HomeUncategorized4/3 Fire Drill Friday Open Thread
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Thanks for getting the ball rolling obf!

From the graph provided in the article, it looked like the highest unemployment rate in the Great Depression was 23%.


The jobless rate today is almost certainly higher than at any point since the Great Depression. We think it’s around 13 percent and rising at a speed unmatched in American history.

The labor market is changing so fast that our official statistics — intended to measure changes over months and years rather than days or weeks — can’t really keep up. But a few simple calculations can help piece together a reasonable approximation.

Be warned, these numbers yield an imprecise estimate of today’s unemployment rate, and the truth could easily be quite a lot higher or lower. This is not an estimate of the official unemployment rate for March, which reports the state of the economy a few weeks ago when the labor market was in better shape, nor is it a forecast for the official rate in April.

Given the many uncertainties involved, perhaps it’s better to say that unemployment has risen by 10 million to 20 million, which means that the unemployment rate is probably between 10 percent and 15 percent.

That might sound like an unsatisfyingly unclear conclusion, but it’s a product of how poorly our official statistics track labor market changes from day to day, and how rapidly the economy is shutting down.

Even with these caveats, it’s already clear that the rise in unemployment over the past few weeks has exceeded the rise during the entire year and a half of the last recession.

Looking ahead, if job losses continue at the same rate as in recent weeks, the unemployment rate will rise by nearly half a percentage point per day. To give some context, over our recent decade-long recovery, the unemployment rate has fallen roughly that much per year.



“We think business filings will see an uptick in April with consumer filings to surge in May and June,” said Amy Quackenboss, executive director at the American Bankruptcy Institute, a professional association comprised of lawyers for debtors and creditors, judges and other bankruptcy specialists.

The increase could take a bit longer because in times of crisis, “people don’t normally race off to file bankruptcy,” said John Rao, a National Consumer Law Center staff attorney specializing in consumer bankruptcy.

Still, “there is no question that given the effect of this pandemic, there will be an increase of bankruptcies. It’s really a question of when that rise will occur.”


always undercounted, too.

Don midwest
Don midwest

Thanks Don, keep a eye out for part 2



What started out as a valiant effort to provide Americans with paid sick leave during an unprecedented health care crisis has ended with a paltry measure that will barely cover anyone who is still working in the COVID-19 economy.

On Thursday, the Department of Labor published guidelines on the new paid sick leave and family leave provisions enacted last month as part of Congress’s second coronavirus relief act.

The measures in the law were already a watered-down version of what Democrats and advocates wanted: real paid time off for all workers who get sick, are quarantined, or have to care long-term for a family member who is sick or a child home due to a school closure.

Instead, the law made 10 days of paid sick time and 10 weeks more of longer-term leave available to those working at companies with fewer than 500 employees. Millions were left out.

Now the Department of Labor has further hollowed out those provisions. It’s totally exempting the estimated 9 million people who work in the health care industry ― from a doctor to a pharmacy clerk to a janitor in a hospital. These are workers who are most likely to be in contact with infected patients, at high risk of getting sick. And under the new law, they can’t get a guaranteed sick day.

“Thanks to Republican opposition, the steps we’ve taken on paid leave are inadequate in light of the crisis, and now, the Trump Administration is twisting the law to allow employers to shirk their responsibility and is significantly narrowing which workers are eligible for paid leave. This simply can’t stand,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in a statement slamming the “gratuitous loopholes.”

The new regulations give wide leeway to very small businesses, who can pretty much automatically bow out of providing longer-term leave to parents with kids at home from school.

Bottom line: Millions of more people ― including the workers who are most likely to come into contact with the coronavirus ― will be unable to do what the law intended to encourage: stay home if they’re sick and not be penalized for it.


