Are You As Mentally Acute As the Leader of the Free World?

President Txxxx has been bragging about how well he did on a test that measures cognitive decline.

The president of the United States, has insisted that a cognitive test he took recently was “difficult”, using the example of a question in which the patient is asked to remember and repeat five words. . . .

Txxxx went on to explain the test, saying that after several questions, the doctor returned to the list of words, asking Trump to repeat them. “And you [remember them and] they say, “That’s amazing. How did you do that?”.

Txxxx has repeatedly referred to the cognitive test in recent interviews. Speaking to Fox news host Chris Wallace on Sunday he insisted the last five questions of the test were hard.

“I’ll bet you couldn’t even answer the last five questions. I’ll bet you couldn’t, they get very hard, the last five questions,” he said. “I guarantee you that Joe Biden could not answer those questions.”

Here’s a version of the test:

Untitled

Untitled2

We shouldn’t make light of people who suffer from dementia or other forms of cognitive decline.

On the other hand, it’s fair to make light of people who (1) exaggerate the test’s difficulty, (2) repeatedly brag about passing it and (3) lie about how the doctor reacted when they answered a question, especially (4) when they occupy a position formerly known as “leader of the free world”.

Changing Course

After talking with someone about the constant stream of bad news assaulting us every day, I decided to do something different with this blog. I’m going to try to post about more positive topics. Given how things are, this will probably mean I’ll have less to say.

The same phenomenon is visible in a political newsletter I get. The section called “Is That Hope?” — which features encouraging news — is always the smallest by far.

My posting less shouldn’t be much of a loss, however, since there is too much to read on the internet anyway (as well as in out of the way places like “books”).

But there’s one qualification: I intend to insert something like the following in every post, as a reminder and because silence might be seen as acquiescence:

The American president is a disaster. He is almost certainly doing something horrendous right now. That’s why we should vote him and every other Republican out of office in November. If you’re willing and able to support Democratic candidates in addition to voting for them, please do.

For example, I might point out that Gary Larson, the cartoonist responsible for The Far Side, has a site now. It features a few of his old cartoons every day (and it’s free). They had one of my favorites yesterday:

Untitled

And by the way, the American president is a disaster. He is almost certainly doing something horrendous right now. That’s why we should vote him and every other Republican out of office in November. If you’re willing and able to support Democratic candidates in addition to voting for them, please do. 

You’ve Been Robbed

From Paul Waldman of The Washington Post on Twitter:

Even if you’re lucky enough not to have lost anyone or gotten sick in the pandemic, you are the victim of a robbery.

Because of Txxxx’s malignant incompetence and the stupidity of his followers, we’ve all been robbed of time we can’t get back – maybe a year or more.

We’ve been robbed of time with loved ones, education for our kids, contact with others, at least a little freedom from this constant anxiety, just the mundane but precious parts of normal life. It is a theft, and it didn’t have to happen this way.

In many countries with competent leadership and a sane populace, the pandemic is under control. Here are new cases yesterday:

Spain: 389
Germany: 361
Canada: 306
Japan: 227
Italy: 191
Netherlands: 64
S. Korea: 53

USA: 50,934

Robbery victims often speak of a sense of violation, one that turns into rage that has nowhere to go. You may be feeling that now. And you should. We all should. We’ve been robbed of so much, even if we’ve escaped the worst.

Maybe you’re not an immigrant or a racial minority or a trans person or someone else Txxxx has attacked directly. Maybe you still have your job and haven’t lost a loved one or gotten sick. But we are all his victims now.

And he should never be forgiven.

[Neither should his accomplices, especially the politicians.

You can use the Search Directory at ActBlue to find Democrats to support.]

A Comment, a Column, and Carnage

“There isn’t any iceberg. There was an iceberg but it’s in a totally different ocean. The iceberg is in this ocean but it will melt very soon. There is an iceberg but we didn’t hit the iceberg. We hit the iceberg, but the damage will be repaired very shortly. The iceberg is a Chinese iceberg. We are taking on water but every passenger who wants a lifeboat can get a lifeboat, and they are beautiful lifeboats. Look, passengers need to ask nicely for the lifeboats if they want them. We don’t have any lifeboats, we’re not lifeboat distributors. Passengers should have planned for icebergs and brought their own lifeboats. I really don’t think we need that many lifeboats and they’re supposed to be our lifeboats, not the passenger’s lifeboats. The lifeboats were left on shore by the last captain of this ship. Nobody could have foreseen this iceberg.”

Someone calling themselves “Citizen” submitted that comment after reading Paul Krugman’s latest column in The New York Times. Krugman wrote:

“I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling more and more as if we’re all trapped on the Titanic — except that this time around the captain is a madman who insists on steering straight for the iceberg. And his crew is too cowardly to contradict him, let alone mutiny to save the passengers.

