April 7, 2020

Good Morning All. Try to be positive today and help your business by reaching out to some of your top customers. Call them, talk to them and find out how they are doing. It will make them feel good as well as yourself.

Extension of RestrictionsBuncombe County announced that it will extend the restrictions it has imposed on residents. Buncombe County declaration of restrictions is presently due to expire on April 9 at 6:00am. The county will release the details Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. during a countywide briefing.

UNCA Students Applying Their Knowledge For GoodWLOS reports that “UNC Asheville students working at the STEAM Studio are helping cut plastic sheets with a laser cutter for potentially life-saving face shields.” Very Cool.

PPP UpdateWells Fargo has stated that “[g]iven the exceptionally high volume of requests we have already received, we will not be able to accept any additional requests for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program.” They are reviewing the submissions of interest that were submitted through April 5, and will provide updates to those customers. Anecdotal stories we have heard are that the process is broken because the SBA’s online portal for banks is down. We will try to provide actual data on this later.

Not A Pretty Picture – For a more overall view and opinion of how this crisis and the corresponding lockdowns are going to impact the World economy and markets, here is a podcast by former hedge-fund manager Raoul Pal.

Can We Put The Bureaucracy Under House Arrest – The Open PPE Project aim to domestically manufacture a variety of personal protective equipment, but will start with N95 respirators, which filter out very small particles and are widely used in hospitals throughout the country and are in demand. As explained by one of the project’s leads: “[t]he group’s efforts have run up against serious regulatory barriers, however, as a federal bureaucracy struggling amid the epidemic lacks the resources to bring such a project online.”

PPP Update – SBA EditionHere is an article describing the issue with the SBA online portal. The news is from the weekend and yesterday so we will try to update as today progresses. Note that this should not deter anybody from applying to the SBA for a loan pursuant to the EIDL program or to a bank for a PPP loan.

Elections and Checks And Balances – The effect of the virus on elections is beginning to be felt in some States and observing how it plays out in those States, may provide insight as to what happens here and the rest of the Country as we approach November. A summary of Wisconsin’s experience is that, after admitting that he did not have the power to postpone the election, the Governor attempted to do just that by issuing a last-minute Executive Order pushing back in-person voting on presidential primary and hundreds of local elections. The Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked the Executive Order to allow the elections to proceed today. In an unrelated case involving the Wisconsin election, the US Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s decision extending the absentee ballot deadline in Wisconsin.

Should China Pay A Price For Their Actions? – I personally have not given the issue sufficient thought, but I am upset enough at the situation to want to blame someone. This op ed in USA Today suggests that it is “Time To Put China for its dishonesty amid coronavirus crisis”

Behind the Mask – It is really interesting on the front of the mask. Wearing a mask in North Carolina may be illegal according to jdnews and ncleg.gov. And, while wearing one may be illegal, getting one is another story. Apple is helping out, while China is hoarding them, and who can blame them. So, if you are willing to break the law, make your own. Here are some instructions on how to do it over at JoAnn.com. If you need some convincing on the science of wearing a mask, that is going to be dependent on a multitude of factors.
UPDATE: Apple now has a support page for their mask.

Google Monster Knows – It is illegal to wear a mask, because in doing so, you create a bit of anonymity, and we can’t have freedom and have the government not in the know, though many would question what the government does know, given recent events. Not to worry though, Google Monster is here to save the day, sucking up data at an alarmingly normal rate for them, they know if you have been naughty or nice.

Is Zoom Doomed? – Zoom has had its fair share of problems lately. From server errors to people exposing themselves in meetings, what else could go wrong. Security and privacy issues. On macOS & Windows.

Good News / Bad News? – In Buncombe County, 28 out of the 33 people with COVID-19 have recovered. Bad news, many businesses have not. Good news, getting a flu shot may help combat coronavirus by freeing up doctors to help those with COVID-19. Bad news, getting the flu shot may increase your chance of getting the coronavirus.

Special Start-Up Weekend World Wide – Here is a really cool idea. Techstars together with Google are organizing Startup Weekends in every country around the world. The Startup Weekend are run at a country level, enabling each to focus on developing Covid-19-related solutions unique to each country.

Fundraising In The Middle of Insanity – Thomasz Tunguz of Redpoint Ventures sets forth his opinion as to What Could The Venture Market Look Like In The Coronavirus Era.

Could Not Agree MoreAs reported by Bloomberg News: “Michael Burry, the doctor-turned-investor who famously bet against mortgage securities before the 2008 financial crisis [AKA The Big Short], has taken to Twitter with a controversial message: lockdowns intended to contain the coronavirus pandemic are worse than the virus itself.” We are on the road to misery and anguish as well as the destruction of American business and Society. The continuation of the lockdown and House Arrest is not the right solution. There are much better solutions.

PPP Update – Mnuchin InterviewMaria Bartiromo interviews Treasury Secretary Mnuchin by phone and he reinforces that the PPP is intended to help businesses with their payroll.

Medical DataDr. Robert Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) was interviewed this morning on KVOI 1030 AM Radio out of Tuscon and discussed the use of models for predictions of the impact of the Coronavirus.