Arming the left

There are several arguments given for gun ownership and each reason favors a particular type of gun. Some people may feel they need them for self-defense because they live in places they think are dangerous or are particularly fearful for their safety. Other use them for hunting. The ones that cause the most controversy are the high-powered, fast-action ones like the AR-15 or the AK-47 that can fire many rounds very rapidly and thus can cause many deaths in a short time. These weapons are primarily designed for military uses.

The debate over guns in the US, like most things, tends to be split along left-right lines. Those who oppose pretty much any restrictions of the right to own and carry and use guns of all types tend to be on the political right. The National Rifle Association is the group most publicly identified with this hardline position but I learned that there is another group called the Gun Owners of America that takes an even harder line and boasts that it is “The only non-compromise lobby in Washington”.
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China is sending medical supplies to the US

China has started shipping planeloads of medical equipment to the US to help cope with the pandemic. That country has created new factories to produce these supplies even as their domestic needs wane.

“China has abundant protective equipment now, and the rest of the world has a huge shortage,” said James McGregor, the chairman of greater China for APCO Worldwide.

The White House is arranging for air transport to help expedite the shipping of personal protective equipment purchased by these companies overseas, the spokesman said, adding that both FEMA and the State Department were helping support the effort.
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Seth Meyers talks to Bernie Sanders

Sanders is the first guest that Meyers has had since the show went into its new production mode with no audience and people working from home. Sanders explains why his proposal of Medicare For All would have made a world of difference to how the country would have responded to this pandemic.

Dammit, when I hear Sanders speak so clearly about the problems and how they should be addressed and compare that to the wishy-washy responses of Joe Biden, I am depressed that Biden is in the lead for the Democratic nomination to take on the ignorant self-serving Donald Trump.

Understanding exponential growth during the pandemic

I recently posted a link to a more easily understandable display of Covid-19 infections and deaths for every country. (Incidentally its creator, a high school student, had a brief profile written about him in the latest issue of The New Yorker.) But one thing it lacked was the ability to visualize the differential rates of growth in each country over time to better enable us to understand how the disease is spreading and what is meant when people say that one region lags behind another by so many days, and how to know if containment methods are successful.
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Trump has exposed the soft underbelly of American politics and institutions

George Packer writes that the Trump presidency has exposed how brittle are the institutions that people thought formed the solid basis of this country’s democracy. He looks at the factors that led to this state and says that those who believed that they and the institutions they served could serve as a counterbalance to Trump completely underestimated the fact that he thought of the government as if it were a private company and he was the owner and thus they had to do whatever he said.
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Why the mainstream media hates Sanders though he is the leader we need right now

Election year politics has taken a back seat to the coronavirus news but Donald Trump of course sees everything in terms of how it will affect his re-election chances. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders has been active in pushing for more relief for ordinary people and not so much for big corporations. But as is often the case, in order to help the former, Republicans demand the latter and so compromises have been made.

Nathan J. Robinson writes that Bernie Sanders is the kind of leader the country needs right now at this time of crisis, not Joe Biden and definitely not Trump. While Biden has largely been quiet and when not has been wishy-washy and issuing platitudes, Sanders has been vigorously arguing for what needs to be done.
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Post-mortem for the Elizabeth Warren campaign

One of the mysteries of this election cycle was the fairly sudden drop in Elizabeth Warren’s popularity that led to her poor performance in the early primaries and eventually dropping out. There have been several theories put forward and this article by David Dayen suggests that it was due to the pernicious influence of campaign consultants who think that they can ‘package’ a candidate to make their appeal broader but in doing so risk ending up removing the very qualities that made them appealing to the people who used to support them and now they seem less authentic.
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A very thin line separates being diplomatic from being a sycophant

Dr. Deborah Birx has become a very public figure because of her presence at the daily press conferences of the coronavirus task force that Donald Trump has turned into a substitute for his campaign rallies.

Prior to being assigned to the coronavirus task force on Feb. 26 (the same day Vice President Pence was assigned to the body), Birx was the U.S. global AIDS coordinator. That’s an ambassador-level job inside the State Department in which she oversaw the U.S. government efforts to combat the spread of HIV globally. She was appointed to the post by President Barack Obama in 2014.

She’s one of the few Obama-era holdovers at the Trump White House. Her job as AIDS coordinator included running the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the highly praised program launched by President George W. Bush that has gotten millions of people with HIV around the world onto life-saving anti-AIDS therapy.

Before that, she spent nearly a decade running the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s global HIV/AIDS division.

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