More attacks on workers http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/22429/trump-mnuchin-airline-workers-cares-coronavirus-covid-19

America’s aviation workers won a huge victory in the CARES Act. In the bill, Congress created a grants program that funds paychecks and benefits for two million hourly workers who were going to lose their jobs while planes are grounded. This isn’t a no-strings-attached corporate bailout for airlines. The money goes directly to flight attendants, pilots, mechanics, cleaners, caterers, and wheelchair attendants, so that we can stay on the job, on our healthcare, and out of the unemployment line. It should be a model for how we help all workers impacted by coronavirus.

This bipartisan agreement for workers-first relief could go off the rails now. At the eleventh hour, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) tried to sabotage the program by requiring equity stakes in exchange for the payroll grants, i.e. “warrants.” A last-minute compromise to preserve relief for workers made such warrants entirely discretionary. On Capitol Hill, that’s what’s called a poison pill. In the bill, Congress intended that grants would actually be grants. But Trump Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, so far, has shown little inclination to respect the will of Congress. His public statements imply that in exchange for keeping workers on the payroll for six months, the federal government could take stake in up to 40% of the airlines.

Under those conditions, the airlines will almost assuredly refuse the grants. And it will cause more job losses than our industry has ever seen. If Secretary Mnuchin insists on conditions that airlines can’t agree to, a million workers will get a pink slip in the near term and a total of two million will feel the pain of an industry in collapse on President Trump’s watch. That’s the opposite of what Congress intended and what the President promised. The entire point of the relief bill is to save our jobs, keep people connected to their benefits, and make sure aviation is ready to take off the minute we have this virus under control.


I am actually for equity in the corpses.


I tend to agree with you PB. Maybe we could actually reform and implement some changes in these horrifically corrupt and inept corporations.

Is there any real risk that they won’t take the money and commit suicide? I would like to see analysis from someone who wasn’t trying to save their own skin.

Don midwest
Don midwest

Gov Como has daily briefings, but as Glenn Greenwald pointed out to me, he was horrible and is still horrible even with his daily media shows. Glenn reminds us of Giuliani who was well regarded after 9/11 but we now know him.

I bolded the second paragraph

Don’t be fooled, though: Cuomo has royally messed up the coronavirus outbreak, just like he has everything else. If you want an example of effective crisis leadership, look to Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee.

To begin with, the numbers don’t lie. New York state has thus far had the worst outbreak not just of any state, but of any place in the world. Its deaths have risen faster than any other sub-national region at an equivalent point in their outbreaks, even Lombardy, Italy and Madrid, Spain.

The title of the article tells what it is about.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is what real coronavirus leadership looks like

another quotation from the article. Note that Como’s budget includes cuts to medicade

“Now that the outbreak is extremely bad, New York’s hospitals are being overwhelmed. Few are more responsible for this than Cuomo, who has relentlessly hacked away at his state’s hospital capacity during his terms as governor. He pushed through repeated cuts to the state’s funding of Medicaid and vetoed a funding increase, which helped bankrupt several hospitals that served New York’s poorest residents. Several of them were subsequently turned into luxury housing developments, which was probably half the point. In sum, the state has lost about 20,000 hospital beds since 2000 — a trend that predated Cuomo but kept going under his watch. Even today Cuomo is still trying to push further Medicaid cuts, as hospitals face a completely unprecedented onslaught of work and costs.”


I would happily take Inslee over Biden any day of the week.




Her’s a musical contribution if I can make it happen. This is my first attempt to copy and paste from Youtube. Thanks to la58 and jcitybone for your instructions yesterday. I hope somebody else likes Van Morrison and Lonnie Donegan. Maybe later on I’ll figure out how to make the album covers appear. https://youtu.be/7xQxlQBjqSY


you might have to leave a line bw text and link. let’s see.



Here’s another Skiffle band:


I hadn’t seen that one before. Thanks.



Yet the coronavirus crisis backdrop has added an unprecedented level of chaos and uncertainty to the first big-state primary in three weeks. The momentum Biden built through March has been halted by the pandemic. But Sanders has also hit a wall — the massive crowds and organization that buoyed Sanders in 2016 have been sidelined. An outpouring of young voters helped propel Sanders in the waning days of the 2016 Wisconsin primary but there is a cloud over their expected turnout Tuesday.

