Help me crash a poll (Non-fiction)

Jim Oberweis, a Republican who is running against IL014 Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, has a poll on his campaign Facebook page regarding the extension of Illinois’ stay at home order.  (Which currently applies to all residents but one.)

Do you agree with Governor Pritzker’s extension of the “Stay-At-Home” order through the end of May? Add your voice – use the comments section to say why you either agree or disagree.

I don’t live in the 14th District, but I’d rather have someone with public health expertise in congress than someone who referred to himself in a fundraising letter as “token white male.”  With Illinois’ peak not expected until mid-May, I don’t think it is wise to end restrictions before then.  Otherwise, Illinois will have the worst of both worlds:  Economic distress and increasing cases.  So maybe we can help Jim see the error of apparently relying on a Facebook poll to inform public health decisions?

We get letters: Pandemic Prose (Fiction)

By Doug Fields
The Reader’s Editor

Since Bolingbrook is locked down, many of our readers have decided to pass the time by writing letters to us.  Unfortunately, many of them aren’t very good.  Residents of the Brook need to try harder if they want to make the Babbler’s letters page.

Folks, that means not downloading templates and trying to pass them off as your own writing — Like this poor attempt at a letter:

To the Editor:

The media is (exaggerating, lying, making up, creating) the (Wuhan Virus, the China Virus, any name besides COVID-19) to (support Democrats, make the President look bad, destroy democracy, defy evolution)!

We need to open up the economy because (it’s more important than the lives of others, I want a haircut, my employees like working at home and saving money)  Democrats suck and should (die, go to another country, surrender to Trump)!

This (Facebook post, YouTube Video, Tweet, non-medical professional) proves I’m right.  If the mainstream media won’t cover it, it must be correct.  What about when the Democrats (make up an incident)?

(Triggering remark).  Fight for your liberty!  

City, State

Let me guess, you got that template from the Typhoid Mary Fan Club?

Speaking of the past, this infamous Bolingbrook resident talks about her family:

To the Editor:

During World War II, my great grandfather, William Spencer, defied the British Government and refused to turn off his outdoor lighting display.  He said the threatened Blitz was no excuse to take away his freedom.  The British people didn’t hide in the underground every time a gas main exploded.  Why should they hide from German bombs?  A bomb is just another type of explosive.

He believed that World War II was a Tory hoax, and the government was really kidnapping urban children and giving them to families living in rural manors.  Dunkirk was just an unfortunate naval accident made to look like a German attack.  France was pretending to be invaded by Germany.  After all, how could an impoverished nation suddenly become a major military power?

William was arrested and, allegedly, was killed during the Battle of Britain.  But his spirit still lives on in the people fighting stay at home orders today.  William didn’t let the fear of a few bombs stop him from lighting up his house.  You shouldn’t let a virus and risk of death and contagion stop you.  Freedom isn’t free!

Charlene Spencer
Bolingbrook, IL

I think someone confused selfishness with liberty.

Moving on, it seems another person in Edgar County has an interest in Bolingbrook:

To the Editor:

The DuPage Township refuses to buy hydroxychloroquine for their residents.  The President and four doctors I’ve read about on the Internet say it works.  That proves it works.  The DuPage Township Trustees must resign!

Johnny Redd
Paris, IL

The plural of “anecdote” is not “data.”

Finally, we’ll conclude with this letter:

To the Editor:

Mayor Roger Claar seriously embarrassed himself on BCTV today.  Nearly 2000 people have died from the Coronavirus in Illinois, and Roger was upset because he didn’t like the new rules for opening golf courses.  

I’m sorry, but a pandemic is not the time to be upset over the ban on practice ranges and handshakes.  Nor is it a time to argue rules regulating how many people should be allowed on a pontoon boat.  Where in Bolingbrook can you launch a pontoon boat?

Then he topped it off by implying that most counties in Illinois don’t have any Covid cases.  The fact is only six counties in Illinois claim to not have any reported cases.  

