scharrison's blog

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This needs to be fixed, like yesterday:

There are some 3 million sets of personal protective equipment in the national stockpile. It's not enough, but most of those should have already been deployed to shortage areas. Somebody needs to ask Trump about this during his daily circle-jerk press conference.

Join the fight against COVID 19

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Dr. Mandy Cohen is calling for volunteers to bolster health care staffs:

North Carolina has built a medical response capability through our state’s Health Care Coalitions (HCCs) that can augment all levels of care to citizens affected by a disaster event. The capability includes medical supplies and equipment, as well as volunteer health care and medical professionals who are willing to deploy to affected areas or facilities to provide patient care. This response is provided through the State Medical Response System (SMRS), which recruits and manages volunteers in the following areas:

•Clinical (physicians, advanced care providers, nurses, EMS)
•Clinical Support (pharmacy, imaging and respiratory care)
•Non-clinical support (facility maintenance, safety, and administrative)

Here is the portal for you to register as a responder, or get additional training to be able to do so. North Carolina has an incredibly strong and diverse population of medical caregivers, including many who are currently retired. We need all of you right now.

Bank Run Burr is back, warning private donor group about COVID 19

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Three weeks ago Burr was speaking to a private (elite) group of NC donors called The Circle (more on them later), and his warning to this group was dire indeed. He told them this wasn't just another virus, it was more akin to the 1918 Flu pandemic, which killed some 50 million worldwide. A few days after that private meeting, he issued a press release which included this message to his not-elite constituents: "The U.S. is in a better position than any other nation to handle a public health emergency like the Coronavirus." There are Two Americas, and no doubt about which one Burr really cares for. Circling back to the Circle:

Census flash: College students should be counted on campus

Even if they are at home due to COVID 19:

“Per the Census Bureau’s residence criteria, in most cases students living away from home at school should be counted at school, even if they are temporarily elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said a Sunday afternoon news release from the Census Bureau.

In other words, even if students are home on the official census day, which is April 1, they should be counted based on where they live and sleep most of the time. The Census Bureau says it is asking institutions to contact students with reminders about responding.

I just did my Census online today, and it took less than ten minutes. I encourage everybody to go ahead and do this, especially any college students reading this. And if you are a student, call your parents (on the phone or down the hall) and tell them *not* to count you in the household.

It's time to fix NC's cruel unemployment system

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Hat-tip to Rick Glazier and MaryBe McMillan:

In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly and then-Gov. Pat McCrory approved House Bill 4 with the stated objective of bringing solvency to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which is funded by taxes on employers and pays unemployment benefits to laid-off workers.

Ultimately, the bill achieved solvency for the trust fund, but only by permanently cutting the amount, duration, and eligibility for benefits for all unemployed workers. All told, the changes enacted in North Carolina amounted to the most severe cuts ever enacted by any state during the 80-plus-year history of American unemployment insurance. At the time, legislators claimed that when the trust fund was solvent, these draconian cuts would be revisited. That time has clearly arrived.

How many North Carolinians have lost their homes since this draconian policy was enacted? How many families have been ripped apart? How many suicides? Republicans in the General Assembly won't be asking those questions, but somebody needs to. We rate our education system by how well it stacks up against other states, and elected officials (from both parties) love to brag about our business climate rankings. But what about workers? Unemployment is not driven by worker behavior; it is driven by business trends, mergers and acquisitions, decisions made in corporate boardrooms often in other states or countries. Those workers produced the profits (and state revenues) diligently, and they deserve better compensation than $264 a week for 8 weeks:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This deserves serious consideration:

My sister just moved back to Florida from Washington (state), where they have been doing vote-by-mail for several years now. In 2016, 79% of registered voters mailed in their ballots.

Grifter-In-Chief: Trump's efforts to gain control of COVID 19 vaccine

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Because blackmailing the rest of the world is apparently good business:

According to the German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag, which first reported the story on Sunday, Mr. Trump offered CureVac roughly $1 billion in exchange for exclusive access to the vaccine. The newspaper quoted an unnamed German government source who said Mr. Trump wanted the resulting vaccine “only for the United States.”

White House officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But two senior American officials said that some of the German news accounts first reporting the story were overblown, particularly with regard to any effort by the United States to secure exclusive access to a vaccine.

In this day and age, when verifiable facts are described as "fake news" by the Trump administration, calling something "overblown" is a tacit admission of guilt. Trump simply has no ethical boundaries, and I don't doubt for one minute that he would use that exclusive control of a vaccine as a lever to get other things he wants. To put it bluntly, Germany is pissed off:

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