Patterico's Pontifications

4/5/2020

Sunday Music: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Opening Chorus

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am



It is Palm Sunday. Today’s Bach piece is music you might expect to hear on Palm Sunday, the day that we hear the Passion story according to St. Matthew. Namely, the opening chorus from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion: “Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen” (Come, daughters, help me lament):

Today’s Gospel reading is the Passion story according to St. Matthew: Matthew 26:14-27:66.

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

The Last Supper

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”

Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Jesus answered, “You have said so.”

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:

“‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

Gethsemane

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

3oing a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

Jesus Arrested

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Jesus Before the Sanhedrin

Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.

Finally two came forward and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent.

The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”

“He is worthy of death,” they answered.

Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”

Peter Disowns Jesus

Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.

But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”

After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”

Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”

Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Judas Hangs Himself

Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

Jesus Before Pilate

Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.

Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.

While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.

“Barabbas,” they answered.

“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!”

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”

Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews.

Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

The Burial of Jesus

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

The Guard at the Tomb

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

The St. Matthew Passion is very important to me. I explained in a post in December 2017:

As regular readers know, I have begun to post a Bach cantata every Sunday, with eight entries so far and counting. I feel funny saying this, but Bach’s music has even motivated me to go to church again. I was raised in the Episcopal church, but Bach’s example spurred me to look for a Lutheran church, and I found one nearby that has a very welcoming congregation where I feel very comfortable. Commenter DRJ noted something that I had never heard before: that Bach’s cantatas have been called “the fifth Gospel.” Indeed:

Yuko Maruyama, a Japanese organist working in Minneapolis, was once a devout Buddhist. Now, thanks to the music of J. S. Bach, she is a Christian. “Bach introduced me to God, Jesus, and Christianity,” she told Metro Lutheran, a Twin Cities monthly. “When I play a fugue, I can feel Bach talking to God.” Masashi Masuda, a Jesuit priest, came to faith in almost the same way: “Listening to Bach’s Goldberg Variations first aroused my interest in Christianity.” Today Masuda teaches theology at Tokyo’s Sophia University.

But why would the most abstract works of an 18th-century German composer guide Asian people to Christ? Charles Ford, a mathematics professor in St. Louis, suggests that this is because Bach’s music reflects the perfect beauty of created order to which the Japanese mind is receptive. “Bach has had the same effect on me, a Western scientist,” explained Ford. Henry Gerike, organist and choirmaster at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, agrees: “The fugue is the best way God has given us to enjoy his creation. … But of course Bach’s most significant message to us is the Gospel.” Gerike echoes Swedish archbishop Nathan Söderblom (1866–1931), who famously called Bach’s cantatas “the fifth Gospel.”

I can’t easily explain it in words, and it makes me feel a little sheepish to talk about it, but my experience has been much the same. After listening to Bach, I just felt drawn to the church, and I couldn’t really articulate precisely why when people asked. But it makes sense to me inside, and that’s all that matters.

The music that drew me back to the church and to God will always have a very special place in my heart. This is that music. I am very pleased to be able to share it today with all of you, on this special day.

And it is an even more special day, because today is also my mother’s birthday.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

P.S. Speaking of the Last Supper, a friend of mine on Facebook posted this image of the Last Supper in the time of the coronavirus:

Screen Shot 2020-04-04 at 11.08.18 PM

4/4/2020

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:25 am



[guest post by Dana]

Feel free to talk about anything you think is newsworthy or might interest readers.

I’ll start.

First news item

Sweden’s liberal approach to minimize disruption to social and economic life not working out so well:

A spike in novel coronavirus infections and deaths in Stockholm has raised questions about Sweden’s decision to fight the outbreak without resorting to the lockdowns that have left much of Europe at a standstill.

Governments across Europe have closed schools and taken draconian measures to limit exposure to possible carriers with Germany for example enforcing bans on more than two people meeting in public.

Among Sweden’s Nordic neighbours, Denmark has closed its borders and shut its schools, as has Norway, while Finland has isolated its main urban region.

Yet Swedes are able to go to restaurants, get a haircut and send their children to school even as the number of confirmed cases and deaths have mounted, above all in Stockholm which accounts for more than half the fatalities.

“Locking people up at home won’t work in the longer term,” Health Agency Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell. “Sooner or later people are going to go out anyway.”

