Did you know…

… that today is Six Degrees from Everyone Day? Celebrate the birthday of actor Kevin Bacon (1958), inspirer of the Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon game, by finding your connection to someone you really want to meet. Happy birthday, Kevin!

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Daily Pnut
JULY 8, 2020
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

― Maya Angelou

Holding Out For A HEROES Act

(San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images)

As COVID-19 continues its spread throughout the US, another problem is on the horizon: evictions. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, 42 states and Washington DC have all helped struggling citizens keep their homes by placing moratoriums on evictions. But now, as the delays on evictions reach their end, many tenants who’ve lost their jobs could be in danger of losing their homes as well.

In New York, the state placed a three-month eviction moratorium beginning in March. As the three month period expired, the state created another delay on evictions, but with more restrictive criteria. For those who don’t meet the new requirement of experiencing “financial hardship” due to COVID-19, the state has little to offer.

New York, especially, is impacted by evictions. The state has lost 1.1 million units of affordable housing over the last 20 years, and New York City, where 40 percent of the state’s population resides, is currently facing an affordable housing crisis. Outside of New York, another report predicts that over 20 million US residents will be at risk of eviction come September.

While some pieces of pandemic legislation have helped people scrape by for the time being, the government could be doing much more to secure the well-being of its citizens. The CARES Act, which provides enhanced unemployment benefits, has helped supplement people’s incomes but expires at the end of July. States have also begun putting funds into rental assistance programs to help renters meet their financial obligations, but these funds are not large enough to help everyone, and the requirements for assistance are also very narrow: for example, New York’s relief fund only helps those who lost their income between April 1 and July 31.

Nationally, the House passed the HEROES Act in May, which would provide $100 billion in rental assistance and create a national eviction moratorium alongside continuing unemployment benefits, but the bill has yet to pass the Senate.

Worst Case Bol-scenario

(Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

  • For months, Brazil’s populist president Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the coronavirus crisis, dismissing the infection as just a “little flu,” refusing to wear a mask, socially distance or shut down any businesses. Now he’s tested positive for COVID-19. He made the announcement on Brazilian TV channels Tuesday.
  • “On Sunday, I wasn’t feeling very well. On Monday, it got worse when I started feeling tired and some muscle pain. I also had a 38-degree [Celsius] fever. Given those symptoms, the presidential doctor said there was suspicion of COVID-19,” Bolsonaro said, adding that he then went to hospital to receive a lung scan. His wife, First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro, was also tested.
  • He warned people not to come too close to him, and promised to hold future meetings by video conference. Bolsonaro has long maintained that lockdowns would hurt the country more than the virus itself. In a March 24 speech, he said: “Our life has to go on. Jobs should be maintained.”
  • He held onto that position even as Brazil’s outbreak dramatically worsened, criticizing governors and mayors for introducing stringent lockdown measures in an attempt to curb cases. On Monday, Brazil’s health ministry said there have been more than 65,000 deaths and 1,623,284 confirmed cases so far. But given the difficulty of obtaining coronavirus tests in the country, some local experts say the real number of people infected could be 12 to 16 times higher. (CNN)

A “Cassandra” Health Official

  • Israel’s top public health official resigned Tuesday, frustrated that her warnings hadn’t been heeded, the country had reopened too soon, and now that there is a new surge of COVID-19 cases which officials are scrambling to contain.
  • Siegal Sadetzki, Israeli Health Ministry’s Public Health Services director, and the leading epidemiologist heading the COVID-19 response, had praised Israel’s nationwide lockdowns in the spring, which brought an initial wave of infections down to about 10 cases a day. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared victory over the pandemic in May, encouraging Israelis to go out and “enjoy yourselves.”
  • Schools and wedding venues were reopened in June, with Sadetzki warning it was too soon. She posted her nine-page resignation letter on Facebook Tuesday, the same day authorities were quickly reimposing restrictions shutting down wedding and entertainment venues, bars, clubs, gyms and swimming pools.
  • The Health Ministry said the country currently has at least 12,700 active cases, and at least 338 deaths. Netanyahu’s approval rating for handling the health crisis dropped almost 30 percentage points from May to July. (NPR)

Additional World News


World’s Most Dangerous Uncle

  • President Trump’s niece will release her bombshell memoir next week. Mary Trump’s tell-all family memoir, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man , describes how a decades-long history of greed, darkness, dysfunction, and brutality turned her uncle into a reckless leader who her publisher says “now threatens the world’s health, economic security and social fabric.”
  • Mary, 55, is a clinical psychologist who asserts that her uncle has all nine clinical criteria for being a narcissist. But that label doesn’t begin to capture the full array of the president’s psychological troubles.
  • She writes: “The fact is Donald’s pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neurophysical tests that he’ll never sit for.” Mary says her uncle’s position in one of New York’s wealthiest and most infamous real-estate empires helped him acquire “twisted behaviors” — attributes like seeing other people in “monetary terms” and practicing “cheating as a way of life.”
  • One example she gives involves something the president often boasts about: attending the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school, which he has called “the best school in the world” and “super genius stuff.” According to Mary, when her uncle was a high school student in Queens, he paid someone to take the college entrance SAT test in his place.
  • The proxy earned Trump a high score on the test, which later helped him transfer to Wharton after two years at Fordham University in the Bronx. Mary also objects to that notion that Trump is a strategic thinker, writing: “Donald’s ego has been and is a fragile and inadequate barrier between him and the real world, which, thanks to his father’s money and power, he never had to negotiate by himself.” (NYT)
  • Another tell all book: Stephanie Winston Wolkoff is Coming Out With Another Dishy Trump Tell-All (Vanity Fair, $)
  • The Inside Story of Why Mary Trump Wrote a Tell-All Memoir (NYT, $)

Additional USA News

A Viral Tryout

  • NBA athletes are known for their flashy passes, but as they return to action in a COVID-19 free bubble, professional hoopers may be giving virologists their most valuable assist yet. As the league’s top 18 teams flock to Disney World for their condensed season finale, their trial in isolation will act as a proving ground both for basketball supremacy and burgeoning mitigation strategies.
  • In a small environment of regularly-tested individuals on regimented schedules, it becomes much easier to pinpoint a virus’ spread and test inventive treatment programs.
  • With so many variables held in constant by the bubble, the NBA is granting researchers a rare chance to validate these new approaches to a virus that we are only beginning to understand. Players will be outfitted with smart rings that closely monitor heart rate and temperature, and tested on a daily basis using both a traditional nose swab and an unproven saliva test.
  • Whether or not you believe the NBA’s bold return is prudent, it’s reassuring to know that this logistical nightmare will serve to further science rather than merely crown a basketball champion.
  • However, both entertainment and innovation depend on this idea actually getting off the ground. With less than a month before tip-off, COVID-19 shows no signs of fatigue. If August rolls around and players begin testing positive, where will the league draw the line and forfeit all their planning and research? (The Verge)

Additional Reads

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WordPress Bans Commercial Blog Links From Official Documentation – Search Engine Journal

“During discussion about external linking policy, we came to conclusion that we won’t allow, at least in the beginning and for the time being, any commercial blogs.

So before you start arguing that some popular plugin’s blogs have valuable information, let me stop you right there.

…this will completely move focus from initial idea which is:

Benefit for the documentation user.”

via WordPress Bans Commercial Blog Links From Official Documentation – Search Engine Journal