A month ago it was still possible to hope that the push by Dxxxx Txxxx and the Txxxxist governors of Sunbelt states to relax social distancing and reopen businesses like restaurants and bars — even though we met none of the criteria for doing so safely — wouldn’t have completely catastrophic results.

At this point, however, it’s clear that everything the experts warned was likely to happen, is happening. Daily new cases of Covid-19 are running two and a half times as high as in early June, and rising fast. Hospitals in early-reopening states are under terrible pressure. National death totals are still declining thanks to falling fatalities in the Northeast, but they’re rising in the Sunbelt, and the worst is surely yet to come.

A normal president and a normal political party would be horrified by this turn of events. They would realize that they made a bad call and that it was time for a major course correction; they would start taking warnings from health experts seriously.

But Txxxx, who began his presidency with a lurid, fact-challenged rant about “American carnage,” [is] doubling down on his rejection of expertise, this week demanding full reopening of schools in defiance of existing guidelines……

Until early 2020, Txxxx led a charmed political life. All his recent predecessors had to deal with some kind of external challenge during their first three years…..But Trump inherited a nation at peace and in the middle of a long economic expansion that continued, with no visible change in the trend, after he took office.

Then came Covid-19. Another president might have seen the pandemic as a crisis to be dealt with. But that thought never seems to have crossed Txxxx’s mind. Instead, he has spent the past five months trying to will us back to where we were in February, when he was sitting on top of a moving train and pretending that he was driving it.”

Unquote.

After hearing Txxxx speak at his inauguration, former president George W. Bush remarked, “Well, that was some weird shit”. When — not if — Joe Biden becomes president in January, Txxxx’s story about American carnage will have come true.

“To reduce the incidence or severity of, especially to innocuous levels”

“We have it totally under control,” President Txxxx said in late January. A month later: “The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA”. . . .

The virus is “getting under control,” he said Wednesday.

As reported tonight by The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times:

The seven-day average for daily new cases in the United States reached a record high — 49,600 — for the 27th straight day.

Thirteen states reported new highs in their seven-day averages. South Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and California reported record numbers of current Covid-19 hospitalizations.

After Texas reported another single-day record for new cases over the weekend, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said there won’t be enough medical personnel to keep up with the spike in cases if the rate of increase continued unabated in his city. Intensive care units in the city could be overflowing within 10 days. He currently lacks the authority to impose a shelter-in-place order for the city.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said hospitals in his city face staffing shortages as demand for ICU beds is increasing exponentially. Demand for testing has also outstripped the city’s capacity, he said, and the positivity rate has soared from 10 percent a month ago to 25 percent recently.

Mayor Kate Gallego of Phoenix said that with cases and death counts soaring in Arizona, testing sites in her city and surrounding Maricopa County are overwhelmed, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency has rebuffed her pleas for help. More than 20 percent of tests in Arizona are coming back positive now, Gallego said. “Public health officials tell me that when you’re doing the appropriate amount of testing, it should be around 2 percent,” she said.

Gallego said federal officials had dismissed her requests to conduct community-based testing in the area after people reported waiting in line for six hours at some testing sites. “We were told they’re moving away from that,” she said, “which feels like they are declaring victory while we’re still in crisis mode”. An aide to the mayor said that FEMA had responded to the city’s most recent request by saying the agency was “getting out of the testing business”.

In Florida, new cases exceeded 10,000 in a day on Sunday for the third time in the past week, after the state posted a record high of 11,400 the previous day. The new infections pushed the state’s total caseload past 200,000, a mark passed by just two other states, New York and California.

Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez said it was “clear that the growth is exponential at this point. . . It’s extremely worrisome”, noting that positivity rates in Miami-Dade County — the share of tests that come back positive — were also now above 20 percent.

Los Angeles County officials reported more than 3,000 cases for Friday — the highest daily total since the pandemic began. The number of hospital patients with confirmed coronavirus infections jumped 41% in the last three weeks. As of Saturday, there were 1,900 people hospitalized in L.A. County with confirmed cases; 28% of those people were in the ICU and 18% were on ventilators. Officials warned last week about “alarming increases in positivity rates and hospitalizations” and projected the possibility of running out of hospital beds in two to three weeks.

The country’s seven-day average of new deaths did fall, but health experts cautioned that the count of infections would soon drive the number back up.

In addition, the death rate does not capture all of the harm caused by the disease. As many as 15 to 20 percent of known Covid-19 patients may require hospitalization, and of the group admitted, 15 to 20 percent are transferred into intensive care, according to some estimates. Many who have recovered are still struggling to regain their pre-disease lives, and may face long-term health issues.

“The virus is getting under control”, he said.