Reason Roundup

Zoom Is Keeping Pandemic-Stricken America Connected. Cue Congress's Tech Panic.

Plus: Court upholds Texas abortion ban, Americans say they're choosing to stay at home, a doctor's view on hydroxychloroquine, and more...

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Videoconferencing technology has been helping to keep people connected, employed, and semi-sane in these unprecedented times. Zoom has emerged as a crowd favorite since the COVID-19 pandemic's start, quickly gaining ground on old-school competitors like Skype, Google Hangouts, and Apple's FaceTime. So, of course, tech-panicky politicians want to interfere.

This time, the theatrics are coming courtesy of congressional Democrats and state attorneys generaltwo groups skilled at taking social ills and science problems and turning them into self-promotional opportunities.

"Virtual conferencing platform Zoom is facing the prospect of mounting legal threats in Washington after a slew of prominent Democratic lawmakers urged federal regulators Tuesday to investigate its privacy and security lapses," reports Politico's Cristiano Lima.

Those calling for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate Zoom include Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Frank Pallone (N.J.), and Jan Schakowsky (Ill.).

In statements to Politico, spokespeople for Bennet and Klobuchar expressed vague concerns about Zoom user "privacy and security." Brown put his thoughts in a letter last week.

Stories about lax data privacy practices, leaked videos, and hacked meetings have made the news recently, and these are certainly worth keeping a media and privacy watchdog spotlight on. But the political impulse we're witnessing—broadly accuse first, find evidence later (maybe)is a dangerous one.

In Washington, independent and supposedly neutral investigations by federal regulators have a way of turning into congressional witch hunts when bureaucrats bring back results legislators don't like.

An FTC spokesperson told Politico the agency shares "concerns about the need to ensure the privacy and security of videoconferencing systems in light of their central importance during this crisis" but could not comment on specifics with regard to Zoom.

Attorneys general in Connecticut, Florida, and New York are also part of a group effort seeking information and company data from Zoom.

For its part, Zoom notes that it "was built primarily for enterprise customers—large institutions with full IT support," and that "usage of Zoom has ballooned overnight," from a maximum of 10 million daily meeting participants in December 2019 to more than 200 million per day in March. In the shift, "we recognize that we have fallen short of the community's—and our own—privacy and security expectations," wrote CEO Eric S. Yuan in a post laying out steps the company is taking to fix that.

Certainly, government officials and anyone conducting sensitive business should avoid free Zoom calls and other insecure communications platforms (which includes, of course, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and their ilk, too). And if Zoom proves incapable of keeping its promises to do better, consumers can, should, and will move on.

But scaring up too much fear about Zoom privacy issues at the moment is silly. Those of us using the service for cross-country family hangouts, idle chats with old friends, exercise classes, virtual happy hours, and other mundane purposes face little significant threat, and certainly no more than we do on other mass-use social media and communications services.

The bottom line: Calls to investigate Zoom right now are being driven by a need for politicians to seem like they're "doing something" (anything) in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. But while officials are right to be wary of using Zoom for government business, they're probably just being melodramatic busybodies about the rest.

See Also: Eugene Volokh on "Zoombombing and the Law."


FOLLOWUP

A federal court has upheld Texas' temporary ban on surgical abortion:


FREE MINDS

Eight in 10 Americans support stay-at-home orders. From a HuffPost/YouGov survey conducted last weekend:

An 81% majority of the public says it's currently the right decision for states to tell residents to stay at home unless they have an essential reason for going out. Just 8% say it's the wrong decision. An even broader 89% say they are personally trying to stay home as much as possible, with only 6% saying they're not making any such effort.

More here.


FREE MARKETS

Doctors, not politicians, should decide whether hydroxychloroquine is appropriate for COVID-19 patients, writes Jeffrey A. Singer, who has been a practicing clinical physician for more than 35 years. Adds Singer:

What I've seen about hydroxychloroquine makes me cautiously optimistic. Doctors should not be prohibited from using their best clinical judgment and recommending it to patientsespecially considering the fact that these drugs have been around for a long time, which means we are familiar with their risks and complications. The government should stay out of this and let clinicians practice medicine, provided they get their patients' informed consent. Patients have a fundamental right to try drugs they think may save their lives. Doctors they consult must be free to give patients their best advice, unencumbered by government overseers.

Read the whole thing here.


QUICK HITS

  • In New York, "the state budget that leaders are now finalizing would allow judges to ban individuals convicted of some sex crimes in mass transit from using the system for up to three years," Politico reports.
  • An update from Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.), who was diagnosed with COVID-19 last month:

  • Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance tackles common-on-the-right coronavirus myths here:

  • LOL/sigh:

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NEXT: The Federal Government's "Police Power" and the Takings Clause: Part III (Updated)

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  1. Hello fist

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    1. Hello.

      81%, eh?

      There’s your problem.

      1. Yeah, not exactly a shining endorsement of a libertarian moment coming soon.

        1. I read that as 81% of people would snitch on Ann Frank.

          1. it’s pretty disenheartening.

          2. 51% would have been enough. dayenu.

