We chat with Jeffrey York, professor at the University of Colorado, about his research on environmental entrepreneurship, the simultaneous production of goods that have both ecological and economic benefits. He describes how the entrepreneurial mindset – with its thoughtful experimentation and creative invention – can help generate the kinds of products that will slow down global warming and save our planet while at the same time earning a living for the businesspeople.
What factors might encourage more of this kind of behavior? Is it possible that the coronavirus, despite its damaging effects on a lot of people, can also serve as the stimulus for advances in ecological sciences and in other areas?
Derek Willis, reporter at ProPublica, talks about Pres. Trump’s claims that mail-in voting would lead to voter fraud. A research report that Trump relies on (by a conservative think tank, the Public Interest Legal Foundation, or PILF) contains significant factual errors: it doubled the actual number of absentee ballots which states had sent out but which voters failed to return.
The PILF report’s analysis is also flawed. There are many reasons why a voter might not return the ballot sent by election officials – including that, like many voters in in-person voting states, the majority of the population just doesn’t get out and vote. Also, someone who registers to vote in one state and then, many years later, moves to a different state, might register and vote in her new state without ever notifying her former state that she’s moved. (Such notification is not legally required.) There is no reason to conclude that any fraud was involved in these facts. And thus no reason to restrict people’s ability to vote – by mail or otherwise.
We rethink the week with Val Endress, professor of political communications at Rhode Island College; Dean Spiliotis, Civic Scholar and Presidential Scholar at Southern New Hampshire University; and Paul Peter Jesep, attorney, former aide to Sen. Susan Collins and former Republican.
We discuss the protests in many states against governors who continue to close public spaces and require people to shelter in place and wear masks. The protesters – some of whom carry guns, even into State legislative buildings – claim that their constitutional rights are being violated by government measures that are intended to protect the general public from further outbreaks of COVID-19.
We note that Trump and the right-wing media are also aggressively pushing for a “return to normal” despite warnings from health professionals that that might jeopardize public health. Trump et al have joined in criticizing states’ caution about lifting health precautions, but only when the health-conscious governor is a Democrat. They don’t mention any of the Republican governors who have issued similar orders to protect their states’ constituents. Trump et al have also shifted blame to immigrants and other vulnerable populations for our country’s failure to prepare for and control the coronavirus.
We are concerned about the way white nationalists and others on the radical right fringes are using this pandemic to help further their own anti-democratic agendas. The American “experiment” with freedom and democracy is under enough of a threat already because of the health challenges which will no doubt burden our elections, and, of course, with Pres. Trump’s apparent unwillingness to relinquish power (deeming any possible election loss to have been “fraudulent”).
Finally, we discuss Joe Biden’s Tara Reade problem, which is also a problem for Democrats and for the “me too” movement. As so often happens, the problem itself may or may not have “happened” – and Biden says it didn’t – but the way he handled it has made it much more difficult for Democrats, women and progressives to support his candidacy enthusiastically. How can anyone explain why Biden refused even to discuss the allegations for such a long time, why he acted as if the matter were too trivial to be worth his time? Why didn’t he treat Reade’s claims the same way he treated Dr. Blasey Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh: These are important issues and the facts must be fully investigated; once we know all the facts, we can fairly assess what actions should be taken.
Part 1. Scott Braddock
We speak with Scott Braddock, editor of the Quorum, in Texas. We discuss the situation in Texas, in the wake of confusion caused by the inconsistent messages sent by the president, the governor, county judges (who administer counties), and the mayors of cities and towns. The confusion centers around whether residents are supposed to continue to shelter in place, or to ‘open’ the economy by returning to ‘normal’. No additional testing is available to indicate whether the pandemic has stabilized, or is growing. Because of the vagueness of the governor’s orders, the county judge of Montgomery County has threatened to open up completely. Governor Abbot has suspended some state laws defining the power he has. There are many inequities and problems surrounding the reopening. Workers will be required to return to work, with no guarantees of their safety or even safety equipment. It appears that the population at large is considered expendable for the sake of the economy.
The prison in neighboring Fort Bend County has been designated as a receiver of prisoners from other prisons who have tested positive for Corona virus. This prison is located near Houston. The people who will be caring for these prisoners are likely not to be medical professionals, but ordinary prison staff, untrained. About 400 prisoners are scheduled to be moved at present.
The situation in Texas is fraught with dangers.
Part 2: Bill Curry, former advisor to Pres. Clinton and contributor to Salon.com discusses the allegations by Tara Reade against Joe Biden.
Curry is not persuaded, because she has changed her story multiple times about events that allegedly occurred more than 20 years ago. Biden has had a reputation as a ‘good guy’ among politicians in Wshington, D.C. Curry does not want to shame the accuser, but there is no record of her reporting the alleged assault at the time. However, Biden needs to make more of an answer to the allegations. It is, however, hard to prove a negative. Biden also has problems with regard to his son, Hunter, who could be viewed as an example of soft corruption. The DNC needs to consider whether to choose another candidate. The best choice would not be a progressive, but would be a woman.
Note: the interview was recorded on April 30. On May 1, Biden was interviewed on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. He denied Reade’s allegations, “this never happened”.