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Many companies have already produced ad campaigns based on the pandemic. Most just claim a civic-minded “people first” company culture. “We care about you! So buy something.” Others are more specific, like the pizza ad that assures customers that no hands touch their food between cooking and delivery. I expect this will remain a popular […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘I Shulman’ Are the Salt of the Earth of the Israeli Economy

 

As Israel enters its fifth week of lockdowns, many self-employed and micro-businesses are on the verge of financial collapse and still facing an “unlimited prohibition” to work.

By now, they are angry and for excellent reasons. A Facebook movement started by Abir Kara “I Shulman” (“I am an independent”) is gaining enormous attraction and strong support among the Israeli population.

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Join Jim and Greg for an upbeat Friday edition! Today, after assessing Joe Biden’s latest live television mess, they welcome the three-phase plan to bring the U.S. economy back to life. They also marvel at the medicinal and practical ways our hospitals are treating COVID-19. And they break down the curious arguments of Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, both of whom became household names courtesy of Oprah.

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The University District and Ballard markets will become the sole two test runs to officially trial their re-openings alongside a multiplicity of modifications after closing in wake of the novel coronavirus. Assuming all goes according to plan, additional neighborhood markets may reopen in the coming months. Of course, the re-openings this weekend won’t occur without […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Trump Releases Plan for ‘Opening Up America Again’

 

President Trump spoke with governors on a conference call Thursday and released a plan to re-open the economy after a month of shutdowns. Titled “Opening Up America Again” (PDF link here), the document guides state and local officials on the loosening of restrictions on businesses and citizens with a phased approach.

Before a state or county begins to open, the White House recommends meeting the following criteria:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Gloomy Coronavirus Forecasts Ignore American Innovative Genius

 

Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the government’s coronavirus task force, on a tour of 3M’s Innovation Center in Maplewood, MN, March 5, 2020.
“Technology” and “innovation” aren’t magic words. And saying we need to “science the s—” out of the coronavirus pandemic (to paraphrase a quote from the 2015 film The Martian) isn’t some modern incantation. Doing things in a better way or a totally new way is how we solve problems. It’s how we make the future we want.

Of course, it’s easier to make forecasts if you assume none of that stuff is going to happen. That tomorrow will be pretty much the same as today. But such forecasts will miss a lot. A vibrant and open democratic capitalist society will have a powerful, bottom-up reaction function. In Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, a Greg Ip piece includes this great quote from Northwestern University economic historian Joel Mokyr: “We have this huge reservoir of creative energy spread around the economy. When you have an event like this all of a sudden, everyone says, ‘Oh wow let’s look at this problem let’s see what I can do to solve it.’”

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Jim starts this edition by blasting the World Health Organization for suggesting that alcohol consumption makes the coronavirus worse. Then he and Greg applaud Dr. Birx for calling out the WHO and China for a deadly lack of transparency that cost the rest of the world valuable time in preparing for the virus. They also lament the 22 million lost in the past four weeks and the lack of urgency in Congress to replenish funds for the Paycheck Protection Program – and discuss how to reopen the economy most responsibly. And they unload on New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy for admitting he never considered the Bill of Rights in having 15 people arrested for gathering at a synagogue in his state and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer for saying her severe restrictions are fine because it snowed in Michigan this week.

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Join Jim and Greg as they welcome news that hospitals in most parts of the country have decent capacity for more patients – a big improvement from earlier in the month. They also recoil as more than 80 percent of Americans want to keep social distancing even if it means more economic damage. And they get a kick out of Elizabeth Warren offering a ridiculously late endorsement of Joe Biden, now that he’s the last one standing for the Democrats.

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I like data and I like facts. I like to know the known unknowns and unknown unknowns. Unfortunately, I get nothing useful from Dr. Fauci at the press conferences and TV interviews and the crappy political reporters that talk to him don’t pull anything useful out of him. I understand that he is a lifetime […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they enjoy watching Dr. Anthony Fauci blow up a litany of media conspiracy theories about how he and President Trump are at odds and Jim slams the press for covering the coronavirus like a political debate. They also strongly correct Trump’s contention that he has absolute authority but also get dizzy watching the media call him authoritarian one day and demand he shut down the country the next. And they shake their heads at more evidence China was sloppy at their labs long before the outbreak.

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Many have played, or at least heard of, the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game. The goal is to find a path from the prolific actor to any other Hollywood persona, using six or less links generated by shared credits on films. Bacon seems to have worked with half that industry. And thereby hangs a […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they cheer the recovery of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his heartfelt thanks to those who saved his life. They also slam Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for implementing insane restrictions like not being able to visit someone else’s home and not being able to buy plants, flowers, seeds, or even child car seats. And they unload on the New York Times for dismissing a woman’s sexual assault claim against Joe Biden by saying it could not find any other pattern of abuse except for the women who already accused him of hugs, kisses, and touching that made them uncomfortable.