      2. More than likely 81% think it’s a good idea that everyone else gets locked up.

      3. There’s your problem.

        Presumably, 2 mos. ago, a majority of that 81% felt that open borders was a good idea.

        1. I wouldn’t be surprised if that same majority still does.
          Leftist is psychotic, even when it calls itself “libertarian”

  2. “A pandemic is not a war.”

    So we might win then?

    1. Until the media changes boats midstream and Jane Fonda visits the virions (Fascist fucking antibodies).

  3. The Trump administration wants an extra $250 billion for small-business loans.

    The Kushners have various mom and pop holdings.

    1. Did you see MSNBC have a guest on talking about how this whole Covid response is a means to get Jared and Ivanka into a lifetime presidency role?

      1. The elite really have become everyone’s paranoid, conspiracy-minded uncle.

        1. The elite really have become everyone’s paranoid, conspiracy-minded uncle.

          Until their man gets elected again. Then, nobody will have heard of Jeffrey Epstein again and POTUS approving foreign donations to the SOS’s Foundation is how the FF meant for the emoluments clause to be applied.

      2. That’s what’s important, Jesse. What a talking head on the boob tube says. Not that the president has his inept and conflicted 17 ways from Sunday son in law running pandemic response. Don’t worry, he’s all about taking care of DC and the king’s men at the expense states, a very libertarian position:

        “The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile,” he said. “It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.”

        -Some Dumbass Who Doesn’t Know the U.S.A. is made of STATES

        1. Cry more liar.

        2. Oh look. It’s more innuendo and implying from DOL, with nary an example in sight.

          1. It doesn’t even make sense – just a confused ramble

        3. You ran away yesterday dear. Why?

  4. In New York, “the state budget that leaders are now finalizing would allow judges to ban individuals convicted of some sex crimes in mass transit from using the system for up to three years…”

    So go jerk off in an Uber instead, pervert.

  5. Anyone else miss Harsanyi?

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/the-lefts-ugly-reaction-to-hydroxychloroquine/

    His article on the media, including Reason, and a certain malaria drug.

    1. Evolution of media’s anti-Trump hydroxychloroquine spin would leave even Darwin dizzy:

      1) Trump giving Americans false hope.​

      2) Trump peddling snake oil.​

      3) Trump made couple drink fish tank cleaner.​

      4) Hydroxychloroquine might, maybe, be helpful.​

      Next up:

      5) Trump is in it for money. He’s got $100 of Sanofi stock in one of his mutual funds. If things go well, say he triples his position, Trump will be taking in upwards of $300.

      1. I’ve already seen comments alluding to Trump having stock and is profiting.

        Also CBS this morning claiming H.O.Ch. is not testing well while having a doctor on claiming it is testing well. they can’t make up their minds. Trump has them running like fenced in
        chickens

        1. Another reminder that Trump could have avoided all the criticisms of profiteering by divesting.

          1. But all the senators that sold out are cool.

          2. Or people could not be so stupid and understand what mutual funds are.

            But you actually probably know what they are, you’re just being dishonest.

            1. He doesn’t give a shit about mutual funds. DOL is paid to come here and lie, so that is what he does.

    2. Yes. Frankly I’m amazed that he lasted as long as he did around here, being a real libertarian. I imagine a lot of his material must have Welchie Boy and the rest of the gang grinding their teeth in fury.

  6. Who knew the models being used to decry lockdowns were bullshit?

    Overall US:
    -# of deaths projected decreased from 93,531 to 81,766
    -Projected total bed shortage went from 87,674 to 36,654
    -Peak dates(April 15 for resource needed peak, 16th for peak daily death toll) unchanged
    -Under 200 deaths a day: Moved from June 3 to May 18

    And today the projection on deaths moved to 60k, under the 2017 flu death count. Glad we shut things down for this.

    Of course Fauci was on t.v. claiming it was his policies that saved us, not that the models were bad.

    https://www.redstate.com/joesquire/2020/04/07/the-models-havent-been-wrong-we-just-did-better/

    1. I wonder what assumptions in the model are changing? If it’s the rate of infection, that would at least lead some credence to the theory that distancing is helping. If it’s case fatality rate, then we should call BS on the claim.

      Of course none of the stories I’ve seen explain those details. I’m sure that’s a feature, not a bug.

      1. I’m sure the COVID-19 analog of “The 9/11 Commission Report” will explain *everything*.

      2. The models have been running unbelievably hot. You can look at the early spread rates and the models are more than 500% higher than reality. This is because models reflect assumptions built into the model. When you have a bad data, the assumptions control the model more than the data does. Most of the models come from pandemic centers that are more focused on pessimistic views of pandemic growths. They will always be pessimistic.

        1. The general public doesn’t understand models and appeals to the authority of those pushing the models. In general, even they probably don’t understand that models are inherently flawed. Especially when dealing with novel viruses that we don’t really have much information on yet. The models are built upon assumptions that you can only hope to refine with empirical data as it becomes available.

          Some of the most value probably comes in understanding where the model is wrong in the face of new data, and what assumptions have to change. Or course, non of the talking heads experts on TV ever tell us those facts, either because they really don’t understand it either, or because they don’t want us to know.