Second news item

More, please:

A Brooklyn landlord announced that he will waive rent fees for all of his residents because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 30, Mario Salerno posted a notice on the front doors of all his buildings with the announcement that rent would be waived for the month of April 2020.

“Due to the recent pandemic of Coronavirus COVID-19 affecting all of us, please note I am waiving rent for the month for April,” the notice stated.

Salerno, 59, owns roughly 80 apartments with 200 tenants spread out across Williamsburg and Greenpoint. He said he made the decision after hearing from multiple tenants who were having trouble making ends meet because of the virus.

“For me, it was more important for people’s health and worrying about who could put food on whose table,” Salerno said. “ I say don’t worry about paying me, worry about your neighbor and worry about your family.”

Third news item

What they knew, what they worried about:

Two top administration officials last year listed the threat of a pandemic as an issue that greatly worried them, undercutting President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the coronavirus pandemic was an unforeseen problem.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Tim Morrison, then a special assistant to the President and senior director for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense on the National Security Council, made the comments at the BioDefense Summit in April 2019.

“Of course, the thing that people ask: ‘What keeps you most up at night in the biodefense world?’ Pandemic flu, of course. I think everyone in this room probably shares that concern,” Azar said, before listing off efforts to mitigate the impact of flu outbreaks

“I’ve heard about this for a long time, pandemics. You don’t want pandemics,” Trump said in response to a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta about the KFile reporting. “I don’t think he was talking about a specific pandemic, he was talking about the threat of a pandemic could happen. And it could happen. Most people thought it wouldn’t, and most people didn’t understand the severity of it.”

Azar added that the government has been working for years to prepare for a pandemic.

“We knew about SARS, we knew about MERS, which were earlier modifications of the coronavirus, none of those achieved anything like what we are seeing today,” Azar told Acosta at the briefing, “but that is why four successive presidencies, including the leadership of President Trump, there has been a great focus on pandemic preparedness.”

At the 2019 summit, Azar also said, “It’s a cardinal rule of leadership that you have to have accountability, which means picking a leader, and that’s a leadership lesson well understood by President Trump, who has a particular interest not just in our national security, but in preparedness for biodefense in particular.”

Fourth news item

Trump on mail-in voter fraud concerns, in November, in spite of having requested a vote-by-mail ballot himself:

“Do you think every state in the country should be prepared for mail-in voting?” ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked Trump during a Friday press conference.

“No, because I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting,” the president responded. “And it shouldn’t be mail-in voting. It should be, you go to a booth, and you probably display yourself. You don’t send it in the mail where people pick up all sorts of bad things can happen by the time they sign that, if they sign that, if they sign that, by the time it gets and is tabulated. No. It should not be mailed-in. You should vote at the booth, and you should have voter ID.”

Fifth news item

CDC now says cover your face:

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

President Trump said he won’t be wearing one. If you haven’t already been wearing one, will you now?

Sixth news item

Texas town to fine people for not wearing a mask:

Of you are caught in the city of Laredo, Texas, without a mask covering your mouth and nose, you could be hit with a hefty fine. The City Council issued an order that requires anybody who enters a public building, office, or home other than their own to wear a mask or some form of fabric over their face. Failure to wear a mask could get you fined up to $1,000.

According to the Laredo Morning Times, council members said they had to act in part because their neighboring county is not taking the global coronavirus pandemic seriously.

The order also created a curfew for all residents. Anybody who is out during the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. can be arrested and face fines between $50 and $1,000. People who are deemed essential workers are exempt from the curfew.

The order lasts until April 30.

Seventh news item

Looks promising:

A potential coronavirus vaccine that is administered using a fingertip-sized patch with dissolvable microneedles produces antibodies that could fight the virus, a study in mice showed.

“The microneedle array is simply applied to the skin topically, pressed into place very shortly, and then taken off and thrown away,” said Dr. Louis Falo, professor and chair of dermatology at University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.

When tested in mice, the vaccine produced antibodies against the virus within two weeks of the microneedle prick and it uses less vaccine than a normal shot.

Have a good weekend. Stay safe, please.

