Will we endure 2.2 million deaths? Or will we manage to turn things around?
More broadly, the United States must remedy its health priorities: We pour resources into clinical medicine but neglect public health. What’s the difference? If you get lung cancer, surgeons operate to save your life, but public health professionals keep you from smoking in the first place. If you get the coronavirus, a doctor will treat you; public health aims to keep the pandemic from getting near you. The United States has a decentralized and spotty public health system, and it has endured painful budget cuts, yet historically public health has saved more lives than clinical medicine.
We may dodge a bullet this time, but experts have been warning for decades that a killer pandemic will come; typically, they expected an avian flu like the 1918 pandemic rather than a coronavirus. Singapore and South Korea did well this time partly because they had been frightened by SARS and MERS and were vigilant; if we, too, can be scared enough to invest in public health and fix our health care system, then something good can come from this crisis — and in the long run, that may save lives.
The Big One is approaching, whether now or later, whether we’re prepared or not. Dr. Ferguson, the infectious disease modeler who predicted deaths in the United States might reach 2.2 million, came down with a cough and fever a few days ago. He tested positive for the coronavirus.
There are 168 hours in each week. How do we find time for what matters most? Time management expert Laura Vanderkam studies how busy people spend their lives, and she’s discovered that many of us drastically overestimate our commitments each week, while underestimating the time we have to ourselves. She offers a few practical strategies to help find more time for what matters to us, so we can “build the lives we want in the time we’ve got.”
WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that states may not impose excessive fines, extending a bedrock constitutional protection but potentially jeopardizing asset-forfeiture programs that help fund police operations with property seized from criminal suspects.
“For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history: Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court. “Excessive fines can be used, for example, to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies,” she continued, citing examples from English history tracing to the Magna Carta.
More recently, the proliferation of fines has caught the attention of criminal-justice advocates, who contend they fall disproportionately on the poor and distort police priorities.
The opinion leaves open several questions regarding its ultimate impact, issues likely to percolate through lower courts as defendants challenge fines.
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that the Eighth Amendment protection from excessive fines applied only to the federal government not the states. That initially was so after the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, but the U.S. Supreme Court long has held that the 14th Amendment, adopted after the Civil War to prevent states from infringing on individual rights, extended nearly all its protections to all levels of government.
Wednesday’s decision confirmed that the Eighth Amendment contained no exceptions. “The historical and logical case for concluding that the 14th incorporates the Excessive Fines Clause is overwhelming,” Justice Ginsburg wrote.
Now Paul Ryan is announcing that he’s retiring — after saying “I ain’t going anywhere” in December — and the outlook for Republicans is grim, both in the 2018 midterms and beyond.
.. “Ryan has never loved the job; he oozes aggravation when discussing intraparty debates over ‘micro-tactics,’ and friends say he feels like he’s running a daycare center.”
.. By July, the House of Representatives had passed a slew of big bills, only to watch them slowly die in the Senate. He’s also trying to work with a president who flips from priority to priority (
- North Korea!
- ) and a constantly-changing White House staff. It’s hard to generate any sustained momentum for key legislation.
.. At least some of this year’s mass GOP retirements stem from a sense that little can really get done in Trump’s Washington, so you might as well do something else more lucrative... The guy who liberals depicted throwing granny off the cliff . . . was also the kind of man goes into drug treatment centers, touches the scars from the “track marks” of heroin addicts, and prays with and for them. He was portrayed as some sort of heartless Ayn Rand acolyte when he emphasized how conservatives needed to find solutions for poverty. He was civil, well-informed, polite, and firm, the opposite of a table-pounding, demagogic extremist, and that probably just aggravated his critics on the left even more