        2. The problem is that these models poorly account for the fact that Rate of Infection is variable. The rate is different between New York where everyone is crammed on top of one another and California, where most live in single-family dwellings. Even in lock-down mode, the rate is different in California where most people can stockpile, and shop at large grocery stores, vs New York City where people rarely have more than a couple days of food, and shop in cramped corner stores.

          The rate is also non-linear. In a given population, the virus will not just spread and spread. Sometimes even in a city, a cluster of people will have so little contact with another cluster, that rate of infection tops out and cannot cross to another.

          This is the very definition of complexity. The Santa Fe institute has built an entire school around complex systems. Modeling complex systems is very difficult, and microbiologists and epidemiologists do not have the skills to do it well.

        3. the models have multiple x multiple variables which none of them can be set which makes it an unsolvable equation so they are left with only guesses and no one is going to get credit for guessing on the low end since someone might die.

      3. Assumption of mean social contacts per person would be my guess.

        But no, all the science illiterates around here will loudly proclaim they were right all along, ignoring much higher case fatality and reproduction rates and the the extreme measures taken to tamp down the spread.

        Reading Freedompatrioteagle.net is just as good as 12 years of schooling and decades of practice, doncha know?

        1. Looks like you got the covid real bad, and the fever has damaged your brain to the point you can only manage confused, Bidenesque outbursts

        2. You prove over and over to have no schooling dummy. And as a hiring manager as part if my job, I have hired almost no doctorates because what they think they know is less than those who were able to get a job after just a B.S. especially true of ivy leagues. Ivy league doctorates are worthless in practice.

    2. Thanks, Trump!

      See, that’s the dilemma for the Left – if the coronavirus doesn’t turn out to be a resurgence of the Black Death, they’re either going to have to admit Trump was right to say it wasn’t as big a threat as they were predicting or that Trump saved millions of lives with his actions. Which is why they’re cheering for the Black Death, they’d rather have millions of dead littering the streets than to have to admit Trump might have been right.

      Of course we know they’ll take the other option – push the narrative that we survived the viral Holocaust despite Trump’s best efforts to kill us all and Trump was totally wrong and totally useless every step of the way.

      1. Somewhere there is a Vizio flowchart with all the potential scenarios you have mentioned being distributed to the correct people

      2. But Trump has been totally wrong every step of the way. That’s not even up for debate. Do I need to post the Trump corona timeline again? He literally called it wrong every fucking time.

        It was contained, it was going to disappear magically, it was going to go away by Easter, it was a hoax, no wait I knew it was a pandemic before anyone else, I was too distracted to deal with it because of impeachment (but not distracted for 4 golf trips and 3 or 4 brownshirt rallies), and last, but not least, “I don’t take responsibility at all.”

        I get that Dems are bad too. But Trump distorting the Truth constantly is incredibly erosive to the long term ability of our country to exist. Just look around here, you have LC1789 living in a another universe that is only tangentially connected to reality. That is a problem. The president endorsing literal fake news and spinning his own lies, misinformation, and passing the buck is a huge problem. Trump is a poor leader. He simply does not have the right stuff. He is good at self promotion and shamelessness, but that doesn’t work when it comes to forces of nature.

        1. You realize nobody respects you, right?
          Hell, criticism from a source such as yourself is pretty damn good endorsement

    3. You mean forcing everyone to stay indoors has decreased the spread of a viral disease? Who would have thought.

      1. “Nah, those nerds were wrong again! Heh Heh, fucking faggy nerds talking all smart.” – Trumpists.

        1. Who called anyone a faggy nerd?

          1. De espresso

    4. Would you please STFU until tomorrow? I’m about to score a free room @ The Palace Hotel and I don’t need anyone letting the cat out of the bag

    5. “Of course Fauci was on t.v. claiming it was his policies that saved us, not that the models were bad.”

      Sounds like there’s a great way to test that theory, given there’s no real cure, vaccine, or widespread immunity to the bug. I’m ready to give it a go.

      The deaths are tragic. But like the most apocalyptic global warming predictions, the worst death toll predictions rely on exponential growth and crazy feedback mechanisms that we’re just not seeing.. 100,000 dead people is tragic, as I said, and China needs to pay, some way, some how. But it’s not so much worse than a really bad flu season that we need to flirt with causing another Great Depression in order to stop it.

      1. We are seeing exponential growth, and we already saw exponential growth. That’s how this thing went from one guy in China to 1mm confirmed cases globally in a few months. C’mon guys. Don’t be this dumb.

        See how the slope of this graph keeps arching upward, getting steeper and steeper? That’s exponential growth: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

        1. Nah. We’re seeing growth—2,000-ish US deaths yesterday was the biggest day so far—but we’re not seeing GROWTH. The model I was looking at, before it got revised like the others, was predicting around 4K deaths per day, ‘erry day, at this point. And going on up. That isn’t happening.

          Even the discredited models that got everyone scared think that the peak of this will be sometime in mid-May. That’s not all that long to rack up a really apocalyptic death toll. Call it 40 days, at 3k on average a day. I’m not sold that the death rate is going to zoom higher than that.