–Dana

4/3/2020

Trump Retaliates Against Another Figure from Impeachment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:03 pm



This time he has fired the Inspector General of the intelligence community who made sure the whistleblower’s complaint made it to Congress.

President Donald Trump has fired Michael Atkinson, the Intelligence Community Inspector General, who brought forward the whistleblower complaint in light of President Donald Trump’s Ukraine call which led to the impeachment proceedings.

The news comes late Friday night, in a letter obtained by CNN, which states Atkinson is set to be booted in 30 days from his post.

It’s nothing new. Just the same old corruption. How I long for him to be gone already.

I don’t even want to hear from the people who think this is just great. No comments. Have a nice weekend.

UPDATE: University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck:

Amen.

Hopeful: Doctors Use Blood Plasma From Recovered COVID-19 Patients To Help Sick Patients

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:03 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Old method used in new effort to help patients sick with coronavirus:

St. Joseph Hospital in Orange completed its first blood transfer Wednesday from a recovered COVID-19 patient to a patient sick with the disease. It joins a handful of hospitals across the nation experimenting with transferring blood plasma in the hope that antibodies from a recovered patient will attack the virus and help a sick person heal.

Dr. Timothy Byun, who led the transfer, says he believes St. Joseph is the first hospital on the West Coast to try this experimental treatment.

In mid-March, Jason Garcia, a 36-year-old San Diego man, was diagnosed with COVID-19. Just a week ago, he made a full recovery and was released from isolation by San Diego County’s health department.

He posted his triumph on Facebook and that’s when a friend told him that St. Joseph Hospital was looking for a recovered patient’s blood plasma. So on April 1, Garcia drove up to Orange and donated his plasma.

That same day, the plasma was transferred into an intubated patient who’s in the hospital’s intensive care unit, Dr. Byun said.

One plasma donation can be used for three patients. The hospital plans to do the second and third transfers soon.

Background on how the treatment came about:

The very first Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine was awarded in 1901 to Emil von Behring for his life-saving work developing a cure for diphtheria, a bacterial infection that was particularly fatal in children. His groundbreaking treatment, known as diphtheria antitoxin, worked by injecting sick patients with antibodies taken from animals who had recovered from the disease.

Von Behring’s antitoxin wasn’t a vaccine, but the earliest example of a treatment method called “convalescent plasma” that’s being resurrected as a potential treatment for COVID-19. Convalescent plasma is blood plasma extracted from an animal or human patient who has “convalesced” or recovered from infection with a particular disease.

“Convalescent plasma has been used throughout history when confronting an infectious disease where you have people who recover and there’s no other therapy available,” says Warner Greene, director of the Center for HIV Cure Research at the Gladstone Institutes. “There must be something in their plasma—i.e. an antibody—that helped them recover.”

How the treatment, which was also used during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, works:

Convalescent plasma interacts differently with the immune system than a vaccine. When a person is treated with a vaccine, their immune system actively produces its own antibodies that will kill off any future encounters with the target pathogen. That’s called active immunity.

Convalescent plasma offers what’s called “passive immunity.” The body doesn’t create its own antibodies, but instead “borrows” them from another person or animal who has successfully fought off the disease. Unlike a vaccine, the protection doesn’t last a lifetime, but the borrowed antibodies can greatly reduce recovery times and even be the difference-maker between life and death.

“Convalescent plasma is the crudest of the immunotherapies, but it can be effective,” says Greene.

Doctors are stressing that this treatment would not replace a vaccine but would serve as a “stopgap” measure.

According to Dr. Arturo Casadevall, of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore:

In addition to public health containment and mitigation protocols, this may be our only near-term option for treating and preventing COVID-19. And it is something we can start putting into place in the next few weeks and months.

–Dana

Ankle Bracelets Used to Keep Suspected COVID-19 Patients At Home

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:09 pm



[guest post by Dana]

If things continue to worsen, and people continue to flout stay-at-home orders, we can be sure that more states will will move toward these kinds of actions as well:

Officials in Kentucky are using GPS monitors to ensure that people suspected of having COVID-19 remain in self-quarantine. At least four people have been fitted with ankle bracelets after they allegedly defied orders to stay at home.

One individual, identified as D.L. in court documents, was told to stay home for at least a week after a person he was living with had been diagnosed with COVID-19. He refused and left the house on multiple occasions before a judge ordered him to wear an ankle monitor. He was told that he will face criminal charges if he leaves his home during the next two weeks.

