Trump cancels Republican convention in Florida after coronavirus spike – Reuters

Screwy and typical of Trump, but where’s the Republican National Convention in all this? I’m wondering if Trump overstepped his bounds by pulling the plug on the Jacksonville convention. It’s the RNC’s convention, not his. If he announced the cancellation without the blessing of the RNC he will have burned up a lot of good will with the GOP establishment.

Source: Trump cancels Republican convention in Florida after coronavirus spike – Reuters

Anxiety? Depression? or just paying attention?

A third of Americans now show signs of clinical anxiety or depression, Census Bureau finds amid coronavirus pandemic

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/05/26/americans-with-depression-anxiety-pandemic/?arc404=true

 

The U.S. Census Bureau has been tracking ​adult ​American’s responses to the pandemic including some questions relating to mental health.​ https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/covid19/pulse/mental-health.htm (with neat drop-down filters). ​

The results purport to measure some indicators of mental health​ wellness​. I think the results are more an indicator of who’s paying attention The charts are based on respondent answers to these questions:

Over the last 7 days, how often have you been bothered by … having little interest or pleasure in doing things? Would you say not at all, several days, more than half the days, or nearly every day?

Over the last 7 days, how often have you been bothered by … feeling down, depressed, or hopeless? Would you say not at all, several days, more than half the days, or nearly every day?

Over the last 7 days, how often have you been bothered by the following problems … Feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge? Would you say not at all, several days, more than half the days, or nearly every day?

Over the last 7 days, how often have you been bothered by the following problems … Not being able to stop or control worrying? Would you say not at all, several days, more than half the days, or nearly every day?

“Feeling down”? “Feeling nervous”? I’d say that anyone who doesn’t acknowledge feeling down and feeling nervous hasn’t grasped the seriousness of the situation. I’m guessing that the two-thirds of Americans who are not showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression aren’t wearing face masks.

The breakdowns of the responses aren’t what I would have guessed. I thought people with more years of formal education would report more feelings of anxiety or depression. Wrong – it’s respondents with less formal education. And I thought younger respondents would report feeling more anxious/depressed than older people. Just the opposite.

 

“Totally unacceptable…”. Who writes this stuff?

With school boards across the continent struggling with planning for the most tumultuous school reorganization in anyone’s memory, it seems a bit far-fetched to protest possible reductions to French immersion

www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/toronto/article-shorter-days-higher-costs-toronto-board-details-return-to-school/

L’Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario denounced talks about French programs in a tweet Wednesday night, calling it “totally unacceptable.”

“In a bilingual country, to propose the elimination of the teaching of one of the official languages is unthinkable,” the organization representing Franco-Ontarians wrote. “We also ask the Toronto District School Board to stop using official languages as a means of pressure to reach its goals. It’s damaging for the country.”

Coronavirus and the crisis of capitalism

There’s something between the lines here…I agree with the author’s premise that fiscal policy to deal with the pandemic could lead to a Universal Basic Income but he muddies the waters when he turns philosophical and wonders about the future of capitalism.  I’d like to know how creative programs to deal with the pandemic could reform conservative economic thinking.  Don’t call it Universal Basic Income. Call it …?  That’s what I want to know… how to present and package an effective safety net in a package that Republicans could support.

Source: Coronavirus and the crisis of capitalism

Remembering Canadian Nursing Sisters in the Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the World Health Organization has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife

The website of The Friends of the Canadian War Museum (where I volunteer) includes the following references to Canadian nurses in the military – Canada’s Nursing Sisters.

FCWM Fact Sheet Canada’s Nursing Sisters 1914-1918

FCWM Research Paper Canadian Nursing Sisters in the Korean War (I wrote this one.)

FCWM Personal Treasure Artifact W2-15: Nursing Sister Served as Model for Canadian Volunteer Service Medal

FCWM Website banner photo (rotating with other images) No. 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital at Doullens

 

Empty Gestures on Climate Change (by Bjørn Lomborg)

Individual actions to tackle climate change, even when added together, achieve so little because cheap and reliable energy underpins human prosperity. Fossil fuels currently meet 81% of our global energy needs. And even if every promised climate policy in the 2015 Paris climate agreement is achieved by 2040, they will still deliver 74% of the total.

When climate campaigners urge people to change their everyday behavior, they trivialize the challenge of global warming. The one individual action that citizens could take that would make a real difference would be to demand a vast increase in spending on green-energy research and development.

Source: Empty Gestures on Climate Change by Bjørn Lomborg – Project Syndicate

Imagining a Senate Trial: Reading the Senate Rules of Impeachment Litigation – Lawfare

This is interesting.  It describes the rules, such as they are, that will govern the impeachment trial in the Senate. The proceedings will be presided over by Chief Justice Roberts but that’s separate from the role of the judge which falls collectively to the Senators…they are judge and jury. The author compares the rules governing impeachment to Calvinball…the rules are pretty much whatever 51 Senators want them to be.

The rules under which Donald Trump will face trial in the Senate are a combination of theatrically detailed and maddeningly vague.
— Read on www.lawfareblog.com/imagining-senate-trial-reading-senate-rules-impeachment-litigation

Affordable housing crisis – I’m part of the problem

Here’s some quasi-scientific evidence of something I’ve noticed in Toronto.  I think there are a lot of people (like me) whose Toronto homes are often vacant.  It’s a sign of inequality of incomes/wealth.
My one-bedroom apartment in Toronto is vacant more than half the time.
The young family that lives next to me seems to be there only half the time.  They have a loud toddler. It’s easy to tell when they’re home. I’m guessing they’re using it as a pied-a-terre.
My granddaughter has a friend who lives near her school but whose family also has a home in Scarborough.
And this guy – the quasi-researcher, found lots of dark condos and concluded that they are owned but vacant.
https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/11/10/how-many-condos-are-sitting-empty-in-toronto-one-man-investigated-and-what-he-found-surprised-him.html
I can’t think of what a good regulatory approach to this situation should be. The objective would be to redistribute the existing supply of housing in order to meet the needs of families who can’t afford adequate housing. Taxing perpetually vacant condos might work.  Taxing merely under-used condos and apartments would be hard to do and probably wouldn’t change behaviour much – just tick off people like me.
Public shaming would be effective. For example, change the rules for overnight parking so that occasional residents like me have to display a big parking permit in their windshield that says, “I’m partially responsible for the affordable housing crisis.”   That approach wouldn’t address the absentee condo owners.
Better would be incentives for people to rent out their living space when they’re not using (the government would subsidize AirBnB listings? That doesn’t sound right, but why not if it brings extra supply on to the market?)