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Notes from the day job.

Lisa Hay, Oregon’s federal public defender, said 34 of her office’s clients—offenders sentenced for federal crimes in Oregon—are scattered in eight private prisons in Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

“I’m concerned about our clients being held in private prisons because there seems to be no reporting on the level of coronavirus infections in those facilities,” Hay said.

“I don’t know if they are even testing inmates.”

The coronavirus, Hay said, has exposed how detention in private prisons may “result in unequal and inadequate treatment of inmates.”

Private Correctional Institutions.

That gum you like is going to come back in style.

Lili Loofbourow manages to make me feel if not good about a Biden candidacy, at least, I mean, well, sort of better?

Look, I saw this great opportunity to corner the market in Egyptian cotton.

That’s, ah, that’s normally how things work, right? So I’m not here to disrupt, ah, a supply chain, so, look. These distributors, these six distributors, six, seven, they have six to seven hundred warehouses. They have trucks that go to the hospital door every day. We’re bringing product in, they’re filling orders for hospitals, nursing homes, like normal. I’m putting volume into that system. I would say that, in—we have the data now, last—so we put together, this, ah, data element, over, the last, you know, what, thirteen days? Get the people in, look at the problem, build this—I am now seeing truth, about what’s in the supply chain? And I would say, um, there’s been some abnormal behavior? Okay?

The federal government—our federal government—is giving supplies from the national stockpile to six, or maybe seven distributors to then sell to the states, our states, us, at a healthy hollow laugh profit, and while we need to have everyone responsible drummed out of power, their money seized, their power and possessions nationalized, turned to some small public good, what we at the very least deserve is some sort of truth and reconciliation commission, where all involved admit to their wrong-doing and apologize and swear on whatever they hold holy never to do it again, even if they don’t ever actually have to pay anything meaningful for having done so, the best, the ever actual uttermost best we can ever hope for is maybe in ten years or so one of them decides to leverage some spare change from under their couch into a teevee show about some charmingly sharpish con artists Robin Hooding an entirely notional fortune or two from some thinly fictionalized versions of these fothermucking monsters, ah well, nevertheless.


“This failure accounts for at least some of the tens of thousands of pending tests reflected in the state’s reported numbers. According to experts, it isn’t Quest’s fault that the company has so far been unable to meet the technical challenge of testing thousands of people every day. Setting up such “high throughput” operations is difficult. But Quest failed to come to terms with its ongoing problems, and it continued to accept specimens—and generate revenue—when other laboratories could have done some of the tests faster.”


“I am not saying these universities shouldn’t do something charitable for their workers. They should, if only to maintain amicable relations within the university community itself. I am saying that their moral obligation to extend charity to those workers is not very strong. Had such charity been prioritized in the past, the US never would have developed and maintained top universities. Part of America’s greatness as a nation, and as an innovator, is its unwillingness to ask anew every day whether its elite accumulations of wealth should be torn down and rededicated to everyday purposes of a supposedly greater benevolence.”

Look on his works, ye mighty.

Credit where credit is due.

I mean, if we’re looking for a scapegoat.


“Steven Valiquette, a managing director at Barclays Investment Bank, last week peppered executives from Cardinal Health, a health care distributor of N95 masks, ventilators and pharmaceuticals, on whether the company would raise prices on a range of supplies. —Valiquette asked repeatedly about potential price increases on a variety of products. Could the company, he asked, ‘offset some of the risk of volume shortages’ on the ‘pricing side’?”

And on the pedestal these words appear:

Trump flu.

This business will get out of control.
It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it

Caring responsibly.

The obsession of the Democrats—the ostensible left-wing! who are on our side! aren’t they?—with nickling and diming and means-testing the shit out of what should be a simple and immediate act of handing every person in the country a wad of money in this time when we’ve been asked to stop working for our own collective good—it’s explained, somewhat, by David Graeber’s notion of a war between administrators and care-givers, which did get stark real fast, didn’t it. (We can take some solace in the administrative bullshit that’s been so quickly swept away, that some small care might be given; we might well quail before the new heights of administrative bullshit to be scaled, even as those who supposedly can’t be helped set out to help themselves. —As for the Republicans, well, they in their cunning at least know enough to look like they’re in favor of what everyone wants, even as they bitterly oppose it.)

Everybody is paying attention.

“Who died on 9/11? It was front-line people and our passengers. Who suffered in the bankruptcies that followed? It was me and my friends. They took our pensions, they slashed our pay by more than 40 percent, diminished our health care, cut our jobs. They put it on our backs. For a lot of people, that meant real personal loss of our homes and cars and stressed marriages and divorces and the pain of telling our kids that they had to do without. We’ve seen this before, and we know exactly what didn’t work. We won’t stand for it again. We won’t let that happen to the rest of the country.” —Sara Nelson For President Now.


“Business Insider Italia explains that even though the original manufacturer was unable to supply the part, it refused to share the relevant 3D file with Fracassi to help him print the valve. It even went so far as to threaten him for patent infringement if he tried to do so on his own. Since lives were at stake, he went ahead anyway, creating the 3D file from scratch. According to the Metro article, he produced an initial batch of ten, and then 100 more, all for free. Fracassi admits that his 3D-printed versions might not be very durable or re-usable. But when it’s possible to make replacements so cheaply—each 3D-printed part costs just one euro, or roughly a dollar—that isn’t a problem. At least it wouldn’t be, except for that threat of legal action, which is also why Fracassi doesn’t dare share his 3D file with other hospitals, despite their desperate need for these valves.”


“So, this SoftBank-owned patent troll, Fortress, bought up Theranos patents, and then set up this shell company, ‘Labrador Diagnostics,’ which decided that right in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic it was going to sue one of the companies making COVID-19 tests, saying that its test violates those Theranos patents, and literally demanding that the court bar the firm from making those COVID-19 tests.”

Sufficient unto the day.

Closing the libraries is wildly grim. “The library branches’ WiFi signals will remain turned on for anyone who wants to sit outside a building or in the parking lots,” but, and yet, I mean, well. And still. —One might well note that ebooks are still available; one might well note that the 2019 Library Writers Project selections have just been announced; one might well—but still.

To the right, ever to the right!
Never to the left, forever to the right!

I have been thinking about this a lot. One of the things I am really struggling with right now is that we don’t have a progressive or a Left shock doctrine, as Naomi Klein calls it. The Right has a program in place for how to take advantage of moments like this. When you look at what the junta has done and everything else, this is an opportunity for the wealthy 1 percent of the United States and world to make Puerto Rico into a playground the way Cuba was in the 1940s and 1950s for the U.S. rich. I am terrified we will have an island of Puerto Rico without Puerto Ricans.

To me, the question is: What do we do in the short and medium term that offers some semblance of a shock doctrine for our side? If we are going to rebuild Puerto Rico, how do we do it in a way that is right for the people of Puerto Rico? I have to weigh that with the very immediate concern of needing to get cargo containers with food and necessities that people have. Unfortunately, I don’t have a very good answer for how we meet the short-term need a way that sets up for the future.

Javier Morillo

If the Left and the unions don’t show any leadership during the Coronavirus crisis, the most acute social crisis we’ve faced for a long time, then objectively they’re deferring to the government.

Richard Seymour