Another man who tested positive for the coronavirus went out shopping after he learned of his diagnosis and was ordered to wear the device and told to stay at home. Two other people who live together were also fitted with the GPS devices after they refused to stay at home when one of them tested positive for the virus.

As of Friday (April 3), there have been 770 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky, and 31 people have died.

Mayor Greg Fischer said that orders like this are needed to help keep the community safe. Other agencies are supportive of the move:

“The home incarceration program is well-suited for this,” said Amy Hess, the city’s chief of public services, which includes oversight of Metro Corrections and Emergency Services. “It provides us with the proper amount of distancing. We can monitor activity after (the monitoring device) gets affixed to them … to make sure they’re not further affecting the community.

The city has gone to great lengths to deal with a community that appears resistant to following stay-at-home orders:

Not enough Louisvillians are taking pandemic guidelines seriously, Fischer stressed again Tuesday. In addition to closing libraries, community centers, the zoo and even some parks over the past few weeks, he’s instructed police to cut back on the types of calls for service officers respond to.

And, in response to a lack of respect for his orders, he even had basketball rims taken off backboards in parks.

Note: A Metro Corrections officer who was sent to attach ankle monitors following Friday’s isolation order has a 101-degree fever and is being tested for COVID-19

Related:

A Kentucky man has been charged with violating Indiana’s stay-at-home order – a preventative measure to stop the spread of coronavirus – after already facing gun and drug charges, according to Indiana State Police.

Indiana State Police announced Tuesday that the Hamilton County prosecutor added a misdemeanor charge for “disobeying a declaration of disaster emergency” against Zachary Peters, 24 of Crestwood Kentucky. With that, Peters faces six charges, according to Indiana State Police…He initially was charged with cocaine, marijuana, controlled substance and paraphernalia possession and carrying a handgun without a license.

Peters was recorded going 96 mph in a 70 mph zone on Interstate 69 , police said. The Indiana stay-at-home order he was charged with violating took effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 24 to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

–Dana

Upper West Side Co-op Board Boots Visiting Doctor From Building, In Spite of Being Expert At Intubation

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:08 am



[guest post by Dana]

Answering Gov. Cuomo’s call for medical volunteers from across the nation to go to New York to help save lives during the ongoing nightmare of a coronavirus outbreak, New York born Dr. Richard Levitan left New Hampshire to help at Bellevue Hospital Center, where he once trained. Unable to find an available hotel room, he ended up staying at his brother’s vacant apartment on the upper West Side. When word got out that he was a doctor helping to manage coronavirus patients, the building’s board of directors kicked him out. This, in spite of his reputation as “a teaching guru on managing the human airway,” including “performing the tricky but vital task of intubation, threading a breathing tube into people who are not getting enough oxygen”:

At the end of seven hours in mask, gown and gloves at Bellevue Hospital Center on Monday, Dr. Richard Levitan finally had a chance to look at his phone.

Dr. Levitan, an emergency physician who lives in northern New Hampshire, had volunteered to work for 10 days at Bellevue, in Manhattan, as coronavirus patients besieged New York City hospitals. Monday was his first shift there.

A text had arrived from his older brother, who was letting him use an apartment on the Upper West Side. It read: “Hey Richard — We are so proud of you and your heroism. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but looks like our apartment building doesn’t want you staying in our apt.”

The building’s board of directors wanted him out.

That took a minute to sink in.

On the one hand, Dr. Levitan was answering the state’s urgent plea for help in the worst public health crisis in decades.

On the other, his brother was dealing with the idiosyncratic creature known as a New York City co-op, run by a board of apartment owners. Within their four walls, co-ops are tiny nation-states, like thousands of Vatican Cities inside the five boroughs.

So, while Dr. Levitan was working to save the lives of strangers, his brother was pleading with his neighbors on the board to let his sibling lay his head in the apartment. He got nowhere. The board had heard what he was doing and did not want him around.

Note: Most residents had already left the building to hunker down elsewhere – perhaps even in Dr. Levitan’s resident state of New Hampshire:

Though it has nearly 300 apartments, the building was quiet. “The place is a ghost town,” Dr. Levitan said. “Anybody with money has left.”