          Hell it may even drop. But at 3k/day, that’s ‘only’ 120 thousand dead on top of what we have now. And the vast majority of those are projected to occur. I’m not having a great deal of faith in projections now.

          Worse than a bad flu season (80k morts), bad, really bad, but not the 1-2 million we were sold as the reason for treating Americans like they were inmates at Club Fed, and there was a riot going on. The vulnerable should stay home. Everyone else wear a mask out. Let’s figure out just who has had this, and let’s get back to work.

          1. Any excuse for the progs to take over and create a State Economy, with nothing but Daddy Gov left

        2. That’s not how exponential growth works, you idiot–if it was actually happening that way, IHME wouldn’t have had to ramp back their data predictions after the fact.

      2. Didn’t mean to call you “dumb”. Poor choice of words.

        I do agree that we will have to let people who are able to venture out at some point, sooner than later, and definitely before a vaccine will be ready.

        1. I do mean to call you a liar. It’s the perfect choice of words.

        2. “we will have to let people who are able to venture out at some point,”

  7. National Review‘s Kevin D. Williamson on the latest flavor of Catholic-integralist authoritarianism (sorry, “common-good constitutionalism”)…

    Beyond the The Atlantic‘s circle jerk piece, is this actually a thing anyone believes?

    1. No one believed CV19 would sweep across this country killing billions; until it did.

    2. Reading that article was like eating whole wheat pancakes. About halfway through I stopped & started googling ENB nudes

      1. Wait: do you actually think ENB is in any way attractive, or were you just looking to punish yourself for reading half the article?

  8. Government or blackface had a press conference on how to use a face mask. He chose a black facemask.

    https://pjmedia.com/trending/whoops-ralph-northam-demonstrates-social-distancing-with-blackface-mask/

    1. Governor* stupid AC. not to be confused with AOC.

      1. how does this fucker still have a job?

        1. He has a “D” beside his name…or was that rhetorical?

    2. Love the expression on the interpreters’ face.

    3. It’s clearly dark green, but you gotta strettttttcchhhhhhh sometimes. Awesome source, btw. Totally balanced media diet there, breitbart and PJ media.

      1. NBC Washington originally tweeted it out dumbass.

        Nice of you to defend Governor Black Face that thinks it’s cool to murder babies at birth though. Just another shining example of your neutrality.

  9. I have been retested and I am negative. I have started volunteering at a local hospital to assist those in my community who are in need of medical help, including Coronavirus patients.

    HE’S IMMUNE NOW. Get his blood!

    1. The world needs Rene Boucher now more than ever.

  10. Time to remind people… all models are wrong, some are useful.

    The covid models are not useful.

    Jesse McKinley

    @jessemckinley
    .@NYGovCuomo’s aide Jim Malatras says the projections are now showing that the state unlikely to need 110,000 beds for #Coronavirus.

    New projections show MUCH LOWER demand, near 20,000-30,000 range if the new chart is believed.

    1. It is amazing how scaled back all of those predictions are now. And doing yeoman work on memory-holing the gigantic earlier predictions.

      Since the predicted effects of this thing have been scaled back, any chance on scaling these restrictions back too?

      1. It is remarkable, absolutely unprecedented that a viral infection would slow down if everyone stays home. Clearly that means the threat wasn’t even real to begin with. Mass graves in Iran are just part of the global deep state dem hoax. The1900 Americans dying yesterday were all in on it.

        1. So why did IHME ramp back their “projected” numbers on 5 April for days that they had already predicted massive resource needs? You know, the same models that included assumptions of social distancing before they changed the figures?

  11. Eight in 10 Americans support stay-at-home orders are easily controlled pussies.

    FTFY

    1. Or just lying so they aren’t raided by SWAT in the middle of the night.

    2. Make that eight in ten humans since forever.

      As for Americans, you think the founders crafted a republic with limited democracy just because they had no better options?

    3. or like a break from work paid for by others

    4. From near the bottom of the HuffPo article:

      “The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted April 3-4 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.”

      Note the “opt-in online panel”. These are self-selected individuals rather than a true random sampling, regardless of whether they’re balanced to represent US demographics. The poll might be informative, or it might be way off the mark.

      My own baseless guess is that only 5 or 6 in 10 Americans are easily controlled pussies…

  12. …the anti-smoking lobby thinks COVID-19 justifies the complete and permanent prohibition of cigarettes.

    Is there anything that can’t be prevented at the end of a state agent’s gun?

    1. Wouldn’t it be easier to ban viruses?

      1. Virus’s don’t know borders!!! they deserve stimulus checks!!!

        1. Virii? Hate uncommon plurals.

          1. What about unneeded apostrophes?

            1. Those are fine, since my kid is in first grade and I’m now immune to random apostrophes. Waiting patiently for comma overuse as well.

          2. Viruses, no Latin plural.

    2. Is there anything that can’t be prevented at the end of a state agent’s gun?

      Death?

  13. https://reason.com/2020/04/08/how-the-cdc-and-the-fda-wrecked-the-economy/

    I responded in the comments of the above article, but the idea that the CDC and FDA were the sole cause of the US wrecking its economy when it is doing better than Europe, and implementing the same changes is bizarre. And Sollum’s lack of introspection is so tone deaf as to be insulting.

