Tag Archives: coronavirus

Reading: Fall 2020: Possibilities, Promise and the Likelihood of Failure

From Fall 2020: Possibilities, Promise and the Likelihood of Failure

Short-sighted administrators, over-centralized systems, under-funded students, over-priced tuition – and other hypehenizations. State universities have done themselves in. Reform: cut admin, fund tuition down to $10/credit, get classes back to 10-20 – suits social distancing – place emphasis back on face to face, boost grad offerings, get emphasis back on academics, and you’ll see enrollment back up.

Reading: The right cannot resist a culture war against the ‘liberal elite’, even now

From The right cannot resist a culture war against the ‘liberal elite’, even now


In the world as it is, rather than as it may be, a shameful fact is undeniable. The highest Covid-19 casualties are in the US and the UK, where the mendacities of the populist right have deformed society. It turns out that being governed by Anglo-Saxon conservatives is a threat to the health of nations. Their rule kills the old and blights the futures of the young. To understand their ineptitude, think of how conservatism turned into a know-nothing culture in the past decade, and ask what Donald Trump and Boris Johnson would be doing in an alternative universe where they never came close to power.

Reading: Trump Speech to Bring 1,000 West Point Cadets Back to Campus

From Trump Speech to Bring 1,000 West Point Cadets Back to Campus

Oh yippee. This article is interesting because it counterposes military rationale with Trump’s lack of rationale.

And so last Friday, the day before Mr. Pence was to speak at the Air Force ceremony in Colorado, Mr. Trump, never one to be upstaged, abruptly announced that he would, in fact, be speaking at West Point.

That was news to everyone, including officials at West Point, according to three people involved with or briefed on the event. The academy had been looking at the option of a delayed presidential commencement in June, but had yet to complete any plans. With Mr. Trump’s pre-emptive statement, they are now summoning 1,000 cadets scattered across the country to return to campus in New York, the state that is the center of the outbreak.

Reading: Trump’s big show of opening the US economy will hide the real story – CNNPolitics

From Trump’s big show of opening the US economy will hide the real story – CNNPolitics

This is not how to handle an on-going crisis. This is marketing, not leadership.

The fact that it is constitutionally superfluous for Trump to authorize states to open up suggests his real intent is an election-year political device that positions him as leading the resurgence and those who oppose him as laggards holding America back.

“We’re going to be announcing guidelines, and we’ll be talking about various states, and it’s very exciting,” Trump said in another rambunctious Rose Garden news conference Wednesday.

“We will be the comeback kids, all of us, all of us. It’s incredible, what’s going on,” Trump said. “Tomorrow is going to be a very big day … We will have some openings that will … exceed our expectations, and they will be safe.”

Reading: Hydroxychloroquine: how an unproven drug became Trump’s coronavirus ‘miracle cure’

From Hydroxychloroquine: how an unproven drug became Trump’s coronavirus ‘miracle cure’

Julia Carrie Wong in The Guardian traces the movement of the promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a cure/treatment covid-19, and by whom, and for what: to attempt to hold on to legitimacy.

Aaron Shakow, a research associate at Harvard Medical School and historian of medicine, the chief physician of the emperor Nero circulated a recipe for an old miracle cure.

“It was an attempt by Nero to sustain his legitimacy in the midst of this catastrophic event,” Shakow said. “Epidemics are dangerous to rulers.”

Trump’s admin – along with Fox – is setting guesses against expertise; they want a miracle cure that will demonstrate that their power is legitimate. Trump: “But we don’t have time to go and say, ‘Gee, let’s take a couple of years and test it out, and let’s go and test with the test tubes and the laboratories.’” More to the measure: the admin doesn’t have the knowledge or skill to manage a cure.

Instead, Trump helps create a meme to fight a pandemic virus. Fox helps, anti-vaxxers and the right jumps in, and

An 85-year-old medication was well on its way to becoming a Covid-19 meme.

A meme is not a cure.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease doctor, has repeatedly warned that there is no conclusive evidence to support using the drug. Asked whether it should be considered a treatment for Covid-19, he said on 24 March: “The answer is no.”

Reading: When Will Coronavirus Crisis and Stay-at-Home Orders End?

From When Will Coronavirus Crisis and Stay-at-Home Orders End?

Boris is in intensive care and we’re still seeing willing ignorance.

Neither Jared Kushner nor Donald Trump seem to understand what it means for the federal government to act as a backstop, or what the purposes of a federal medical-supply stockpile could be (given the comparatively tiny size of that government), and how few medical supplies could ever be required by its workforce.

“The notion of the federal stockpile was, it’s supposed to be our stockpile,” Kushner said Thursday. “It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpile, which they can then use.”

The more troubling interpretation of that statement is that it isn’t ignorant but strategic and sadistic. The continued messaging from the White House is that at every stage of this pandemic, states and governors will be left to do their own work rather than rely on federal support and — critically — guidance.

Reading: US edits National Stockpile website after Kushner claims it’s not for states

From US edits National Stockpile website after Kushner claims it’s not for states

Ars Technica reports on business as usual:

The Trump administration changed the Strategic National Stockpile website’s description of the program yesterday after White House adviser Jared Kushner falsely claimed that the medical-supply stockpile is not meant to be used to help states. The description was changed to minimize the stockpile’s role in helping states through crises like the current pandemic, but other portions of the official website still make it clear that Kushner was wrong.

I doubt that the website declares the actual policy – that would be in official government docs – so the change in the site is an attempt at covering Kushner’s tracks. But it’s not the action of responsible leaders.

Reading: Teaching in the Time of Coronavirus, Part II

From Teaching in the Time of Coronavirus, Part II

Thank you to Aaron Barlow for calling the online fallback. Much of what I was reading on the tech and distance ed boards took the attitude of Unfortunate But Necessary. Many posters and teachers went with Opportunity Knocks. But ask the students and a different sense comes out:

This was confirmed last Wednesday when I quizzed them about their loud negative reaction to the college’s closing. Few of the students like the online tools we use every day; none of them sees the move online in a positive light. They feel their educations are being disrupted and suspect that the replacement they are being offered is a sham.

And it is.


Most educators have a somewhat cynical view of student attitudes. We think that, like most of the rest of society, they have bought into the factory model of education, that they are in school only to get the degrees that will further their upward movement in society. We forget that many of them are actually interested in learning—even though they may appear to be sleepwalking through at least some of their courses. They want their degrees to mean something, to be more than just magical pieces of paper.

Our students, of course, are shoved into as difficult a situation by coronavirus as we are. This is no vacation for them, and they know it. They also recognize that the colleges and universities are lying to them through the very act of replacing their classes with online approximations—though they, too, know the lying may be necessary. They feel frustrated, for they do not want to delay their progress toward their degrees; they feel they have no choice but to accept what is happening. But they do not like it and some of them feel—and are—technologically unprepared for the new situation. Though almost all of them have smartphones, not everyone has a computer at home for writing papers.

The lying isn’t necessary; but the universities are not in a position to offer much more than online versions right now. That’s our fault. The unwelcome move online might reveal another crack in the papered-over system. We’ll need to repair things later. We’ll need to repair a lot of things Later.

But, Barlow suggests, we need to change teaching and learning Right Now.

If we work at it, it may prove better than anything we have done before, though it will not be categorizable and will not even be the online coursework we are trying to ram down our throats and our students’ throats.