‘An Authoritarian Power Structure Brought Coronavirus to Liberty University’

Yes. Well. (Article is subscription only, but all you need is the headline.) UD can’t be the only one who has noted that the word liberty in little Falwell’s fiefdom carries the same value as democratic in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. As she has said repeatedly when writing about religion, subs and doms is the name of the game in many sects, and the more fundamentalist the kinkier. Let me die for you, Master.

‘“Everything here is by word-of-mouth rumor,” a senior official in the ultra-Orthodox town of Modi’in Illit told Haaretz. “There’s no oversight. People decide for themselves whether to go into isolation or not… We have no direct connection to the Health Ministry. The little that we know comes from people we know and unofficial conversations.”’

It’s quite a luxury for a modern state to maintain – nay, encourage – enormous pockets of pre-modern, anti-state populations. They don’t educate their children; they break national laws because they have no respect for such laws; they impose their thirteenth century sense of how daily life should be lived on a country overwhelmingly either secular or only moderately religious.

In pre-viral times, such populations are a terrible social and fiscal burden; when epidemics occur in communities whose members either don’t know what science is, or disbelieve in it, the luxury of indulging in an experiment to see whether a modern state can sustain itself while allowing massive ignorance and state-hatred to thrive within its borders suddenly reveals itself for the suicidal folly that it has always been.

Lyrics for a Stay-at-Home Order

Time passes slowly up here in the mountains
We sit beside bridges and walk beside fountains
And catch the wild fishes that float through the stream
Time passes slow when you’re lost in a dream

Once I had a sweetheart, he was fine and good-lookin’
We sat in the kitchen while his mama was cookin’
And stared out the window to the stars high above
Time passes slow when you’re searchin’ for love

Ain’t no reason to go in a wagon to town
Ain’t no reason to go to the fair
Ain’t no reason to go up, ain’t no reason to go down
Ain’t no reason to go anywhere

Time passes slowly up here in the daylight
We stare straight ahead and try so hard to stay right
Like the red rose of summer that blooms in the day
Time passes slow and then fades away

Ah bin to the…

mountaintop! Datz me smilin’ behind the king of kings! And now the lord done drug me low! Done turned my smile to a frown!

Potatoes: The New UD Staple.

As the three UD‘s hunker down, UD notes that the humble spud, in the form of oniony garlicky lemony hash browns, has emerged as queen of the kitchen. A glance at the potatoes coronavirus Google News page (CORONA SURVIVOR CREDITS GOD AND POTATO SOUP. FARMERS RUSH TO SUPPLY SPUDS DURING CORONAVIRUS.) confirms the new centrality of the plant.

Eleven Student Soldiers For Christ!

And, as Liberty University students and faculty continue to assemble, more to come. “None has astroprojected yet,” President Falwell announced yesterday in his weekly Student Morbidity Update, “but as some enter into their last agonies, transforming into icons of the agony of our lord, we will follow with confidence their ascension into heaven. And as the lord through plague conveys his final judgment of all mankind, we ourselves will surely follow after our students into eternal life. As it says in Isaiah: a child will lead them.”

For after all, as our Jewish brethren put it,the pandemic is

“getting us closer to the redemption,” the coming of the Messiah.

‘The social services cuts that America’s free-market ideologues have pushed for decades are coming back to infect them. Chronically underfunded hospitals, companies competing over who can profit the most off novel testing and vaccines, millions uninsured, and people forced by financial necessity to go to work while infected are all part of the vision many companies and their representatives have spent billions lobbying to create.’

As with their private jet–aided appeals to lower emissions, the 1 percent’s virtue signaling about social distancing during this outbreak obscures the fact that they’ve helped make the crisis worse. Even starved of their chefs and personal shoppers, the rich might be able to weather Covid-19 in their summer homes. Their worldview, on the other hand, may not be so lucky—and could face an angrier, more organized public on the other side.

A textbook example of suicidal accommodation to religious and political extremism…

… is occurring in Israel, where, in the midst of a pandemic, police chose not to break up a gathering of hundreds of people. In almost any other state, a sect like the Jerusalem Faction, which is openly and sometimes violently opposed to Israel itself, would be under strict government control on a routine basis.

The mass gathering was in direct violation of the Health Ministry directives, which forbids gatherings of more than 10 people, including prayers, weddings, and funerals, in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus.   Police officers were at the funeral, but no attempts were made to fine the mourners or to stop the event…

Recreating great paintings…

… from whatever you happen to have in the house.

Time well spent during an epidemic. More here.

