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Abridge the Daily Coronavirus Briefing, Please!
Perhaps someone with better video+sound-editing skills than I could capture the daily COVID-19 briefing and edit DJT out of it, preserving the information disseminated by those who know what the hell they're talking about and speak in complete sentences. A written transcript would be helpful, too.

Today's unsolicited business plan: Put the result in the public domain (let the TV and cable networks sue (demand a jury trial and nothing bad will happen), and other networks would pay to republish it. I give this business plan freely to the world without reservation or expectation of profit, but if it works, I wouldn't mind a kind mention and a free lunch (at a proper social distance, of course).
Etiquette for Trump Rallies and 2020 GOP Convention
On arrival, pack and store medical accoutrements such as gloves and facemasks, as these may cause undue anxiety among TV viewers of the event.

When greeting other participants, shake hands vigorously and depending on your relationship embrace or kiss them. Wrapping a hand and arm around a colleague's shoulders will convey a sense of solidarity.

Wash hands before and after the event.

If questioned by the press, convey sincerely that you perceive no health emergency.
The most important thing you can do in this difficult time is to make Pres. Trump look and feel good. Have confidence that many Republicans will survive, and isn't that what really matters?
Dr. Tr*mp and the warm weather cure
Our self-anointed physician-in-chief has now applied his very good brain to the current global epidemic known as coronavirus, announcing among other things that once spring comes and temperatures rise everything will be juuust fine.

This will be good news in Singapore where most of my immediate family lives. Daytime high temperatures there average 93°F, plunging into the high 80s at night.

One might therefore wonder how sunny Singapore has incurred an infection rate 107 times that of the US and by what miraculous circumstance US median springtime temperatures in the 60s and 70s are going to solve this problem.

Note to trumpeteers: The fools in this scenario are not Tr*mp and his handlers, apologists or toadies; they are instead those continue to believe this man who couples ignorance with incompetence to produce bad judgment more effectively than anyone since Pharaoh detained the Hebrews.

Podcast Episode

It's all Obama's Fault
I await anxiously the FOX News report — based on a shocking exposé by Rush Limbaugh — of how Barack Obama Sr. conceived the creation of the coronavirus way back in 1956 when he was a student in Kenya and later, with the connivance of his wife the junior anthropology professor and his US in-laws the furniture salesman and the branch bank manager and funded by the global Communist menace, conspired posthumously to maneuver his son Barack Jr. into the US presidency, wherein he was able during brief breaks in meetings with Chinese President Xi to arrange for the laboratory formulation of the new virus. Truly diabolical!
Presidential Medal of Freedom? Really?


Lindsey Graham Deprecates Impeachment Inquiry Transcripts
A friend posted on social media a link to a social media article labeled "Lindsay Graham says he won't read impeachment transcripts," and he has also full-throatedly supported Tr*mp in other forums. Another friend asked, "what happened to him? John McCain must be turning over in his grave."

It seems rather obvious: He's positioning himself as Tr*mp's successor, knowing he'd whomp Nebbish Pence in primaries. By appearing to support Tr*mp now, he can preserve rapport with the crazies while potentially appealing to a wider audience.

Would a deposed Tr*mp support Pence or Graham?
Build, don't destroy the US Postal Service
The creation of the PO in 1787 was the glue that held the nation together by bringing rural areas into the community. That unifying function should be expanded, not contracted.

For example, every citizen ought to have a free email account, and every PO including contract substations, ought to provide free access, perhaps similar to the good old phone booths we knew as children. Chicken feed for the gov't, manna from heaven for democracy.
History Museum in Johnstone Scotland on our Platform
Gavin and I are supporting a website for an online history museum in Johnstone, Scotland, whence came my maternal grandmother's parents in the early 1880s. The local history society sent us this kind acknowledgement (or if you're actually in Johnstone, acknowledgment).
More Deviltry in Turkey; This Time It's Murder
The behavior of Erdogan's Turkish military and "uncontrolled" militias, if correctly reported, in the murders of Kurdish civilians along the Turkey-Syria border in a frenzy of ethnic cleansing, may force the US to remove its nuclear arsenal from Turkey before taking any action that might be perceived as anti-Turkish. Such a pullback from Turkey has been the former USSR and Russia's and Putin's wet dream for SIXTY YEARS since the Cuban missile crisis! What will Fearless Leader do next? Only one thing is certain: It will be something equally thoughtless and ignorant.

The substitution of defensive deployments to protect Syrian oil fields for the previous deployments to protect actual human beings is in an INCREASE in the number of US troops in Syria and in no way meets the generally accepted goal of reducing the US footprint in the region. The reduction in the border area appears to have been a whim based on a desire to please Erdogan and the latter should have been a joint effort by an international force. Both would have benefitted from forethought and diplomacy, which are both in short supply in today's regime.
Big Energy Has another Option
The Guardian reported (earlier in October) that "a renewable energy revolution could end the world’s rising demand for oil and coal in the 2020s, decades ahead of forecasts from oil and mining companies."

Comment: With the tiniest nudge from the US government, which still sets the tone for the world economy, the rate of conversion to sustainable energy could be accelerated. Even the current energy companies could benefit: Though they have historically made $ by the sale of fuels and related products (plastics, another problem area), they have also created the world's greatest systems of logistics and commodity management. Converting to this service function as their primary function could guarantee their continuation regardless of the decline of fuels. One would think shareholders who value long-term appreciation would support this approach in huge numbers. As for the speculators, who gives a damn?
Trump now says his Florida resort won't be used for G7 in 2020
(CNN) — President Donald Trump on Saturday night abruptly reversed course and announced next year's G7 economic summit of world powers would not be held at Trump National in Doral, Florida, in a rare departure after facing bipartisan backlash. The President tweeted the major change just over 48 hours after the initial announcement: "We will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020. We will BEGIN THE SEARCH for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately."