    1. Was there any mention of the “N”GOs like Imperial college and Gates’ IHME making outlandish and false projections?

  14. Singer John Prine has died from COVID-19.

    Oh no, not John Pine!

    Who the hell is John Pine?

    1. Never heard of him.

      1. John isn’t one of those folks who sold millions of records. But as a singer/songwriter, he is respected by a lot of people. His duets with Bonnie Raitt are probably the best-known of his work.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaHNUYAKDn4

    2. He’s the guy who put out the new Pine Box Album
      .
      .
      .
      (OK, I’ll see myself out)

      1. ba-dum-tsh

    3. John Pine (1690–1756) was an English designer, engraver, and cartographer notable for his artistic contribution to the Augustan style and Newtonian scientific paradigm that flourished during the British Enlightenment.

      1. For those who read the article;
        John Prine (October 10, 1946 – April 7, 2020) was an American country folk singer-songwriter.
        The album included his signature songs “Illegal Smile”.

      2. …and upon further analysis was determined to be a victim of the 2019-2020 Coronavirus pandemic and thus is the latest to be included in the mounting death toll.

    4. At least we still have Lou Reed.

  15. What I’ve seen about hydroxychloroquine makes me cautiously optimistic. Doctors should not be prohibited from using their best clinical judgment and recommending it to patients…

    HE’S MAGA.

    1. As he often does, President Donald Trump uttered an untruth at a March 13 White House coronavirus task force briefing.

      Nah, in the first sentence of that article he took a minor jab at Trump, therefore he clearly suffers from TDS.

      1. Stealth MAGA is the worst kind of MAGA.

  16. Can we stop calling someone using a public web link to get into a zoom session.. hacking?

    1. preach it. But as far as politicians know, hacking is when you quickly type something in front of two screens while matrix-style numbers and letters flick in and out. Remember Die Hard 4 where bad guys are able to magically hack all the things instantly with the power of the internet according to Hollywood? yeah, that’s the level of computer expertise we’re talking here.

  17. “But the political impulse we’re witnessing—broadly accuse first, find evidence later (maybe)—is a dangerous one.”

    Like with impeachment?

    1. And Kavanaugh rape?
      And Covington Cathloic hate crime?
      And literally World War III over Suleimani?

      1. And “MAGA madmen lynched Smollet”?
        And CNN’s bogus Don Jr. emails scoop?
        And “Trump’s a Russian spy”?
        And Trump said neo-Nazis were “fine people”?
        And “Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress”?

        1. And Salem witch trials?

          And pretty much all human personal and tribal attacks since we learned how to put three words together?

          1. We were just going with the ones Reason itself was guilty of

  18. Trump is only mentioned twice! Dawn of a new era?

    1. Just like with lil jeffrey, they occasionally have a neutral article so they can claim neutrality.

      1. A pH of 1 is neutral on Jeff’s indicator…
        Probably because he’s broken.

        1. No it’s because he’s a dishonest piece of shit.

          1. Although he is also broken.

  19. I appreciate all the best wishes I have received. I have been retested and I am negative. I have started volunteering at a local hospital to assist those in my community who are in need of medical help, including Coronavirus patients. Together we will overcome this!

    That’s all well and good, Mr. Paul, but our bravest heroes are working tirelessly day and night to stoke outrage on twitter. They deserve recognition too.

    1. Countdown to some lefty blue checkmark calling out Rand for grandstanding by volunteering.

  20. An even broader 89% say they are personally trying to stay home as much as possible…

    Sounds like the stay-at-home order isn’t necessary after all.

    1. to be fair, the 30% of introverts haven’t changed their behaviors at all.

      1. Not to mention retirees whose children are grown and gone.
        “All” that has changed is that we cannot go out for a decent meal, go to our gym to keep fit and healthy, gather at weekly functions such as craft groups, playtesting new games by a local but internationally known game designer, attend community chorus rehearsal, go to a movie, go to an amusement park, get a haircut, get a mani-pedi, shop for groceries without damn near full decontamination procedures, use any of the community facilities that enticed us to this community (pools, tennis, bocce, shuffleboard, fishing dock, handball court, library, billiard room, volleyball, basketball, etc), and enjoy (allegedly) constitutional freedoms.
        Other than that, no big deal.
        Oh, yes, and despite all the precautions, we will still die.

        1. I’ve taken up walking around the neighborhood. Started with a mile a day. Now I’m up to four. Lost five pounds in the last three weeks. So quit your bitchin about the gym being closed and get outside!

          1. You can also do push-ups, sit-ups, burpies, jog in place, yoga if that’s more your thing, all kinds of exercises that require nothing more than a few square feet of empty floor space. Between that and eating more home cooked meals instead of takeout or the dreaded fast food, I’ve also lost at least 5 lbs in the last 2-3 weeks.

            1. You can also do push-ups, sit-ups, burpies

              I’m working up to that. One new habit at a time. Tired of being single. Time to shed some fat and build some muscle.

              1. Not that it matters right now. “Hey babe, wanna hang out six feet away? Your mask or mine? Let’s get take-out and eat in separate cars!” Yeah. Sure.