We are in the middle of a pandemic, and we still don’t know all the ways it can kill or harm us.  People who don’t have symptoms can still spread this virus, and can endanger others around them.  Doctors are risking their lives to take care of patients.  Governor Pritzker is leading Illinois through a dark time, using science.  Roger is whining.  Trump is lying and endangering the public.  May I suggest some fine Costco cheese that will compliment our mayor’s whine, and an end to Trump’s daily (rally) briefings?

Becky R. Baker
Bolingbrook, IL

Stay Bolingbrook Strong, and someday we’ll tell our grandchildren that people used to touch each other before the great pandemic!

Also in the Babbler:

Bolingbrook man arrested for painting door with bat blood
Mayor Claar orders Clow UFO Base sealed until a vaccine is available
Naperville Mayor denies trying to bribe COVID-19 patients
God to smite Bolingbrook on 5/1/20

Video: No California doesn’t have ‘herd immunity’ to COVID-19 (Non-fiction)

Rebecca Watson, former co-host of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe and the founder of Skepchick, has a new video debunking the claim that California residents have herd immunity from COVID-19.

You can’t argue against it just because it may support some future conservative talking point, right?

Only, it’s not science. I am blown away by how misleading that article was. Remember the first Stanford researcher the article quoted, Victor Davis Hanson? He had nothing to do with the study. At all. He’s with the conservative think tank the Hoover Institution, while the actual scientists who did the study told Slate “Our research does not suggest that the virus was here that early.” Despite that, the KSBW mentioned Hanson early on, said he was with Stanford which would obviously cause people to assume he was one of the Stanford researchers who performed the study, gave him space for several quotes that are blatantly incorrect, and only later mention the “the study’s co-lead Eran Bendavid,” which by saying co-lead obviously people will assume the other co-lead is Hanson, since he had so much attention for the bulk of the article.

The full transcript is available here.

As she points out, there are problems with the current antibody tests and even so, the results don’t show that enough people have the antibody to provide immunity.  That’s also assuming that having the antibody means a person is immune, which researchers are still trying to determine.

It should also be noted that Illinois Governor JB Pritzker today mentioned the shortcomings of the antibody tests as a reason he’s not relying on them right now to determine policy.

Aliens killed by COVID-19 while protesting stay at home order (Fiction)

By Reporter X

Twenty aliens died from COVID-19 in Palatine while protesting Illinois’ stay at home order. 

An alien poses with a sign that reads, “Give me liberty and death.” The alien was on the way to a protest in Palatine.

The aliens, wearing human suits, started marching down Rand Rd, holding signs and chanting: “Give us Liberty!  Give us death!”  Minutes later, all the aliens started gasping for air and collapsed to the ground.  

Patricia Z. Numan, a Palatine resident, witnessed part of the protest:  “I thought their signs were great, so I slowed down and honked my horn.  One of the marchers staggered off the sidewalk towards me.  I was about to roll down my window when it sprayed this green liquid on my window.  Then it fell over.  The others started coughing too.  That’s when I sped off and called 911.”

According to Numan, she was detained for two hours while a hazmat team cleaned her car.

“I used to trust Fox News and distrust the government,” said Numan.  “After what I saw, I realized I was wrong.  Fox News works for the part of the Government that values businesses more than people. Governor Pritzker values me, even if I’m just a taxpayer to him.  I hate to say it, but I have to trust Pritzker over Fox News if I want to survive.  I’m all in for Illinois!”

When police officers from Palatine’s Special Affairs Division arrived, all the aliens were incapacitated.  Under orders from Village Manager Reid Ottesen, the officers burned the bodies before collecting them.

“We weren’t sure they were all dead,” said an officer, who asked to remain anonymous.  “But the Interstellar Commonwealth imposes fines if you’re responsible for letting an infection leave your planet.  So we couldn’t take any chances.”  The officer added:  “I might have heard one of them say, ‘Freedom.  We don’t want it.  We don’t need it.  Not!’  But that just could have been a death twitch.  I was just glad to finally be able to use our flamethrowers!”

