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Not Just the Flu

By Tim Butler | Posted at 10:12 AM

This is a really good piece on where the coronavirus stands, particularly in comparison to the flu.

Friends, please keep trying to #flattenthecurve. It is working and we can be ingenious to find ways to keep life, ministry and work moving along — I’m seeing so many people being so creative already. I think for the Christian this truly does come under “loving your neighbor.” Even if, say, I get a mild case, what if the person I give it to doesn’t? I know a number of people sent to ICU by this and one who has died so far.

The flu can be bad, but I have never known so many people severely afflicted during a single flu season and those run for six months. This is the situation in sum: even with drastic response unlike anything we do for the flu, in just one month, this has killed more people than a bad flu season of six months. That is sobering and calls us to carefulness as we value the preciousness of each life God has made.

The Death Toll

By Tim Butler | Posted at 11:32 AM

Since the first reported death from COVID-19 in the United States on March 2, we’ve averaged about 550 deaths per day (if you average it out over those 42 days), though the average in April is much higher. If that overall average were to continue for six months like a flu season, we would be looking at over 100,000 deaths; if the higher present rate continued, it would be more like a quarter million. Let’s hope our efforts to #FlattenTheCurve help and, more than that, let’s keep praying to the God who has power over death that he would heal our world and comfort those for whom those averages aren’t average at all, because they include their loved ones.

5.

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:03 AM

Jayson Stark writes:

So settle in for a memorable evening — as two tough, talented baseball teams empty their tanks for the right to keep playing, and keep dreaming. Yeah, it's “just” Game 5 of a tremendous National League Division Series. But in truth, you know, and we know, and they know, it's much, much more.

It is going to be quite an evening.

The Amazing Amazon

By Tim Butler | Posted at 9:40 PM

Matthew Yglesias on the contrast between investor's reaction to Apple's quarter in which the company increased profits and Amazon which saw a dramatic drop in profits:

The company's shares are down a bit today, but the company's stock is taking a much less catastrophic plunge in already-meager profits than Apple, whose stock plunged simply because its Q4 profits increased at an unexpectedly slow rate. That's because Amazon, as best I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers. The shareholders put up the equity, and instead of owning a claim on a steady stream of fat profits, they get a claim on a mighty engine of consumer surplus. Amazon sells things to people at prices that seem impossible because it actually is impossible to make money that way. And the competitive pressure of needing to square off against Amazon cuts profit margins at other companies, thus benefiting people who don't even buy anything from Amazon.

I'm certainly not complaining about Amazon — I love shopping with Amazon. But, it is curious how investors treat Amazon differently than other companies year after year.

HT: Gruber

Spider Elimination

By Tim Butler | Posted at 11:39 PM

This is one of the strangest news stories I've seen in a long time:

An attempt to remove spider webs ended with a charred home at about 1 p.m. Saturday.

Eiliya Maida used a propane blowtorch to clear cobwebs in the backyard of his 811 Coit Tower Way home before dry plants ignited and started an attic fire, said George Basbous, Maida's brother-in-law. While Maida went into the front yard unaware, Basbous noticed smoke rising from the top of the house.

HT: Mark Ryan.

Drudging the Headlines

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:01 AM

Depending on how you look at it, Matt Drudge either posted one of his best or worst headlines today. Earlier, the Drudge Report had a large headline that said “GREEKS KICKED OUT OF EURO!” Naturally, I assumed that the Eurozone had ejected Greece from the multinational currency system and went to read the news. The actual article, however, was about soccer. Hmm.

Towering

By Tim Butler | Posted at 12:19 AM

The new One World Trade Center sounds (and looks) quite impressive. I haven't followed it all that closely in recent times, so I was surprised they had made as much progress on it as they have. Too bad it isn't going to be the tallest structure in North America.

Outlet Mall Wars

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:22 AM

It seems two outlet mall developers are vying to build an outlet mall in Chesterfield Valley. This is just down right bizarre:

It was surely a highly contentious decision for Saks to decide to go with Simon's project, she added. After all, Saks has a big presence in many of Taubman's malls.

“I'm sure they were sweating bullets on that one,” she said. “It is often more political than trying to end the war in the Middle East.”

Hmm.

UAW und VW

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:27 AM

Interesting tidbit from Autoblog:

Automotive News reports the UAW has not told Volkswagen of its efforts to unionize the Chattanooga plant. An announcement may come about the program in early April. The plant currently employs more than 2,700 workers.

Perhaps an announcement is too late, if the union is already passing out cards in a bid to get enough signatures to organize. Given VW's willingness to allow the workers to organize, why the quasi-secrecy?

The Cardinals' Biggest Furry Fan

By Tim Butler | Posted at 12:08 AM

Jere Longman writes in the New York Times on the Rally Squirrel:

June Cantor, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Streets Department, said she could not comment on whether any laws prohibited the transportation of rodents across state lines for purposes of supporting a playoff baseball team. She did have a suggestion, though, for keeping Rally Squirrel out of Citizens Bank Park.

“Maybe they could have lots of acorns and peanuts outside the stadium to lure him out,” Cantor said.

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