Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward







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Recent Posts

In a national emergency, America needs a president the nation can trust

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a special adviser to the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaking on MSNBC’s Hardball: "I found most of what he said incoherent." — Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel on Trump's press conference regarding the coronavirus. #Hardball — Hardball (@hardball) February 27, 2020 The New York Times reports: When Hurricane Dorian crashed into the Atlantic Coast in September, President Trump assumed a take-charge role in response. But

Could coronavirus really trigger a recession?

Coronavirus seems to be on a collision course with the US economy and its 12-year bull market. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan By Michael Walden, North Carolina State University Fears are growing that the new coronavirus will infect the U.S. economy. U.S stocks are headed for their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis; companies including Apple and Walmart have been warning of potential sales losses from COVID-19 and the Centers

Saudi Arabia suspends entry for pilgrims over coronavirus as U.S. sees first case of community transmission

AFP reports: Saudi Arabia on Thursday suspended visas for pilgrims wishing to visit Mecca over coronavirus fears, the foreign ministry said. The government is “suspending entry to the Kingdom for the purpose of Umrah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque temporarily”, the foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca that can be undertaken at any time of year. Umrah attracts tens of thousands of devout

Bernie Sanders, despite his age, promises a true break with the past

Jamelle Bouie writes: If he wins the nomination, whether outright or at the Democratic Party convention this summer, Senator Bernie Sanders will be the most left-wing politician ever nominated for president and the only self-described “socialist” to ever run on the ballot line for either of the two major parties. Many Democrats, especially moderates, think this is a disaster in waiting. They look back to 1972, when a different left-wing

Anand Giridharadas talks about the billionaire election

  The 10th Democratic presidential debate took place Tuesday in Charleston, South Carolina, and two billionaires were at either end of the stage: Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer. Front-runner Bernie Sanders, who has made attacking the power of the “billionaire class” a central theme of his campaign, stood in the middle. It was a visual representation of the split within the Democratic Party, in which a growing number of people

Why President Trump can’t pardon Roger Stone

Corey Brettschneider writes: Speculation that President Donald Trump might pardon Roger Stone has reached a fever pitch after Stone’s sentencing by a federal judge and the president’s repeated hints that he thinks the verdict unfair. But fortunately, the Constitution’s framers imagined this nightmare scenario—a suspected criminal president pardoning a co-conspirator—and they put in the Constitution language to legally prohibit the pardon power in exactly this kind of case. Both the

Indigenous people may be the Amazon’s last hope

Collecting firewood on the Waiapi indigenous reserve in Amapa state, Brazil, Oct. 13, 2017. A new bill could open Brazil’s Native lands to development. APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images By Robert T. Walker, University of Florida; Aline A. Carrara, University of Florida; Cynthia S. Simmons, University of Florida, and Maira I Irigaray, University of Florida Brazil’s divisive President Jair Bolsonaro has taken another step in his bold plans to develop

Music: Roberto Di Gioia’s Marsmobil — ‘Hand in Hand’


Is the Amazon rainforest going to turn into dry scrubland?

Nature reports: Seen from a monitoring tower above the treetops near Manaus in the Brazilian Amazon, the rainforest canopy stretches to the horizon as an endless sea of green. It looks like a rich and healthy ecosystem, but appearances are deceiving. This rainforest — which holds 16,000 separate tree species — is slowly drying out. Over the past century, the average temperature in the forest has risen by 1–1.5 °C.

Donald Trump wants you to imagine he has the coronavirus totally under control

The Daily Beast reports: President Donald Trump is frantically trying to quell criticism that he and his team were caught off guard by the growing number of coronavirus cases worldwide, fearful that a narrative of dysfunction could complicate his reelection bid. Advisers to President Trump have for weeks tried to gather data about how quickly the virus spreads, how it can be stopped, and how to contain an outbreak in

Iranian clerics keep shrines open, even as coronavirus spreads

The Associated Press reports: Shiite shrines that attract tens of millions of visitors annually have come under focus in Iran as the country grapples with the spread of the coronavirus. The outbreak of the virus in Iran prompted the government to request the closure of major shrines in cities like Qom, Mashhad and Shiraz, but Iran’s powerful clerics have rejected or ignored the notices. The decision to keep the shrines

Obama calls on South Carolina TV stations to pull ad ‘straight out of the Republican disinformation playbook’

The Washington Post reports: Former president Barack Obama is calling on South Carolina television stations to stop running an ad from a super PAC supporting President Trump that uses Obama’s words out of context in a misleading attack on former vice president Joe Biden. The Committee to Defend the President, a pro-Trump group, reported to the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday spending more than $250,000 in South Carolina to oppose

Capitalism and socialism mingle in every hour of our lives

When you're on the highway, the thing beneath you: socialism. The vehicles around you: capitalism. On Wall Street, the banks: capitalism. The regulators protecting them: socialism. Capitalism and socialism mingle in every hour of our lives. Let's break the billionaire binary. — Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) February 26, 2020

The Harvey Weinstein verdict is a watershed — and a warning

Rebecca Solnit writes: When I was young I had no words. I read voraciously, I loved books, stories, language. I was trying to become a writer, and so I lived for words and by words. I poured out my thoughts and some of the hopes and fears that were beginning to take shape in long conversations with friends. But words failed me when I needed them most. I was a

The woman the Mercury astronauts couldn’t do without

Katherine Johnson died on February 24 at the age of 101. In 2016, Margot Lee Shetterly wrote: It had always been Katherine Goble’s great talent to be in the right place at the right time. In August 1952, 12 years after leaving graduate school to have her first child, that right place was in Marion, Virginia, at the wedding of her husband, Jimmy Goble’s, little sister Patricia. Pat, a vivacious

Music: Roberto Di Gioia’s Marsmobil — ‘Yelloworange’