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Economic shutdowns accentuate inequalities. COVID-19 may not discriminate its victims by income, but the stringent policies our government takes undoubtedly do. The lockdown disproportionally impacts lower-income families and deepens economic inequalities at work and at home. Unequal in Work More

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I overheard my wife listening to a YouTube report by Tucker Carlson this morning. Tucker gave a 20,000-foot reflection on the state of the human ecosystem regarding the invasive influence of COVID, fanned by the media winds of healthcare hysteria. It summed up them up well. I had been ruminating on an earlier twitter alert […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. We Shouldn’t Feel Weird About Supporting Startups During the Pandemic

 

Electric vehicle startup Rivian’s R1T all-electric truck, Mill Valley, CA.
Is it somehow, I dunno, untoward for Silicon Valley startups — those powerful examples of American capitalism at its best — to seek a government loan (assuming they can) to stay in business and prevent layoffs? The New York Times contributing writer Kara Swisher suggests it might be. She says the very notion of taxpayer dough heading to the land of unicorns “rankles many people who don’t want to foot the bill for venture capitalists who then can keep their own powder dry for the inevitable turnaround.”

Now Swisher doesn’t quote any of the rankled, actual or potential. It seems more the case that venture capitalists are worried about a possible mass rankling should they grab some government-supplied cash. The ones she spoke with “do not want to attract pitchfork anger from those who think the well-to-do of tech should permanently social distance themselves to the very back of the line.”

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. CARES Act Focused More on Pork Than Pandemic

 

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act was an attempt to mitigate the economic damage caused by the government’s response, some of it necessary, to the coronavirus. It started as sort of a bridge loan to help Americans through tough times but became larded with expansions of the welfare state and outrageous special interest pork.

CARES, in overview, is a massive transfer of assets from the private sector to government, maybe the largest ever. Yet it was accomplished with no taxes or other offsets to pay for the truly massive spending. For that, you can thank the rising influence of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), which holds that sovereign governments can spend without limit because they have the magical ability to print more money when needed. Of course, it’s pure bunkum but spenders like it because it offers a rationale for doing what they want, which is to hand out benefits without raising taxes. The economic harm from our response to the coronavirus will be borne instead by future generations.

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Join Jim and Greg as they discuss the gut-wrenching loss of another 6.6 million jobs over the past week but also note an economic silver lining. They also react to Dr. Fauci suggesting people permanently stop shaking hands and then muse about what should replace it. And they lose their appetites as they discuss another way China is a breeding ground for illnesses.

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I remember having a conversation a few years back with a retail store owner of Board Games. His business was slowly drying up and barely making rent, even though board games for adults have been in a come-back. Even event/shows which is were they previous made most of their money, were drying up.   More

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This special mid-week edition offers an alternative to the all-virus/all-the-time coverage currently smothering all other topics right now, this time featuring Robert Bryce talking about his brand new book A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations. The book is a companion to his documentary film Juice: How Electricity Explains the World that will be available on streaming services in June. (For the moment, check out the YouTube trailer below.)

The American public at large tends to take electricity for granted since our supply and grid is so reliable, but in fact its sources and distribution are complex. In our conversation Robert and I break down a lot of energy basics, debunk some favorite “green” energy myths, review the main problem of electricity (that it is hard to store electrons in sufficient quantity), and look over where nuclear power stands today.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Weird in WA: Color Me Surprised

 

I can’t believe I am actually saying this, but I think the normally-stupid Governor of Washington State actually did something very good this week. This action leaves me shaking my head in bewilderment, but smiling. It so happens that, this week, Inslee vetoed $445 million in spending passed by the heavily-Democrat legislature. This is simply unbelievable! Finally, there is something more worthy of taxpayer dollars than the usually-leftist policies that get funded in Washington. I’m betting that whatever was funded and vetoed probably won’t be missed.

The second unbelievable action was taken by the leftist Mayor of Seattle. Now, the city has been shuttered and streets empty of traffic for many days. What Mayor Durkan did in support of all the essential workers in town was to make all parking in city paid-parking zones free. Yes, essential workers, who are the only ones allowed out of their homes, now will find all the parking meters and pay-stations inactivated. No more paid parking and no more time limits. The powers-that-be in Seattle are dominated by “get the people out of their cars and into government transportation” leftists and parking has become very expensive, both on the street and in garages and lots. It’s great that they have taken pity on those who must use their private vehicles. At least for a while.

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