The building’s manager declined to answer inquiries by The New York Times about Dr. Levitan’s eviction “but offered to pass on an inquiry to the board. No one replied to that, or to phone messages and emails left with board members.”

Lesson here: It’s perfectly acceptable for the wealthy and well-connected to flee NYC to the less populated neighboring states and hunker down in their vacation homes, but it’s not acceptable for a medical expert who is desperately needed by patients at NYC hospitals to stay in their near-empty buildings.

Gov. Cuomo pleaded just four days ago: Help New York. We are the ones who are hit now. Who could imagine that those answering the call would be given the boot.

–Dana

Baseball Crank: The 41 Worst People You Meet on Twitter

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:12 am



Dan McLaughlin (aka the Baseball Crank, who recently left his law practice to become a full-time writer at NRO) has a very thorough taxonomy of annoying Twitter personalities today titled The 41 Worst People You Meet on Twitter. These particularly amused me:

3. The Chief Dufflepud: The Chief Dufflepud’s signature characteristic is twofold: He has a legion of sycophantic followers who trail after him giving off praise like Sir Robin’s minstrels, and he constantly reinforces their reinforcement of him by retweeting their hosannas to his brilliance and courage. If you argue with the Chief Dufflepud, he will make sure that your mentions are flooded with these people, none of whom will add anything knowledgeable to the discussion; they will simply assert that you have been Owned and Destroyed by The Great One and should Take The L.

. . . .

5. The Swaggerer: The Swaggerer may be male or female (as may most of these types), but machismo is his game, and he is most typically found on the right. What distinguishes The Swaggerer is that he’s more interested in showing that he is Tough and Fights and Never Apologizes and Owns the Libs and Isn’t a Snowflake and Doesn’t Care About Your Feelings than he is in the actual content of his arguments.

. . . .

19. The Instant Logan Act Expert: The Instant Logan Act Expert is an unfortunate by-product of the democratization of discourse. Thirty minutes into any public controversy, the Instant Logan Act Expert suddenly has strong and confident opinions about the topic, despite having never given it a moment’s thought before. Often, the Instant Logan Act Expert is simultaneously an actual expert in one or more other topics, and he should really know better.

Read it all.

4/2/2020

Open Non-Coronavirus Policy Non-Trump Non-Politics Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



This morning I was chatting with some folks on email about how tense people seem on Twitter, and how partisan and divisive and angry and, well, lonely they seem. I said that one thing I have noticed is that when I go for a walk in my neighborhood, which I do every day at noon, more people are out and about and they are friendlier. There is a real sense of everyone being in this thing together as you walk around. That’s very different from half of Twitter.

Also, we are typically discussing politics and current events on Twitter. If I stop and have a brief chat (at a distance of ten yards) with a neighbor, it’s invariably about the dogs I am walking, or the weather, or how they’re holding up in all this, or how they are doing in their recovery from a recent health issue, or how crazy the supermarkets are and how long it takes to check out, or when they built that structure in their back yard. That kind of stuff. It’s not about how Trump is handling the coronavirus. If it were, odds are the discussions would be … different.

So why don’t we have a discussion like the kind I might have with my neighbors at a safe distance? The rules are: no talk about coronavirus policy, although you can talk about how it’s affecting your daily life. No mention of Trump. No mention of politics.

I’ll start. My niece started a neat game among the family that she created entirely on her own (with the help of an app called GooseChase) that is a scavenger hunt style game. But the idea is that each team (consisting of people in the family scattered throughout the country) must perform certain tasks my niece made up. Examples: “Take a picture showing a change you’ve had to make in your normal routine. Please explain in your caption.” Or: “Take a video of you trying to lift something very light but pretend like it’s heavy.” Or: “Tell a knock-knock joke [on video]. 5 bonus points if it makes me smile, groan, or shake my head!” It’s well-done and fun. My team is not doing too well though.

What’s up with you?

6.6 Million People Filed New Unemployment Claims Last Week

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:20 am



It’s no real surprise if you have been paying attention, of course, but it’s still a stunning number — especially when you realize it will continue like this, week after week.

The last three weeks have marked one of the most devastating periods in history for the American job market, as first-time claims for unemployment benefits have surged more than 3,000% since early March.