Unless Mick Mulvaney and the rest of the team were lying, which we all know could not be so, they have already conducted a thoroughgoing survey that identified Doral retroactively to confirm the original brilliant and perfect selection. Why can they not simply move to the second choice location? As Tr*mp buddy David Pecker might say: Inquiring minds want to know.

Credibility score: Zero, pants on fire.
More Illegal Foreign Emoluments for Tr*mp
One wonders where the so-called Tea Party is hiding as Tr*mp directs taxpayer funds to his Doral resort to shore up his biggest white elephant.

The lame claim by Mick Mulvaney that the TOrg will not profit is an Big Lie of accounting. Covering what would be another losing summer month's losses is the full equivalent of profit.

Trumpeteers, weren't you listening when your grandparents repeated that a penny saved is a penny earned.
A Scotland History Connection
Since 2013 I've been working with some associates in Johnstone, Scotland, on a website for the local history society (http://johnstonehistory.org/).

Johnstone is in Renfrewshire near Paisley, where my maternal great-grandmother Lavinia Fleming Goodwin began spinning thread at the Clark Thread Co. (no relation) around 1865 at age six.

In 2015 I ran across this ad from the 19th Century, which suggests a more idyllic life than she probably led, though those Clarks were more progressive than many mill owners, in that child workers did get a free half-day of school while working the other half (How many hours? Your guess is as good as mine).

My grandmother, who would have been the daughter of a girl like the one in the image, became a first-rate seamstress and made a good portion of the clothes I wore as a boy, including some that got me teased by my friends.

Here is Lavinia in 1896, with her husband Thomas McKee Goodwin and her surviving children. The children are Thomas and Rachel, standing, and seated L-R are Vina with father, Edna with mother, Anna (my grandmother, Anna Goodwin Davis, wearing the black dress), Elizabeth, and Mabel.

The Johnstone History Society

Tr*mp and the Bahamas
Trump supporters have been praising the president for having donated $1 million to "the Bahamas relief fund" (whatever that is, no specific reference found). If true, we say good for him.)

But note that is 0.01% of the $10bn net worth he has (probably falsely) claimed in the past, which equates to $8.60 from a 2019 estimate of the average household's $86,000 net worth.

In terms of income, assume he is earning 10% on invested capital of the $10bn. One day's income is $2,739,726.02. One million dollars could easily and of course hypothetically be recouped by, say, stiffing some contractor or understating income on a tax return while overstating the same income on a loan application.

Unfortunately, The Donald is under audit and cannot show anyone the receipt.

If instead we were to participate in an international disaster relief fund that collected $1/year from the top 20% of world citizens, that fund would have in ten years $15.4bn. Invested conservatively at 3% per annum, it would earn about $450,000, which could—if matched by savings and insurance of affected countries—come close to funding relief for a Dorian-sized disaster every year.

If each US household donated the $8.60 mentioned before, we could fully fund the disaster relief organization in only a couple of years. If this were a truly international effort, the contributions should be adjusted to local incomes, and the fund should be administered by an international body of experts not under political control. Might Americans pay more than others? Probably, but I'd feel pretty good about that, wouldn't you?

Of course, we'd still be on the hook in case of a multiple disaster as happened a few years ago with multiple hurricanes in short order. None of this would reduce the emotional pain felt by direct victims, but we could be responding in hours, not days, as the funding would be less of an issue.

Within such an organized approach to recurrent disasters, we could just do the needed repairs, care for the injured and get on with life. Showy donations that seem large to the average person would not be necessary and might even seem a bit like conspicuous consumption.
Putting United Health Care (UHC) "Security" to the Test
Today I called United Health Care (UHC) customer service. The call was answered by a nice lady, "E" in Texas.

She suggested we use the UHC website to coordinate. I tried to re-establish my existing online account. It found my ID from phone and other info and transferred me to a login page. I tried to sign in using pretyped ID supplied by system and the password recorded in my old manual records; used to work, but...

System asked for answers to "security" questions: Some security; this is what websites were doing in the 1990s. I estimate there are scores if not hundreds of old friends who could correctly guess my answers. (One was what was my first phone number, so I gave it as it then was, seven digits, as I'm much older than area codes.) "Secret questions" are, of course, a security technique that went out with high-button shoes.

After my several attempts with correct answers, it bailed out and locked the account with the following:

"Error: We have no record of your email address, phone number or security questions, so we’re unable to find your account information. Please call us at 1-877-844-4999 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with any website or technical questions or issues."

I was still simultaneously on line with "E", who confirmed that all that data was in fact on her screen.

(BTW, It's OK to spam call those numbers, as the response time is already so bad that no one will notice the difference.)

During several on-hold periods, I learned that E's father shared my birthday. Sadly he's passed away, so we cannot celebrate together.

Was transferred by "E" to tech support. We started over.

First thing was to go to the website. She sent me to one that responded with an instruction to update my Flash plugin. I don't allow Flash within a mile of my computer for security reasons, so I refused. She then sent me to another URL.

Gave it the login name and clicked the lost password link; it gave me the same "security questions" but this time I asked the agent whether they were case sensitive. She said Yes. I typed my old password, substituting a Capital for one of the letters as stated in their new instructions (of course I have no idea what it required a decade ago when I set up the account).

System responded that I could not re-use an old password. Now, if it's case sensitive, it was not the same string, so either it is not C-S or someone was lying.

So I made up a new password, created new "secret" questions and finally got signed in. Elapsed time: One hour, 50 minutes at last look, actually more.

These are the folks protecting the integrity of my health care and other personal data and that of millions of others. Need I say more?
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