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878 days ago
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Bill Gates is funding new factories for 7 potential coronavirus vaccines, even though it will waste billions of dollars

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Bill Gates is plugging money into building factories for seven promising coronavirus vaccine candidates, even though it will mean wasting billions of dollars.

On Thursday's episode of "The Daily Show," the Microsoft billionaire told the host Trevor Noah that his philanthropic organization, the Gates Foundation, could mobilize faster than governments to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

"Because our foundation has such deep expertise in infectious diseases, we've thought about the epidemic, we did fund some things to be more prepared, like a vaccine effort," Gates said. "Our early money can accelerate things."

Gates said he was picking the top seven vaccine candidates and building manufacturing capacity for them. "Even though we'll end up picking at most two of them, we're going to fund factories for all seven, just so that we don't waste time in serially saying, 'OK, which vaccine works?' and then building the factory," he said.

Gates said that simultaneously testing and building manufacturing capacity is essential to the quick development of a vaccine, which Gates thinks could take about 18 months.

In a Washington Post op-ed article published earlier this week, Gates said some of the top candidates required unique equipment.

"It'll be a few billion dollars we'll waste on manufacturing for the constructs that don't get picked because something else is better," Gates said in the clip. "But a few billion in this, the situation we're in, where there's trillions of dollars ... being lost economically, it is worth it."

The Gates Foundation "can get that bootstrapped and get it going and save months, because every month counts," he added.

Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, have already pledged $100 million toward fighting the coronavirus pandemic, including an effort to send at-home coronavirus test kits to people in Washington state.

In his Post op-ed article, Gates urged the government to enforce stricter lockdown measures in every state and estimated that the US would need another 10 weeks of nationwide shutdowns to effectively deal with the crisis.

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1567 days ago
Bill Gates will be remembered for the millions of lives he has saved from suffering. This is merely the most recent example.
1567 days ago
He’s definitely rehabbed his image a lot over the last 20 years. He’s lucky some of his worse transgressions were prior to #MeToo, such as not hiring women for senior roles because they would “get pregnant and leave”
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The Cure for what Ails Us

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I’ve been informed by numerous people that it’s time for us all to panic:

I’ve also been informed that I don’t know what I’m talking about because I have never lived under a dictatorship.

(1) My husband’s family experienced the Pinochet dictatorship, so I have first hand accounts.

(2) panic never helps.

Panic didn’t get the Chileans out from under Pinochet. The Pinochet dictatorship ended when enough people who were opposed to him came together to oust him. Pinochet used violence and terror, but his oust happened because of people coming together.

I entirely fail to understand what good comes from putting our hair on fire. Will we think better with our hair on fire? Will we be better able to plan and mount an effective defense? Or will we simply play into the hands of the enemies of democracy?

A little bit of agitation is good. It motivates us to action. It stimulates voter turnout. Too much is paralyzing. And pointless.

The reason I recently warned you all to expect lots more Crisis and Spectacle between now and November is precisely so, when it happens, you don’t all go set your hair on fire.

I find the sudden rise of panic fascinating given the timing. Why panic now, when we’re nine months from an election?

I do understand the urge to panic. Democracy is under attack.

The antidote is more democracy . . .

. . or what Barack Obama calls “citizenship”:

Our democratic institutions are being battered and damaged.

The antidote is to strengthen the institutions.

Need ideas on how to do that? Here are a few:

#1: Make sure you’re registered to vote. Lots of people are being purged from lists. Check to see if you are registered here. Deadlines for each state are here.

#2: Double and triple check any information you are given. There a lot of people out there trying to confuse people in order to suppress votes.

#3: Want to really make a difference? Don’t just march, run for something. Run for Something recruits and supports young progressives running for local office with the long-term goal of building a bench for decades to come. Learn more about them here.

If you’re in California, Close the Gap California is working to get women elected.

#4: If you can’t run for office you can volunteer to help Run for Something, including screening candidates Learn more here.

#5: Get involved with your local election. Elections are held and monitored locally. Start by contacting your local election board. In some states, you can become an official volunteer voter registrar. James tells how he did it in Maryland.

Here is James being a good citizen on a Saturday:

The fact that elections are held and monitored locally explains why good people need to run for office. Be the official making the decision about how the election will be conducted.

Isn’t that better than complaining that you don’t like the process? We are the people. Don’t like how things are done? Run for office and change it. (I understand this is the long-term solution; the short term solution is to vote in large numbers)

#6: Check out Fair Fight, the organization Stacy Abrams started for free and fair elections. Their website is here. Find out how you can help.

Recall: Stacy Abrams would have been Governor of Georgia if not for the cheating. Is she panicking and fear mongering? Noooo. She got to work.

#7: Protect the Vote. If you’re a lawyer, volunteer with a protect the vote organization (usually through the Democratic party).

They always need lawyers. So far I’ve helped monitor elections in two states, and I’ve done legal work in a third. It’s eye opening, and gives perspective. I can tell you that elections are messy. But then, democracy is messy. That’s why people don’t like it. Dictatorship, by comparison, is efficient. One person makes the decisions. No need to bicker and compromise and work out differences.

#8: If you’re a teacher, consider an assignment requiring students to advocate on behalf of an issue of their choice, or allow / encourage them to substitute an assignment with a civic engagement activity of some kind.

#9: Help People Become Citizens and support low-cost immigration services by volunteering at organization such as CUNYCitizenship, or organizations that tutor English and civics for the naturalization test.

#10: On election day, you can drive people to the polls to help increase turnout. Here’s one place to start.

#11: Want to find the right group to join? Click here.

#12: Volunteer in your local Democratic office. Even if you’re a conservative, 2020 is the year you have to vote Democratic. (Even if you don’t love the candidate) The GOP needs to learn a lesson. If you find that your local office is a bit disorganized, help them get organized.