“With universities moving to online teaching, we’re very uncertain what the turnout will be among younger voters. We can’t even be certain that they’re living in their college towns. For them, the hurdle of getting an absentee ballot and processing it is only an added layer,” Franklin said. “I’m confident that Biden has really surged and consolidated support, that’s clear in our data.”

While Franklin cautioned that the numbers could still wildly fluctuate given the conditions, a thrashing in Wisconsin could represent a devastating result for Sanders in a state that holds symbolic significance to his supporters. Sanders soared to victory in 2016 over Hillary Clinton before she went on to lose the state to Donald Trump by the narrowest of margins — an outcome that many Sanders supporters insist would have been different had Sanders been the Democratic nominee.

“It doesn’t feel like we’re in the middle of a presidential campaign here,” said state Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler. “People are trying to figure out how to get groceries safely and checking their mail for absentee ballots.”

While there’s some campaign activity over text messaging and digital organizing, campaigning and organizational efforts have been minimal, Democrats say.

“They’re very skeletal campaigns out here at the moment,” Guarasci said. “As far as I’ve seen, there’s not any television being run by either campaign. You’re not seeing these big megawatt fights for the state at the moment. It seems like that’s benefiting Biden.”

Angela Lang, director of Milwaukee-based Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, said she thinks the edge goes to Biden, but the de facto voter suppression from the coronavirus is disproportionately affecting black voters — a key part of the former vice president’s base. She also pointed to the devotion of Sanders’ backers. “There are strong Sanders supporters saying, ‘look, the primary’s not over. Let’s have our voices heard,’” she said.

“Look, anything could go with this election,” Lang cautioned. “It’s been turned on its head.”


Well this is good


Presidential candidate Joe Biden called Thursday for sanctions against Iran to be eased to slow the spread of COVID-19, which has ravaged a healthcare system already devastated by U.S. sanctions before the pandemic arrived. Biden’s opponent Senator Bernie Sanders has long called for an end to sanctions on Iran, and earlier this week Sanders joined 33 other lawmakers in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding he allow for shipments of humanitarian assistance to Iran. At the White House, President Trump was questioned Thursday by Al Jazeera correspondent Kimberly Halkett about the Iran sanctions.


He got one right! It must have no chance to pass 🙁





Support for President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has diminished over the past two weeks, according to a new survey, with a majority of Americans now disapproving of his response to the public health crisis.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday reports that 52 percent of respondents disapprove of his management of the deadly outbreak, while only 47 percent approve.

The president’s latest rating in the survey shows Trump’s support backsliding from the levels he achieved in mid-March, when more than half of Americans, 55 percent, approved of his response and 43 percent disapproved.




Nearly four billion people on the planet — half of humanity — found themselves on Friday under some sort of order to stay in their homes.

But some U.S. states were still resisting such measures.

The lockdowns have led to a collapse of the global economy, vaporizing 10 million jobs in the United States in just two weeks. Global stocks, which had surged on Thursday after a wishful tweet from President Trump about the oil markets, dipped again on Friday amid growing fears that the pain will be profound and prolonged.

Governments have promised trillions of dollars in a desperate effort to limit the damage.

None of that has stopped the virus’s ferocious global assault. At least one million infections have been detected worldwide, but experts suspect the true number is far larger because of asymptomatic cases and delays in widespread testing. The Australian medical chief estimated that there are between five million and 10 million cases.

Model makers are now being guided by other grim data, most of it coming from Europe.

The staggering death tolls in Italy and Spain, accounting for nearly half of the 53,000 deaths worldwide, rose yet again. But the crisis is deepening across the continent, with more than 5,000 deaths in France, nearly 3,000 in Britain, and more than 1,000 in both Germany and Belgium.

The number of recorded deaths in the United States topped 1,000 in a single day for the first time. In New York City, the center of the country’s outbreak, both hospitals and morgues struggled to meet surging demand.