Self Portrait – Sunday morning

1. Yes, I really do have a neck. Just wearing my hoodie [and Mr.Robot cap underneath], ready to head out for our usual Sunday morning grocery shopping.

2. Returning home, I must note all the nutters out there panic shopping because the world is coming to an end or something equally Trumpian. Cripes! Checking out at Trader Joe’s – well prepared with every available checkout register staffed and the shelves pretty well filled – was a piece of cake. Unlike our first stop on the way into town which had only 2 registers open and half the shelves apparently still cleaned out from Saturday. TJ’s still took a while with middle-class twits and preppers loading up on boxes and boxes of cold cereal and “self-limiting” at 4 dozen eggs per cart. :-]

China donates coronavirus supplies to Italy via China Red Cross


A Chinese team of experts with head of the Italian Red Cross, Francesco Rocca

A planeload of medical supplies, including masks and respirators, has arrived in Italy from China to help the European country deal with its growing coronavirus crisis…

Italy is now the worst-affected nation in the world after China, since the contagion came to light there on February 21…

The outbreak risks overwhelming Italian hospitals, and some key supplies are running low.

In contrast to China, Italy’s partners in the European Union earlier this month refused Rome’s requests for help with medical supplies as they looked to stockpile face masks and other equipment to help their own citizens.

A team of nine Chinese medical staff arrived late on Thursday with some 30 tonnes of equipment on a flight organised by the Red Cross Society of China.

“In this moment of great stress, of great difficulty, we are relieved to have this arrival of supplies. It is true that it will help only temporarily, but it is still important,” said the head of the Italian Red Cross, Francesco Rocca.

In a separate development, Chinese businessman Jack Ma, who is the founder of the Alibaba Group and among the world’s richest people, offered to donate 500,000 coronavirus testing kits and one million masks to the United States, which on Friday declared a national emergency over the outbreak.

…Jack Ma said: “Drawing from my own country’s experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus.”…”We hope that our donation can help Americans fight against the pandemic!”

Over the past weeks, Ma’s organisations have helped provide similar supplies to virus-hit countries such as Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iran and Spain.

I’m not certain if today’s generations know much of the history, of the role often assumed by charities like the Red Cross, globally and in individual nations in time of disaster. Whether war or natural disasters, the Red Cross societies can typically be counted upon to provide aid and comfort to victims regardless of political context. Flags and elections don’t count as much as lives at risk.

BTW, I didn’t learn of this aid to Italy from the mainstream channels on American television. Which is why I rely on more international news sources, anyway.

Down to 2 old white guys, again


Since 2010, 54 women came to power as prime ministers, presidents or chancellors…

Estonia, Singapore, Ethiopia and Finland – these are some of the 21 countries currently governed by a female president or prime minister…Yet a woman president of the U.S. still remains only a hypothetical.

The 2020 Democratic nomination contest originally featured six women candidates, a record number. But the most prominent female candidates for the Democratic nomination – Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar – have all dropped out, and the focus of the race has narrowed to two males.

[This] research examines what countries where women run the government have in common – and why the U.S. still lags behind.

Same as it ever was. Not even any new lies to supplant all the old rationales.