle-aged bikers, those who watch reality TV shows like The Apprentice, and those who watch Professional Wrestling, represent the best in America? And, why do biker gang members look just like the armed right-wing, white-supremacist, militia members? And how is it that today’s bikers look just like those from the 70s? — Those brave road marauders who, in bunches of 7, 8, 9, 10, -20 rode alongside our cars and ogled our wives? How is that this lot, too, is mostly overweight middle-aged whites. These are not Baby Boomers. These are the children of the Baby Boomers! Is there something going on in the US gene pool that we don’t know about? This definitely something science and journalism need to look into. If JFK inspired the best and the brightest, who are these that Trump has inspired?

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Capitalism and Class

Capitalism and Class


Ken Melvin

Whence this attitude that the working class is expendable and that the middle and upper classes are not?

Donald J. Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Betsy DeVos, being the brave, patriotic souls that they are, demand, for the sake of the nation, that the working class step-up and take the risk of going back to work and sending their working-class kids to school an do so without sufficient protective measures in force and with no legal recourse against the employers and districts.

Whence this attitude that the working class is expendable and that the middle and upper classes are not? Why is that, time and time again, we see the working class taking the brunt of, being wiped out by, economic downturns? Are they really without merit? Of such little or no consequence?

Including all those who work for a salary as being part of the working class, the working class is of the utmost consequence. The country would absolutely come to a standstill without them. The country would come to an absolute standstill without those who work for hourly wages — the unemployed are only those looking for a job, a way to help.

‘Tis those as worthless as the tits on a boar, those who live off of unearned income, those who are incompetent, lazy, corrupt,  .   .   .    who are of no merit. Trump failed in every manner conceivable to provide the leadership the country needed. At least the boar’s tits do no harm. Trump has only made, continues to make, things worse. Do you think for a moment that if Hillary had been president that she wouldn’t have acted quickly and aggressively? That she would not have prepared the nation? That she would have spent so much time watching TV? Stuffing her face? Golfing? Ignoring intelligence? Mitch and Betsy, too, did nothing of merit; instead, both worked hard at doing the nation great harm.

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Philly-Area Charters Collect $30 Million+ in PPP Funding

(Dan here…via Diane Ravitch’s blog…)

Philly-Area Charters Collect $30 Million+ in PPP Funding

by dianeravitch

Charters in the Philadelphia area received more than $30 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds, while public schools in Philadelphia continue to be systematically underfunded. The big winner in the PPP sweepstakes is the for-profit Chester Community Charter School, owned by a major Republican donor and billionaire.
One of the largest loans, between $5 million and $10 million, went to Chester Community Charter School (CCCS), which is operated by a for-profit management company owned by wealthy Republican donor Vahan Gureghian.
The loan was received by Archway Charter School of Chester, Inc., which is the nonprofit name for CCCS under which it files its 990 tax form.
The CCCS charter already received more than $2.5 million from the CARES Act, intended for public schools. So CCCS, which aims for a complete takeover and privatization of its district, is funded both as a “public school” and a small business.

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