#13: Organize your community. One reason the Tea Party was so effective was that they organized locally and put pressure on local representatives.

Bringing people together in an inclusive way is the antidote to “us v. them” politics.

#14: Tell your representatives your views. The Democratic Coalition keeps a list and easy instruction here.

#15: Americans of Conscience has ideas for letters you can write to elected officials:

#16: A great way to get involved and donate from your own home is to write postcards to voters. More on that here.

#17: Subscribe to local newspapers, and national journals that do good investigative reporting.

#18: Donate to organizations like Raices or the ACLU, or Democratic candidates.

#19: Make your views known, but try not to increase the polarization.

Volunteering not only saves democracy, it can save your sanity. It’s a good way to lift yourself out of the exhausting news cycle without guilt (because you’ll know you’re pushing back in tangible ways) and you’ll connect with like-minded people.

Multiply this by thousands, then millions, and we make the world safe for our children.

The cure for what ails us is more democracy.

[View as a Twitter thread]

The post The Cure for what Ails Us appeared first on Musing about law, books, and politics.

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1615 days ago
Signal boosting
1614 days ago
I can’t stress #3 enough. I am a member of my town Board of Commissioners. This past November, we had 6 people running for 5 open seats.
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1615 days ago
also votefwd.org which is my new favorite org of this kind

12/13/18 PHD comic: 'Submit button'

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Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Submit button" - originally published 12/13/2018

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

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1670 days ago
That’s why I have a 2 minute delay on all my emails.
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Has Howard Schultz Really Thought This Through?

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Howard Schultz is no longer CEO of Starbucks. But as de facto founder (he took it over as a small coffee roaster and developed it into what we know as Starbucks) I imagine he is still a major shareholder. Really he and Starbucks are inseparable. But I don’t think he’s really considered how vulnerable the company is to a boycott or simply enduring brand damage tied to this effort.

Let’s start with a simple observation.

There’s almost always another place to get a coffee. As we’ve discussed, Amazon has all sorts of negative societal and economic impacts: low wage employer; they pay basically no corporate taxes because they carefully calibrate growth to hover near break even business; they are a massive monopoly. The list goes on and on. But the reality is that it’s by far the easiest way for me to order all sorts of things. I’m a big reader of eBooks. There are a lot of good shows on Amazon Prime. Whatever the rights and wrongs of it, saying no to Amazon ain’t easy precisely because of their ubiquity and market power. Starbucks isn’t like that. Certainly in most big cities there’s always another place to get a cup of coffee and often it’s a better one. It’s a voluntary decision; it’s an affinity attachment; and you’ve got lots of options.

Second, I’ve always thought that the latte liberal cliche is greatly overdone. I’ve seen all the wingnuts chugging down designer coffees at DC Starbuckses. But basically it’s an urban brand. I imagine that the core Starbucks demo doesn’t really line up with the core Trump demo. Myself, considering what we’ve seen over the last 72 hours, I’d be hard pressed to go into a Starbucks. I just think he’s too big of a jerk, courting too much potential damage for the country for reasons that don’t seem to go beyond ego. But I’m hyper-political. I don’t expect most people to be thinking in those terms. Nor is there really any reason they should. But if he goes through with his plan to run and sticks with it through the election I think he will get a lot more attention, as a spoiler who will get us four more years of Trump.

If you are upset with the Koch Brothers, there’s not a lot you can do unless you buy a lot of industrial oil extraction machinery (yes, I know they own some other companies.) But a whole lot of us buy coffee and we pretty much all have other options.

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1998 days ago
I guess it’s time to boycott Starbucks
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Trump’s Slow Speed Chase Saturday Night Massacre

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Don’t forget the big picture. President Trump has bullied GOP senators about Sessions long enough that now they’re publicly signaling it’s okay if President Trump fires him. If Sessions is replaced it will presumably be someone who doesn’t need to recuse themselves from the Russia probe. So it takes Rosenstein out of the mix or at least would allow him to be taken out of the mix.

Then there’s Donald McGahn.

He’s the one who refused to fire Bob Mueller or to make the firing happen. He’s also been resisting cooperating on issuing a pardon to Paul Manafort. President Trump has finally taken the plunge and canned him. It was, admittedly in a uniquely Trumpian way, announcing on Twitter that he would be leaving, even though McGahn didn’t know he would be leaving.

None of these folks are great guys as far as the broader Russia probe is concerned. Both Sessions and Rosenstein cooperated with Trump to fire Comey – outlining notionally plausible reasons for his dismissal even as they knew the true reason Trump was doing it. Sessions is a confirmed rightist ideologue. Rosenstein doesn’t appear to be an ideologue in Sessions’ mold. But he’s a professional Republican. McGahn is the same, a professional Republican lawyer who’s done a frightfully good job helping Trump pack the federal judiciary with right-wing ideologues and done other things to protect the President from the investigation as best he can. But even for them there are limits – limits that are too much for Trump because making himself invulnerable to the law is the only acceptable outcome.

Each action only has one purpose, one President Trump doesn’t even really try to deny: ending the Russia probe. At the risk of stating the obvious: President Trump is guilty and he is laying the groundwork for ending the probe he believes (probably rightly) constitutes an existential threat to his Presidency. It is on-going obstruction; it’s on-going misrule and high crimes which are what impeachment is meant to be the solution to. But neither of those are really the key point. No President – I don’t care how obsessed with his own power, how hyper-focused on deference and respect, how anything – no President goes to these lengths unless he is guilty of something very bad and which he believes poses a mortal threat to his presidency, his wealth, his reputation.

These points are all obvious. But since no one is doing anything about, since no one with the power to do anything about it is doing anything about, we still collectively have a difficult time processing or accepting the truth of the situation.

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2151 days ago
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