As news trends about a strain of H1N1 influenza virus in China with “pandemic potential,” Democrats on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis put out a Green New Deal-lite climate plan that references the murder of George Floyd and the movement for racial justice on its first page, and the Program on Climate Change Communication of the-institution-formerly-known-as-Yale releases survey data suggesting that “in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, voters want climate action as part of the economic recovery plan and are more likely to vote for candidates that support renewable energy,” I’d like to encourage everyone to listen to or watch this unsettling interview with Laurie Garrett on Democracy Now!

The segment is heavy (and bears the title: “Massive Case of Denial: COVID Surges in US, Tops 10M Globally, as Pence Touts “Remarkable Progress”), but there are a lot of funny moments in there. Here’s the most memorable:

I mean, Amy, you probably have been following the case of the Harper’s bar in East Lansing, Michigan. They opened up when Michigan started opening up. It was legal, what they were doing. The bar was a very popular hot spot in that college town, packed with twenty-somethings. Everybody took their masks off, you know, or they had them dangling from one ear, you know, as like a fashion statement. A lot of drinking. And now, last count, more than 80 people have been contact traced to having COVID directly because they went to that bar. Well, the only way to deal with that situation is to shut the whole bar down, disinfect the entire place, open all the windows, put fans in, blow the place clean.

And this is what we’re dealing with all over the entire United States now, is situations where people refuse to wear a mask. They take it as a political — you know, “Don’t tread on me, baby. I have a right in America. You can’t tell me what to do.” Well, it’s true. I can’t tell you. I can’t walk in and make you put on your seatbelt […] I can’t make you wear a motorcycle helmet […] But both of those are things that affect only you. You know, everybody in your car won’t die because you didn’t wear a seatbelt, but you will die.

But this is a situation where we’re asking you to be a good citizen and give a damn about the people around you. And if you can’t do that, if you can’t manage to care about them the way you would, say, with secondhand smoking, or you would with various kinds of pollution that you might use, pesticide you spray on your front lawn as the wind blows it into your neighbor’s windows — if this is your attitude — your neighbors can just go ahead and have that pesticide because you felt like killing ants on your front lawn — then you’re not a good American, and you’re not a good Christian, and you’re not a good spiritual being. You’re a jerk.

Thanks to Garrett for the great work she’s been doing since COVID-19 emerged, and for decades before. And, as usual, sending love and support to everyone who’s in a place currently hard-hit by the pandemic.

Postscript: Police attacked protesters at Occupy City Hall early this morning. Budget deadline for NYC is today at midnight. Predictably, it seems like Mayor and Council are attempting to “cut” $1 billion from the NYPD budget to meet protesters’/the occupation’s demands by simply moving money (still earmarked for the police) to other city departments.

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