Businesses continue to lay off and furlough workers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

6.6 million US workers filed for their first week of unemployment benefits in the week ending March 28 — a new historic high.

Meanwhile, I’m watching the deaths in the U.S. double reliably every four days or so, and I’m thinking we could hit 100,000 deaths this month very easily. I read a passage like this from Allahpundit:

If you believe the IHME projections, which are similar to the White House’s own model, we won’t begin to flatten out in this metric for several more weeks. Peak deaths are expected on April 16, when we’re expected to hit … 2,600 in a day. That’s up from yesterday, when the projection was on the order of 2,200; the number of total deaths expected before August 1 is also up substantially in the IHME model, from around 83,000 yesterday to 93,000 today. Things have turned grimmer in the past 24 hours than they were. And they were plenty grim yesterday.

And I think: it’s weird when I’m more pessimistic than Allahpundit. 2,600 deaths a day by April 16? Why not April 10? I can’t find a good reason why not.

I’ll be thrilled to be wrong.

4/1/2020

The Right’s Callous Rhetoric About Coronavirus Deaths

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:24 am



Here are two statements that should shock you.

  • Republicans say the economic effects from social distancing could lead to increased suicides but the flu and car accidents kill people too.
  • Republicans say the economic effects from social distancing could lead to increased suicides but that’s really only a problem for the poor and depressed.

If you were to read those statements on a Twitter feed, you might become outraged. I can easily envision tweets like that going viral very quickly. Perhaps a quick hit on Twitchy starts the job rolling. Then some blue check Trumpers pick up the ball and carry it. Finally the tweets end up on Hannity or Tucker, an object lesson in how the left does not care about life.

And yet these are precisely the sort of comments people on the right have been making to dismiss the likely number of increased deaths from coronavirus. Hey, it’s not that many people, you know. And by the way, the people it hits are sort of expendable anyway.

The GOP used to cite the danger that ObamaCare and more government control over health care might pose to vulnerable seniors. Now the message — of Donald Trump until recently, and many of his fans even today — is: hey, this coronavirus thing might kill some people … but not that many and it’s just old people anyway. Some have even said: why, these old folks should be willing to sacrifice themselves to get the economy going again! (Hi, Dan Patrick!)

And what is richly ironic about much of this is that the same people who want us to care so deeply about the misery that might result from the fall of the economy are the very same people who have shrugged off the deaths from coronavirus as a minor inconvenience, like the flu or car accidents. President Donald John Trump being one glaringly obvious example.

Now, a couple of points that shouldn’t need to be said, but it’s the Internet so of course I have to say them.

First: In no way am I minimizing the tragedy of suicide. Suicide and attempted suicide are horrible, awful things that have touched people close to me. I am not making light of them. It’s actually the fact that they are so awful, if you truly understand them, that makes the statements so shocking — and thus makes my point so vividly.

Second: Yes, I understand that public policy requires calculation about life and death, and that can sound horrifying but it’s necessary. I don’t need a troop of incels giving me the ACKSHUALLY treatment in the comments to understand that. Here’s the thing: if deaths and misery from coronavirus are going to be treated as components in an equation, that is equally true of the deaths and misery that result from economic dislocation. And if you don’t like the tone of someone saying: hey, sure, economic dislocation will kill some people, but to make an omelet you gotta break a few eggs then that should be a clue to you that when you speak about death and misery from coronavirus, you are going to rub a lot of people the wrong way if you seem to minimize it. So maybe realize that all human suffering is bad, and that to speak of it as though you are shrugging your shoulders dismissively while you speak is not a good look.

I don’t think people realize just how callous people on the right have sounded lately. It’s truly remarkable. And the ultimate expression of this is the fact that, for Donald Trump and his greatest sycophants like Bill Mitchell, literally the most important thing about whether hundreds of thousands of Americans die is whether the numbers will show that Trump did a good job. Trump: “So you’re talking about 2.2 million deaths, 2.2 million people from this. And so if we could hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000. It’s a horrible number, maybe even less —but to 100,000. So we have between 100 and 200,000, and we altogether have done a very good job.” And Bill Mitchell:

Bill MItchell Ghoul

This is what they care about.

These people are soulless ghouls and among the worst humanity has to offer.

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