My Niece (I’ve Never Met Her) is a Reality Show Star.

Which is only one of the fascinating things I’ve learned from a family member’s just-published report on the Rapoports. (UD‘s father, Herbert Rapp, was born Rapoport.) Harz, Motel, and six of their sons came to the States from Cherkassy Ukraine in the early years of the twentieth century and settled in Philadelphia. My grandfather, Joseph, was one of the sons.

Another sibling, who stayed in the old country, is presumed to have died at Babi Yar.

Although Joseph and his children look like a typical American Jewish success story (doctors and entrepreneurs galore), a closer look reveals a strikingly high degree of physical and mental infirmity in my father, his two sisters, and quite a few of the children the three of them produced. “Dad’s family,” concluded my sister Barbara, after scanning the report, “was a genetic nightmare.”

1948, Baltimore. Engagement of my parents (far right). My mother’s mother, Fanny Kirson Wasserman, far left. Her husband, Charlie Wasserman, is taking the picture. Middle: Reba and Joseph Rapoport.

‘He pulled all the levers — the Hannity and Limbaugh disinformation machine — but in the end, even they couldn’t hide the mounting numbers of the sick and the dead. He tried to sell the market on his inverted reality — and this time, the attempt to create reality didn’t quite work, as the market cratered. Epidemics are like that. They are reality at its edgiest. This one finally called the con man’s bluff.’

Andrew Sullivan.

Having a Pun Field Day



Richard ‘What’s in it for Me?’ Burr, Pride of North Carolina.

… North Carolinians don’t need an agency or committee of Burr’s peers to tell us what he did was inexcusably wrong. In a crisis that will define his state and country for years, the senator failed in his most fundamental duty, to serve and protect the people who elected him.

Now, everything he does will be colored by that failure. Republicans know Burr is an albatross, an example opponents will use throughout this election season to argue that too many in the GOP, especially the president, have seen COVID-19 through the lens of personal gains and losses. North Carolinians know that he will be a source of shame to our state.

Among Possible Immune System Strengtheners Against Coronavirus, UD is rooting for BCG…

… for family reasons. Her father, Herbert Rapp, spent most of his career (Branch Chief, Immunology, NIH) working with BCG as a possible treatment for some cancers; now, AAAS, Science Magazine, and Foreign Policy announce that clinical trials of BCG’s effectiveness against coronavirus will soon begin. (Here’s a 1972 New York Times article on cancer immunology and my father’s work. You need a subscription to read it.) Researchers will investigate whether it “can rev up the human immune system in a broad way, allowing it to better fight the virus that causes coronavirus disease and, perhaps, prevent infection with it altogether.”

It would be very gratifying to UD if her father’s decades-long faith in the significant immunogenic properties of BCG were confirmed in this globally powerful way. (“This was the heyday of immune therapy with bacteria called BCG Bacillus Calmette–Guérin,” recalls one of his colleagues. “Herbert J. Rapp deserves the credit for leading our laboratory’s efforts that led to successful immunotherapy in people with early stages of bladder cancer.”) But she’s her father’s daughter – she figures the chances of this are slim.

People are always learning the importance of skepticism the hard way, as in the current case of medical fraud Gregory Rigano, who has already seduced Fox News and the huckster in chief. Keep calm, and listen to Fauci.


UPDATE: An allusion to UD‘s father’s work in today’s Bloomberg News:

[BCG is] a common immunotherapy for early-stage bladder cancer…

School Song, Liberty University

(Sing it.)

We will all go together when we go

What a comforting fact that is to know

Universal bereavement – what an inspiring achievement

Yes we all will go together when we go!


UPDATE: [C]lasses are now online, [but] repeated emails from the university to faculty members over the past week and a half insisted that all instructors must conduct their online classes from their campus offices, and that they are still expected to hold office hours and welcome students for face-to-face interaction…

Perhaps this is a debate over what it means for Liberty to be “open.” In his most recent statements, Falwell seems to be defining the term as opening the campus back up to all students and holding classes in classrooms. But the local and state officials and community members who have condemned Falwell’s decision seem to have a different definition: To them, a college campus full of thousands of people is an open campus, regardless of whether or not the classes it offers are being conducted online.

The question that everyone seems to have for Falwell is simple: Why? Why allow thousands of students, faculty and staff to congregate on campus when doing so goes against the guidelines of nearly every health organization in the Western world?

You know how little Jerry’s thinking: Only good things come to those who love the lord. If bad things happen to those same people, they didn’t truly love the lord, and for that they deserve punishment.

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