                1. Look on the bright side: you’ll probably have plenty of time to get in better shape before the government allows dating to resume.

                  1. True. By the time mingling is allowed I will be able to change my profile from “average” to “athletic.”

                    1. By then, all restaurants will be Taco Bell. Oh, and we still won’t be allowed to touch each other.

                      Congrats on the healthy habits. We walk around our neighborhood in the pre-dawn hours. Neat seeing and hearing wildlife, possums, raccoons, and the odd coyote. Haven’t yet seen a mtn lion or gator.

                    2. My profile is already athletic. Sumo is a sport, right?

                    3. Sumo is a sport, right?

                      Glad I’m done with my coffee or I’d have made a mess on my keyboard and monitors.

                    4. Neat seeing and hearing wildlife, possums, raccoons, and the odd coyote.

                      Nice! I’m usually up at 5. Think I will start doing one of my walks before taking a shower.

            2. Shadow boxing is also recommended. Few times a week I jump rope, shadow box, and do drills for mobility/conditioning from when I used to box.
              Honestly might be net positive for my activity considering how much time I’ve spent desk bound at work.

              1. Boxing is fn exhausting.
                Good call

        2. Hardware stores here are still open. Things around the house and yard have been getting fixed or otherwise improved at a disturbingly productive pace.

      2. Libertarians lie in the 8% slice of the Venn diagram that don’t need government to tell them to stay home and avoid people.

      3. I resemble that remark.

        1. Interestingly, I find myself more likely to go out and shop just to defy the government orders. I guess my anarchist streak is stronger than my introvert tendencies.

          1. I’ve considered putting a bandanna over my nose, donning the Ray Bans and a hoodie, and then going to the store. People would probably feel more comfortable with seeing me like that than not. I find that to be fucking hilarious for some odd reason.

            1. I know I must be old now because it bothers me that people are embracing the bandana masks. In my day, we only wear those to throw tear bombs at Wall Street fat cats. Damn kids.

              1. In my day, we only wear those to throw tear bombs at Wall Street fat cats.

                Were they salty ham tear bombs?

                1. Yes, we shed those tears for the People…while simultaneously blocking traffic and breaking windows to prevent the People from going about their lives and jobs. They would thank us later.

          2. “Interestingly, I find myself more likely to go out and shop just to defy the government orders. I guess my anarchist streak is stronger than my introvert tendencies.”

            Yea, I’m kind of with you there.
            I’ve found myself going out more often, taking the dog for longer walks, started biking

          3. One the one hand I’m the same way- I WANT to make it a point to go out more and do things as much or more than I normally would. And early on in this, I did. But now I find even going to the grocery store or Walmart totally bums me out simply because I am forced to look at all the safety theater. Signs reminding me that the state emperor says I need to stay 6 feet away from everyone, marks on the floor where we are all required to stand like good little boys and girls, plastic shielding in front of cashiers… it just enrages me at a core level to see everyone apparently buying into this. If you are not an old person in an urban county (or a VERY old person in a suburban county) you have essentially ZERO statistical risk. Why are people so fucking stupid? I’m seriously a lot more concerned about having a rage stroke during this “epidemic” than anything to do with the Wuhan Flu.

          4. >>shop just to defy the government orders

            been doing this every day. the empty streets are lovely.

      4. Thats me, live alone and work alone and my hobbies like fishing can be done alone

        1. Just me and my good Buddy Weiser, that’s all I ever need.

    2. This is one of my biggest objections to the legal clamp downs. Needlessly using force to achieve what people were going to comply with any way turns this from “individual action” to “creepy soviet police state”.

      1. Exactly. We didn’t need government to tell us to stay home. Inasmuch as we’ve allowed the CDC to be the experts, government owes us nothing more than to provide us with the best information to make our own personal decisions. There’s very little evidence that shows that young, healthy people who don’t have high-risk individuals at home need to be in quarantine.

        Government imposed one-size-fits-all policy is never as effective as individual decisions. You know, the whole concept of free markets.

      2. The East German Stasi would have been so proud of LA Mayor Garcetti.

  21. But scaring up too much fear about Zoom privacy issues at the moment is silly. Those of us using the service for cross-country family hangouts, idle chats with old friends, exercise classes, virtual happy hours, and other mundane purposes face little significant threat, and certainly no more than we do on other mass-use social media and communications services.

    Yeah, once you’ve got Google and Facebook and the NSA teaming up to track your every move and distributing the information to everybody that wants it, what difference does one more watcher make?

  22. …spokespeople for Bennet and Klobuchar expressed vague concerns about Zoom user “privacy and security.”

    With this being the new normal, there’s a dearth of old normal problems to invent to solve.

    1. I saw a State Farm ad about “the new normal”. That mindset, as opposed to (say) “a temporary crisis”, seems problematic.

      1. A lot of new commercials coming out about covid and #stayathome.
        Looks like ad agencies have been deemed “essential”

        1. all those film crews and actors getting together without mask on and not social distancing to mack commercials to cow tow to the government BS. i wouldn’t be surprised if the government was subsidizing much of it just like they would do during WWII

      2. But approved by the other State.

      3. That mindset, as opposed to (say) “a temporary crisis”, seems problematic.

        To say the least. It’s almost like they’re trying to condition us to used to the idea of the government being able to tell us when and where we can move around to.

