...with Birx more evasive than Trump: It was such a beautiful morning that the pear tree just off our deck made us think of Thoreau.
Our neighbor, who's a very nice person, wants the tree taken down; it sheds leaves into her yard. By way of contrast, we love and admire the way this particular fairly young tree insists on living and growing.
It has virtually consumed our deck, turning it into a tree house. Each morning this week, it has presented more flowers and more leaves. Today, it called to mind our favorite passage from our former neighbor, the passage which appears at the start of the chapter called Solitude:
This is a delicious evening, when the whole body is one sense, and imbibes delight through every pore. I go and come with a strange liberty in Nature, a part of herself. As I walk along the stony shore of the pond in my shirt sleeves, though it is cool as well as cloudy and windy, and I see nothing special to attract me, all the elements are unusually congenial to me. The bullfrogs trump to usher in the night, and the note of the whippoorwill is borne on the rippling wind from over the water. Sympathy with the fluttering alder and poplar leaves almost takes away my breath...Thoreau felt sympathy with the alder. Also, Mandela "identified with" Anne Frank, as you can hear this greatest of humans say on this greatest of YouTube tapes.
For ourselves, we went out and took a walk around Baltimore's empty streets. They're full of pocket parks and mini-parks in this general area. It isn't like that everywhere else in the city.
Meanwhile, in the wider world, the Washington Post has an extremely instructive report on its front page this morning. Unfortunately, yesterday's marathon session with the commander=in-chief and his opening acts was a quite different kettle of fish.
Can we really "open the economy" in the next few weeks given our current levels of testing and contact tracing? That's the question which is pursued in the Post's front-page report.
At yesterday's lengthy briefing, several reporters actually tried to ask about the question of testing. In particular, they tried to ask if relaxing social isolation—"starting the economy again"—would lead to an increase in deaths.
In response to these questions, two trend lines finally crossed:
In her long and rambling non-answer answers, Dr. Birx finally established herself as more evasive than the commander=in-chief himself.
Could opening the economy lead to an increase in deaths? At several points, Trump himself said yes.
By way of contrast, Dr. Birx broke several world records as she toured the countryside, refusing to answer that basic question while discussing almost everything else.
At least at these public events, Drs. Birx and Fauci now serve largely as beards. Their presence conveys the impression that the president is bowing to scientific authority.
That said, the journalists at the daily sessions rarely ask them to speak. Sometimes, Trump refuses to let them.
When they do speak at these sessions, almost nothing is conveyed. Birx is now especially skilled at talking about every topic except the one about which she was asked. Meanwhile, Birx and Fauci are wasting hours of time, every day, at these uninformative sessions.
(Full disclosure! Their reticence and evasiveness may constitute the wisest approach, given the person in charge.)
Several reporters actually asked decent questions yesterday. They still refuse to press for answers, a point we'll discuss next week.
Meanwhile, and needless to say, scattershot culture continues to rule. Few reporters show any sign of being offended by repeated non-answers. CNN's Jeremy Diamond has struck us as an outlier here.
As usual, yesterday's proceeding turned to dust when Jim Acosta tried to ask and pursue a question. He may be the nicest guy in the world, but he's also an aid to Trump.
The Post report is very sharp. Yesterday's session wasn't.
Pears trees and alders continue to grow; also though, people are dying. Thoreau was able to live in the woods. Many Americans can't.