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April 09, 2020 06:53 AM UTC

Thursday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Slick campaigns and dazzling speeches can work for a while, but the magic always wears off.”

–Charles Krauthammer


33 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. And there's another giant problem we face. A giant percentage of companies renting commercial space and individuals renting residential space – can't pay. Not won't, can't.

    And the owners of these properties can't kick people out and rent to others – there's zero demand for commercial or residential from people that can pay. So drastically reduced income.

    And most properties like this have a mortgage and without the rental income, those mortgages can't be paid. Maybe in part, but not in full. So suddenly banks are going to have a ton of non-performing loans. And if they foreclose, who's going to buy a loan on a non performing property.

    A giant part of this problem is that money is gone. When the economy picks back up companies & people can start paying their rent again, but there's no way most can ever pay that past due. At best the building owners eat it with their mortgages stretched out another 4 – 6 months. At worst, we face a series of evictions and foreclosures that dwarfs anything previous.


    1. There's another issue to go along with those you mention. Businesses are getting accustomed to doing meetings and the like with virtual media. I don't see that going away. How much office space will companies need? What about the impact on business travel? I think it will be a few years before this all shakes out.

      1. Agreed.  Due to a particularly robust infrastructure, my old employer (Oracle) allowed me to work from home for the last 8 years I was with them.  It was more efficient for me (no commute) and my boss (he could reach out and touch me 7×24, ugh!).  Their campus in the DTC shrank from two full buildings, to just a few floors that were mostly ghost towns.  Even though I reported to bosses in NY and Redwood Shores, I only had to travel once every year or two in the rare circumstance it couldn't be handled virtually.

        My wife's small business (< dozen employees) has adapted very quickly to become almost completely virtual.  However, she does miss the client junkets she organized 3 or 4 times a year.  Zoom is her new indispensable tool.

        As to David's analysis — we need to put a pause button/moratorium on most financial obligations while the economy is in a deep freeze.  For the rest, the Fed's pumping of cash into the economy is a needed band-aid to keep the banking system and bond markets liquid.

        In one happy note, one of my wife's clients just got their SBA loan approved yesterday!

        1. I 've been saying that this set of circumstances is going to break down a lot of companies' resistance to telecommuting and their obsession with "facetime". I think it's been a combination of not trusting employees to actually be working at home and a little bit of sour grapes; "why should they get to work from home…" They're seeing that it does work, and in many cases just as well or better.



          1. We have been putting off accepting Alvin Tofflers’ Third Wave. The centralization of effort and resources was fundamental to the Industrial Revolution, but we don’t need (and haven’t for a while) that togetherness after the Information Revolution has taken hold.

            We created a society based on hauling peoples asses to and fro, burning Dino Poop as we go. COVID-19 is pushing us to stop burning gasoline and fouling our air/warming our planet just so we can sit in the same room together. Cottage industry and working from home continues to be the exception to the rule. As we get further into developing those two habits, we may help save the planet.


            1. My copy of Toffler fell apart years ago. I still have a yellowing copy of John Naisbitt's "Megatrends," though, that says a lot of the same stuff.

              Something else I've been thinking on, that maybe herein lies a solution to the I-70 gridlock on weekends. Who makes the rule that peoples' days off; their "weekend;" has to be Saturday and Sunday? Why not staggered "weekends," with some people having Tuesday & Wednesday off, etc.? I wonder if the Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry is up to such forward-thinking?

        2. Harry, based on my ongoing conversations with a Wall Street Journal reporter, the tax relief in the loan may not be as helpful as originally thought.  New tax articles are arriving even today trying to interpret what the PPP loan actually means.  Yet another example of incompetence by the Trump "Administration".

          1. We’re not in Kansas anymore, Alice . . . 

            When I use a word,’ Ttumpty Lumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

            ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

            ’The question is,’ said Ttumpty Lumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.

        3. Yeah, pure luck we were about to commit to another 5 years on our lease when this hit. I’ve now put renewing the lease on hold until I can find out how many employees still want to come in to the office (some love the social aspect).

          And it’s not like our landlord can go lease it to someone else right now, so we can wait…

      2. Thank dog; it’s way past time, anyway.

        If our stupidly squanderingly time and resources wasteful commuter-consumer society finally wheezes and gasps its final gasp as a victim of Covid — we shouldn’t even try putting it on a ventilator  — we just might have some faint glimmer of a chance of maybe saving this planet?

