Daily Archives: June 25, 2020

Robert Reich (America is Exceptional in All the Wrong Ways As…)


America is Exceptional in All the Wrong Ways

As our incompetent president flounders in the face of crises – leading the worst coronavirus response in the industrialized world, and seeking to crush nationwide protests for black lives – the hard truth about this country comes into focus: America is not exceptional, but it is the exception.

No other industrialized nation was as woefully unprepared for the pandemic as was the United States. With 4.25% of the world population, America has the tragic distinction of accounting for about 30% of pandemic deaths so far.

Why are we so different from other nations facing the same coronavirus threat? Why has everything gone so tragically wrong in America?

Part of it is Donald Trump.

He and his corrupt administration repeatedly ignored warnings from public health experts and national security officials throughout

January and February, only acting on March 16th after the stock market tanked. Researchers estimate that nearly 36,000 deaths could have been prevented if the United States had implemented social distancing policies just one week earlier.

No other industrialized nation has so drastically skirted responsibility by leaving it to subordinate units of government – states and cities – to buy ventilators and personal protective equipment.

In no other industrialized nation have experts in public health and emergency preparedness been muzzled and replaced by political cronies like Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who in turn has been advised by campaign donors and Fox News.

In no other industrialized nation has Covid-19 so swiftly eviscerated the incomes of the working class. Around the world, governments are providing generous income support to keep their unemployment rates low. Not in the U.S. Nearly 40 million Americans have lost their jobs so far, and more than 30% of American adults have been forced to cut back on buying food and risk going hungry.

…(read more).

Robert Reich: America is Not Exceptional

Robert Reich

Jun 23, 2020

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich debunks the myth of American exceptionalism, explaining how Trump’s failed coronavirus response and use of violent authoritarianism to crush nationwide protests for Black lives has forced the hard truth about this country into focus: America is not exceptional, but it is the exception.

American police kill over 1,000 people every year.

We’re the only one out of 22 advanced nations that doesn’t give all workers some form of paid sick leave.

We’re the only industrialized nation without guaranteed, universal healthcare.
We have the largest prison population on earth.

We have the largest CEO-to-worker pay gap.

We spend more on the military than the next seven nations combined.

On the global stage, America is the exception, but not in the way we would like to believe.

BBC World Service – The Real Story, How will Covid-19 change our cities?

So far, people in cities have borne the brunt of Covid-19. Coronavirus thrives when humans interact in shared spaces where infections are easily transmitted. Because of this, many column inches have been dedicated to predicting the demise of urban living and a revival of suburbs, towns and villages. But the fact remains the majority of us live in urban settings and people will need to keep seeking out the economic and social opportunities that cities provide. So, if cities are here to stay, how will coronavirus change them? Some aspects of city living that came in for criticism before the virus now seem unviable. Urban density was already a problem with so much cramped and scarce housing. Now, for many, it’s intolerable. Long commutes on dirty, crowded public transport will no longer do. Cars, roads and parking lots claiming vast outdoor areas no longer makes sense if we are to spend more time outdoors. And, in developing world cities, how much longer can poor sanitation and lack of running water be ignored when neglecting basic infrastructure will likely lead to new deadly outbreaks? Policy makers have, in the past, flirted with tackling the big problems in cities – but these problems haven’t gone away. So in the end, will the pandemic force drastic changes to urban design? Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of expert guests.

NASA, ESA, JAXA Reveal New COVID-19 Dashboard

NASA Goddard

Jun 25, 2020

The collective power of space-based Earth observations from NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to see global changes around the world has been harnessed to produce the COVID-19 Earth Observation Dashboard, released on June 25. In this video, leaders from each agency – Thomas Zurbuchen (NASA), Josef Aschbacher (ESA), and Koji Terada (JAXA) – discuss their unprecedented collaboration. Credits: NASA/ESA/JAXA Lauren Ward (USRA): Lead Producer Steve Cole (NASA): Producer

This video is public domain and along with other supporting visualizations can be downloaded from NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio at: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/13650

Goolam Ballim, Chief Economist and Head of Research, Standard Bank Group

Jun 22, 2020

Introduction by Sim Tshabalala, Group Chief Executive, Standard Bank Group. Presentation by Goolam Ballim, Chief Economist, Head: Standard Bank Research Standard Bank Group. The Africa Investors Conference is designed to connect institutional investors to leading policymakers and some of Africa’s most successful companies, sharing ideas with a view to finding key opportunities for growth on the continent.

See slides of presentation