Special Affairs and officials at Rob Sherman UFO Base are investigating the deaths.  While they have few leads, investigators doubt the protest was spontaneous.

“It’s odd that all the signs had the same two fonts,” said a Sherman official who wished to remain anonymous.  “It’s also odd that the same organizing message appeared on 12 different worlds at the same time.  We’re treating this as a case of Astroturf Manslaughter.”

A receptionist for Mayor Jim Schwantz said he wasn’t in Village Hall:

“He’s a part-time mayor, and he knows better than to risk infecting essential village staff.  Thank you for calling the Village of Palatine.  Yes, your request requires a permit.  Yes, you will have to pay a fee.”

In the background, a man who sounded like Schwantz said, “This message is for Mr. Hotel.  We got the Pez Dispensers!  Our blue men and red men love them.  Thank you for saving me from kissing an orange!”

Also in the Babbler:

Clow UFO Base to host Bolingbrook Pride Picnic
Mayor Claar begs Trump not to detonate a nuclear bomb over Bolingbrook
Bolingbrook residents report seeing an apparition of Mayor Lori Lightfoot
God to smite Bolingbrook on 4/19/20

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

Alex Gabriel needs our help (Non-fiction)

Alex Gabriel, who used to blog at Freethought Blogs and at the Orbit, has a personal emergency.  Alex does freelance editing and graphic design but now can’t work due to a broken laptop.  He’s set up a GoFundMe page so he can buy a replacement computer:

For the past five years, I’ve been gradually recovering from a crisis that involved becoming homeless, and because I’m disabled and stuck in underpaid work, sudden crises and financial emergencies are something I’m extremely vulnerable to. At the start of this week, my laptop of five years finally died for good after almost a year of declining function, leaving me without a reliable income or way to replace it. The longer I spend without a suitable replacement, the more overdrawn I become, so I’m setting up this crowdfund to help me cover the expense.

Alex has been helping work on my novel for the past seven years. (It will come out someday!)   I highly recommend his work, and I hope you’ll consider helping him get back on his feet.  I realize there will be many such requests now, but if you have the ability at some point, please consider helping him.

Space Force raids both Bolingbrook Meijer stores (Fiction)

By Reporter X

Space Force commandos based at Bolingbrook’s Clow UFO Base raided Bolingbrook’s Meijer’s stores on Saturday.

According to employees working the night shift, the commandos charged the loading docks armed with laser rifles.  After they secured the docks, Black trucks with black trailers pulled up.  The employees then were ordered to load them.

“They said they were acting on behalf of Donald Trump,” said Joe, who didn’t want his last name published.  “I was okay with that since I’m a Trump supporter and we are in a National Emergency.  Still, did they really need to take all the toilet paper?”

Mary, who refused to give her last name, claims she was stunned by one of the commandos.  “I suspected that they were just seizing supplies to give to Trump’s friends.  Those are essential supplies for Bolingbrook, and I am an essential worker.  So I threw myself on a pallet of hand sanitizer and said they could take this pallet after they pried my dead body off of it.  Then there was a flash, and I woke up on an empty loading dock.  I may be an essential worker, but they sure don’t pay me like one.”

Eyewitnesses say a police officer tried to stop the commandos but failed.  

“He was speeding towards the trucks,” said Paulette X. Milton, a dock worker.  “Over his PA he told the Space Force thieves to drop their weapons.  Instead, they fired warning shots next to the car.  The officer said ‘(Expletive Deleted) then sped off.  At least he tried to save our supplies.”

According to Joe, after the trucks were loaded, one of the commandos played a video message from Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner:

“In the video, Jared thanked us for taking care of ‘our’ supplies.  He said if Space Force had any leftover, they would sell it to us.  We’d get a discount if we didn’t stock any copies of the book Hiding in Plain Sight.  That was really nice of him to offer a discount. He also said something about telling Colin to keep up the good work.  Not sure what that was about, but I guess it’s good that he knows someone in Bolingbrook.”