        1. “It’s almost like they’re trying to condition us to used to the idea of the government being able to tell us when and where we can move around to.”

          Yep. These are some neat toys that our elders and betters have found. They’re not going to forget where they dropped them, once this current crisis abates. If it ever does.

  23. Declaring war on abstractions and inanimate objects has become a bad habit

    Quick! Declare war on declaring war on abstractions and inanimate objects!

  24. A federal court has upheld Texas’ temporary ban on surgical abortion…

    Coronavirus fascism spares no one. (Well, except in this specific case you know who.)

    1. In 1939 it was fascist to abort predominantly black babies. In 2020 it’s apparently fascist not to.

      1. I heard someone make the argument “it’s racist to close down abortions because mostly minorities need them”
        2020!

        1. It’s funny, because the “right-wing” Klan members KNOW they’re racists and are PROUD of it.

          The left-wingers don’t know how racist they are nor can they understand how their policies encouraging a disproportionate number of minority babies to be aborted is somehow interpreted as racist…

    2. Orange Hitler?

      1. The unborn, which might very well include the second coming of Hitler.

  25. We will miss you, John Prine. One of America’s great troubadours.

  26. “Virtual conferencing platform Zoom is facing the prospect of mounting legal threats in Washington after a slew of prominent Democratic lawmakers urged federal regulators Tuesday to investigate its privacy and security lapses,” reports Politico’s Cristiano Lima.

    The government certainly knows about privacy and security lapses

  27. “An 81% majority of the public says it’s currently the right decision for states to tell residents to stay at home unless they have an essential reason for going out.”

    If you ever wondered why a Constitution is necessary, well, look no further.

    1. But just like Trump signing “veto-proof” spending bills, we have to accept it because stay at home orders are apparently amendment proof.

      1. Feel free to defy it, leo.
        If you can gather a large enough armed group to do so, I’ll join in

    2. Just remember, in the post 9-11 panic, a majority of Americans approved if not demanded the “enhanced” airport security theater ultimately manifest in the TSA. And approval was highest among people who did not fly.

      1. Im sure the majority supported burning witches too.

    3. “If you ever wondered why a Constitution is necessary, well, look no further.”

      I love the new meme involving the signing of the Constitution, and George Washington pointing out, “Y’all know this shit doesn’t apply if there’s a virus.”

      1. But of course the founding fathers couldn’t have foreseen an epidemic infectious disease like COVID-19!

        Anyway, they were all mentally hobbled from the small pox, cholera, typhus, measles, influenza, and yellow fever…

  28. Libertarians opposing tech firms actually securing user data. Man, ENB, take off the pussy hat and join the world.

    1. Um, no. Thank you for playing.

    2. Yes. That’s precisely what’s happening here…

  29. “Doctors, not politicians, should decide whether hydroxychloroquine is appropriate for COVID-19 patients”

    The reason politicians make these decisions is because the professional organization [union] that represents doctors and lobbies Congress wants it that way.

    If the American Medical Association wanted doctors to take on the extra liability for prescribing medications this way, that’s the way it would be. Actually, it’s probably worse than that. If a doctor orders a prescription incorrectly, it’s often the pharmacist that fills the prescription who is legally to blame. Your doctor has an app on his phone that tells him which pharmaceuticals are legally approved for which diagnoses and symptoms, and while there are a number of reasons for that, the primary purpose is so that he or she or the provider they’re working for can avoid legal liability.

    In short, if and when doctors criticize politicians for the results of the rent seeking behavior of the union that represents them, it is a diversion. It’s like UAW members blaming the management at Ford for the high cost of pension benefits for retired auto workers. See through that bullshit. The reason doctors can’t prescribe what they want is mostly because the union that represents them wants it that way. Yes, voters should hold politicians to task for failing to resist the rent-seeking, but doctors should do the same with the union that represents them.

    1. “Patients, not doctors or politicians should decide whether hydroxychloroquine is appropriate for themselves.”

      Fixed that.

  30. Is it just me or does anyone else see people pitching tents in their yards? I’ve seen a dozen at least as I’ve been walking around the neighborhood lately. At first I thought it was kids having fun, but one of my coworkers suggested it could be health care workers. I dunno.

    1. Have they shut down the homeless shelters to enforce “social distancing” among the homeless? If so, could be hobos. And depending on where you live the homeowners may not be legally allowed to make them leave.

    2. Around here, likely kids having fun.

    3. I have an acquaintance that works in healthcare that is staying in a camper in the driveway.

    4. Health care workers are the primary spreaders of this shit. They should be the ones in a hard quarantine. Especially if we have to worship them for their sacrifice.

  31. When people decide it’s time to bail companies or industries out, one of the arguments you always hear is that there really is no other option because the alternative would be worse.

    We’re probably about to see what the alternative looks like in the movie theater business.

    “Creditors of the beleaguered and debt-ridden AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE:AMC) have hired lawyers that specialize in debt restructuring projects.