        There’s that entire vast and bloated modern-day class of business hall monitors, all taking up valuable real estate, who could be freed up and much better put to useful employment as doorstops or, um, doorstops . . .

    2. "… who's going to buy a loan on a non performing property "

      People with capital who can wait.
      Farms, stock, bonds, real estate, hotels, cars, trucks, boats, RVs, etc etc etc

      This is true for all kinds of assets – same as it ever was.


      1. I have been putting cash into musical instruments and a couple of high end firearms…(conventional guns…I have no need or use for an assault rifle.) They hold value very well.

        1. Did Tripp really die, or was it the “final payback” from the Clintons? Can’t wait to see that conspiracy theory coming off QAnon.

  2. from a daily kos contributor…

    John Roberts is a Murderer.


    I don’t want to use polite language anymore. I don’t want to speak in measured tones anymore. I want to scream. I want to yell. I want to say, “Assholes! We are in the middle of a fucking pandemic and you pull this shit!” So why I’m I so upset? The U.S. Supreme court has ruled, That the good people of Wisconsin By a 5–4 vote,  can’t extend the deadline for mail-in ballots in Wisconsin. Meaning people have to choose between their health or their civic duty.  Some are going to choose voting. Some are going to get sick. And some are going to die.  The Supreme court will have blood on its hands.


    And make no mistake this is a preview of what is coming in November. This will be the playbook for helping Trump steal the election. So let’s not be polite anymore.  Let’s not pretend Judge Roberts is an umpire calling balls and strikes. Hell, Let’s not even say he’s a judge. Let’s call him and his entire party what they really are fucking murderers. 


  3. Best news I've seen today … a reference to FDA acting swiftly to move toward certification of a new ventilator design.

    [University of Florida]-led ventilator design clears first FDA review

    A ventilator envisioned by a University of Florida engineer and built with do-it-yourself parts gained first-step FDA authorization this week, offering hope that it could be in use within weeks at hospitals around the world where COVID-19 patients have overwhelmed supplies of traditional medical equipment.

    The ventilator, composed of parts readily available for less than $250, can be assembled in less than an hour. UF has made plans and software available free over the internet.

    “The testing is obviously important right now because the worst-case scenario is that a patient will need three weeks of ventilator support, so we want to make sure this will run non-stop for three weeks,” said Samsun Lampotang, a professor of anesthesiology in the UF College of Medicine, who led design of the device.

    “Our fear is that the surge will overtake us. But in Florida it looks like we’ll be able to finish our testing, which will end not this Friday but next Friday,” Lampotang said Wednesday.

  4. Inconceivable!

    When would this ever happen in America?

    Your Friendly Tech Bro Might Be Looking for a Loan

    How does an entrepreneur take a loan from the government to avoid layoffs when his company’s snack lounge has free kombucha on tap?

    The answer: Very carefully. Or, better yet, not at all.


    No, it is taxpayer money, which is why the idea rankles many people who don’t want to foot the bill for venture capitalists who then can keep their own powder dry for the inevitable turnaround. It is clear to many people I spoke with that many venture capitalists do not want to attract pitchfork anger from those who think the well-to-do of tech should permanently social distance themselves to the very back of the line.


    Another way of putting it: Tech Bro, can you spare us applying for a P.P.P.?

    Gotta’ be just another something that might only ever happen in California?

      1. Kombucha is what you’re likely to get some day if your Gen-Z interns aren’t receiving adequate training and proper supervision in their cleaning of the Celestial Seasonings pot . . .


  5. And the hits just keep on coming….

    Pence's office blocks public health officials from appearing on CNN


    Pence's office has declined to make the nation's top health care officials available to CNN for the last seven days.

    "When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air," a Pence spokesperson told CNN.

    Fauci, Birx, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Surgeon General Jerome Adams have all appeared on NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox during the last week, despite the fact that the broadcast networks have generally not covered the briefings that have included the vice president and health officials.

    But the Vice President's office has blocked all CNN appearances since last Thursday night.

  6. My favorite (loosely linked to Colorado) headline of the day.

    "Opec-Russia deal cuts oil production by 10m barrels a day [which is huge!]
    Prices fall as traders fear reductions will fail to offset biggest demand collapse in history"

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