Later, The Space Force 1st High Border Wall Battalion stationed at Clow UFO Base admitted they took the supplies:

“We are fighting a war with China to take our Moon back!  We will not let China’s space virus bioweapon stop us!  If preventing a Red Moon means civilians will have stinky asses and germ-infested hands, so be it!  MAGA!”

A receptionist for Mayor Roger Claar said he was busy, and could not be disturbed.

In the background, a person who sounded like Claar, said: “We have to end this lockdown.  Sales taxes have flatlined.  Restaurant taxes are on life support.  Ulta is putting employees on leave.  Residents will leave, and I’ll be forced to sell the strip malls back to farmers.  I can’t lose my legacy.”

A woman who sounded like covert social media operative Charlene Spencer said: “I’m working on a campaign to get all the residents to accept mass testing and to download a COVID tracking app.  Once we can track everyone, we’ll be able to get the economy up and running.”

“Why do we need a campaign?  My residents will download it without question for the good of our village!”

“Obviously you haven’t read the Bolingbrook Politics Facebook group lately.”

Also in the Babbler:

Chicago declares Easter Bunny an “essential worker”
Trustee Carpanzano declares psychic Easter egg hunt a success
Village of Palatine adds new UFO Landing fees
God to smite Bolingbrook on 4/18/20

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

Is COVID-19 being over-diagnosed? (Non-Fiction) (Video)

Rebecca Watson, founder of Skepchick and former Skeptics Guide to the Universe co-cost, posted a video countering the claim that COVID-19 deaths are being over-estimated:

The complete lack of preparedness and testing here in the US impedes that to the point that if anything, COVID-19 may be underdiagnosed and it may have caused many more deaths than known. How many people were unable to get tested, unable to afford to go to the hospital, and died at home? How many people even died in the hospital before testing was widespread? My fellow Skepchick writer Jamie Bernstein pointed out that a nursing home had 26 deaths in a month, compared to their usual rate of 3-7 deaths. Only half of the deceased were tested for COVID-19, so those are the only ones that went into the statistics. What about the other 13? We just don’t know.

Alien reporters flock to Chicagoland (Fiction)

By Reporter X

Klizgot, a reporter from Glot, an interstellar news agency, walks along the empty streets of The Promenade Bolingbrook with her cameraperson, Bloz.  Both are wearing human suits. Klizgot narrates:

“This was once the social and commercial center of Bolingbrook, home of the famous Clow UFO Base.  Now it is nearly abandoned.  The residents shelter at home to avoid being infected by the COVID-19 virus.  Bolingbrook’s leaders, like others on Earth, struggle to keep the pandemic under control.  Meanwhile, a death cult uses online and cable networks to spread their propaganda to lure—”

“You two are standing too close to each other!”  A woman yells, holding a bag of carryout from Mora Asian Kitchen.

“We are human reporters covering the great filter event.”

“Spreading fake news isn’t an essential business!  I’m telling (Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar) on all of you!”

Alien reporters from across the Virgo Cluster are flocking to Earth’s major cities to cover the Coronavirus pandemic.  Their organizations have established a base camp in Palatine, near Rob Sherman UFO Base.

“The Media camp is administered by the Interstellar Commonwealth,” said Palatine Village Reid Ottesen.  “They’re making sure that only visitors that are immune to the Coronavirus are allowed to land.  They also told me that the tunnels have their own immune system and the virus doesn’t stand a chance.  I wish they would give us the technology to do that, but the Commonwealth says humanity still has to prove it’s worth.”

Inside the camp, the alien equivalents of news actors broadcast stories about the pandemic.  Most wonder if human civilization is about to encounter “The Great Filter.  Most alien scholars describe it as the point at which a planetary civilization collapses or evolves into an interstellar civilization.