    According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter,” the lenders have retained the services of veteran interational law firm Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher to advise them on expected talks about restructuring.”

    https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/04/01/report-amc-entertainment-creditors-hire-restructur.aspx

    AMC’s subordinated bonds were already trading at a fraction of their face value, meaning that creditors already expected AMC to default. The bailout arguments are typically that the fallout from companies like AMC defaulting would hit lenders and creditors so hard, it would have a devastating impact on the economy at large. The central problem with that assumption is that it ignores the fact that whatever agreement AMC and its creditors come to, it will minimize the economic impact of the default whereas a bailout will maximize that impact.

    AMC will do whatever it can to avoid liquidation of its assets, and the last thing those creditors want is to kill AMC as an ongoing enterprise and end up with a bunch of toxic, non-performing assets on their balance sheets –like a bunch of empty theaters in a bunch of empty malls. If AMC’s creditors refuse to compromise, AMC will probably use liquidation through bankruptcy court as a threat. AMC’s creditors will likely get a better deal through negotiations with AMC than they will through liquidation because after a liquidation, AMC’s creditors will only get what’s left after employees, vendors, lease commitments, taxes, and senior debt is paid.

    So long as a potential bailout is pending, however, the creditors have no incentive to make concessions. In the bailout of 2008, the government gave investors full face value for debt that had been trading for pennies on the dollar! Meanwhile, note the absolute value of the impact on the economy at large. If AMC’s creditors are owed $1 billion in debt on their face value but the market is currently trading that debt as if it’s worth only $500 million, then since we’re not stupid enough to fall for the sunk costs fallacy, we know that the worst that can happen is a $500 million impact on the economy if AMC defaults completely. The biggest possible negative drag on the economy at large happens if the government comes in and bails them out for the full $1 billion. That money comes out of future paychecks, future profits, future economic growth–that isn’t wrapped up in a failing industry.

    The people who risked their investment dollars by lending to AMC are the people who are best equipped to suffer the losses while having as small an impact on the rest of the economy as possible, but it should also be understood that the people who own that debt are also the people who are best equipped (and motivated) to negotiate a settlement with AMC that both maximizes their returns and keeps AMC as an ongoing enterprise.

    In short, liquidations through bankruptcy court suck, but refusing to bail out a company like AMC doesn’t mean that’s what will happen to them. Bankruptcy court may be more likely to liquidate the value of willing lenders’ subordinate debt than to liquidate the assets of an ongoing concern.

    1. Hollywood Reporter said last week’s box office take was like $5,000.00

      1. They’re doomed, or, I should say, they’re in for some serious innovating.

        1. Bob Iger suspiciously the smartest man in Hollywood.

    2. Bankruptcy courts are going to be slammed really soon. I expect a lot more e-filing and video conferencing, since I can’t see the courthouse opening any time soon. I wonder if there’s a way to virtually notarize documents and exhibits?

      In other news, the hospitality magnate, and owner of the Houston Rockets, Tilman Fertitta, announced a new debt offering from one of his companies, for 250 million dollars. 3 year notes, 2 years before he has to make payments, and a 4 percent discount to par….all at nearly 15 percent interest. It’s the highest spread from LIBOR that a non-bankrupt company has ever offered on its debt, in the historical records of Bloomberg News. https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2020-04-06/landry-s-brings-first-u-s-leveraged-loan-in-almost-a-month?

      I expect some sort of Chapter 11 filing soon. Or sale of the Rockets.

      1. It’s crazy some of the deals you could see.

        Wells Fargo’s forward yield was up near 8% a while ago.

        This isn’t a toxic asset/bad loan led recession.

        I’m not saying anybody should buy WFC, but I am saying you can get some crazy yields on blue chip companies right now, and the bid on a May 8 call is another 6% of that stock. If I can get that kind of cash out of a blue chip stock, she needs to offer more than 15% to get me interested.

  32. Aaaaaaaand Bernie goes out like a bitch

    1. This is the best news of the year, probably. No matter what the conservatarians on this site think, Democrats are going to win elections in the future. Further shifts in the party to the left are probably the greatest threat to liberty.

      1. We’re all Democrats now. No jobs, sitting at home watching TV, waiting on a government check.

      2. The Ds are totalitarian.
        Full stop.
        Bernie was useful for being direct about it.

  33. My company just banned the use of Zoom due to the alarming security flaws.

    1. My company just started using Zoom for all meetings.

      1. Which sucks. That means I’ve had to start wearing pants.

        1. Why? Does your company make you stand up during videoconferencing?

      2. I know, I’ve been listening in on your meetings as has everyone else. 🙂

    2. I used it to have a video conference with my relatives. Worked well, and they were happy for the contact. Putting a public link to the thing w/o user authentication (individual passwords tied to the attendee ID, something like that) is total clownshoes though.

  34. >>A federal court has upheld Texas’ temporary ban on surgical abortion

    sweet! babies are awesome. was there another Futurama reference in the opinion?

  35. By the way, where are all of our hysterical ninnies like JSlave? So weird that he’s decided to suddenly disappear!! NOOOOOOT.

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