Nazoo, a reporter for Novacore News Agency, explained: “In human terms, imagine a bird jumping off of the edge of the Grand Canyon.  It will either flap its wings and fly, or it will plummet to its death.  It’s sad watching civilizations fail, but it’s also uplifting to watch the ones that survive.”

Like Earth’s media companies, the interstellar outlets feature pundits debating each other.  On one show, two aliens debated if humanity should be allowed to die:

“We can’t just keep watching species go extinct,” said the first alien.  “We have the power to save species like humans.  Our inaction is criminal.”

“Illogical,” said the second alien.  “The only thing that must be preserved is the economy.  This virus will purge Earth’s economy of its human infestation, and allow it to function efficiently.  No longer will the economy be bound to serving human needs.  It will finally achieve perfection, and we must not interfere.”

Plazego, a popular interstellar news personality, has been delivering monologs about Chicagoland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  One of her recent ones dealt with Bolingbrook.  She concluded by saying:

“So Roger broadcasts that Bolingbrook is not a police state, that he’s doing the best he can, which he probably is, and we shouldn’t discuss local politics.  Yet in the same speech, he gets mad at people criticizing him, mentions Trump, then mentions a mysterious political email survey which angers him even more.  And you know when Roger’s angry, his supporters get angry.  Which would make the end of his speech…sound…Political?  Like he’s trying to make residents angry at his opponents and more likely to support his candidates in the next election?  Maybe.  And while this is happening, the Great Filter moves closer to Bolingbrook.  What will happen next?  Stay tuned!”

After the broadcast, Plazego said: “I love Rachel Maddow.

The receptionist for Claar said he was busy and could not be disturbed:

“You guys always say that as long as there’s a Bolingbrook, the Babbler will exist.  So I guess Bolingbrook isn’t dead yet.”

In the background, a man who sounded like Claar, said: “I’m working my (expletive deleted) off dealing with this pandemic.  What are you guys doing?”

A man who sounded like Trustee Robert Jaskiewicz said:  “I’m here to tell our first responders that Giamanco Law Partners is offering them $10,000 in free legal services.”

“Michael?  I”m sure you can top that.”

A man who sounded like Trustee Michael Carpanzano said: “I’m promoting local businesses with my Bolingbrook Strong initiative!  Because it’s always important to shop during a major national crisis.”

“That’s the Republican way!”

“And I’m going to announce a contact-less Easter Egg hunt, which will bring the community together.”

“Let me guess,” said Jaskiewicz, “you’re going to use drones that children can control from their homes?”

“You’re so negative,” replied Carpanzano.  “This event will take place indoors!”

After several moments of silence, Jaskiewicz said: “You’re right.  I can’t top that.”

Before Klizgot and Bloz returned to Palatine, they interviewed a video blogger standing outside of NCH hospital in Arlington Heights.

Klizgot questioned why the blogger claimed NCH had no COVID-19 cases when that clearly isn’t true.

“There is no truth,” replied the blogger.  “There are only views, and my views are through the roof since I started posting about this fake virus.”

“But people are dying,” said Klzgot.

“People die all the time,” the blogger replied.  “Triggering liberals is special, and I can’t wait to post this video.”

“Did you go inside?  Because we’ve been inside.”

“My viewers don’t need me to go inside to know the truth.  They don’t want to believe the government, and I provide them with alternative facts to affirm their beliefs.”

“The government says Ricin is poisonous.  Do your followers believe it isn’t?”

“Well it is natural, so it can’t be bad.  Hey!  That will be a future video.  Maybe this time Donald Trump will post a link to my channel.  Thanks!”

Klizgot then turns towards the camera:  “As humanity approaches the Great Filter, there are humans risking their lives for the survival of their civilization, but they’re up against members of a militant death cult.   Will humanity survive, or humanity’s orange god of death get his sacrifice?  Keep watching to find out!”

Also in the Babbler:

Space Force confiscates toilet paper from Meijer
Skeptics arrested for attempted anti-homeopathy protest
Alien treated for cable news overdose
God will not smite Bolingbrook this week

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group.