Let it be known

If someday soon my body is found lying on the floor of my house, it isn’t the coronavirus that killed me, it’s this damned cat. I am her sole obsession. Every day she sits and stares at me, and when I get up for any reason, she follows me. No, “follows” is the wrong word; she anticipates my every footfall and makes sure to place herself exactly where it’s most inconvenient for me. Just going to the bathroom has become an epic journey, where I’m forced to walk at half-speed through the vibrating quanta of Cat. I may have to get a machete so I can hack my way through this Cat Jungle. I know it’s just one cat, but she has the ability to plane-shift and and seems to have mastered the power of simultaneity.

I think so far she’s only toying with me, but if this isolation goes on much longer I know she sees me as a backup food source, and is practicing how she’s going to break my neck. I’m afraid.

If I suddenly drop off the internet and later my body is discovered, tell the police to investigate the cat. She can’t be allowed to get away with murder.

Take health care out of the hands of insurance companies NOW

We are getting robbed. And murdered even. Right now the biggest profiteers off the pandemic are…the insurance companies.

How can this be? They have to pay off all those death and illness claims! Easy. They’re already raising their rates for premiums. So you might be out of work, your employer might be struggling to keep up, but surprise — next year your insurance costs are going to skyrocket.

Don’t worry, you still have a “choice” of which company to pay for the right to mug you.

If this is a war, are there war criminals among us?

At least some people think “war” is the proper metaphor for a pandemic, but these tend to be the same demented loons who think poverty, drugs, crime, and disease all have to be dealt with as a “war”. I think it’s overused and inappropriate myself. But then you see some of the shell-shocked victims and you realize that, at least for some people, this is a battle.


I wouldn’t want to be a doctor or a nurse right now. Those are important jobs, and I don’t think I could handle the pressure.

We aren’t even anywhere near the peak yet, either. This is going to get worse before it gets better.

We aren’t prepared. Hospitals are running out of PPE gear; this New York hospital is improvising gowns with trash bags. That’s got to help patient confidence, I’m sure.

Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell Jr is reopening the Liberty University campus and encouraging students to return. The University of Minnesota Morris has not done that, because we can see the trends in the data and actually think it’s more important that our students stay healthy than that we curry favor with a delusional president.

Even worse, Governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi has explicitly countermanded all the local limitations in his state.

One of the immediate consequences of Reeves’ order is the formal declaration that most of Mississippi’s businesses qualify under it as “essential,” and thus are exempt from restrictions on public gatherings. As of press time, the Jackson Free Press has received reports from businesses in the Jackson area that have, as of today’s executive order, scuttled plans for work-from-home and ordered their employees back to work on-site.

You are hereby ordered to mingle, Mississippians.

I suggest that, after all this is over, that Tate Reeves, Jerry Falwell Jr, and Donald Trump all be held accountable for every death from COVID-19 on their watch. They belong to the “party of personal responsibility”, after all.

There goes Ed Yong, being massively pessimistic

He’s also being scientifically accurate, realistic, and honest, which is the scary part.

Rudderless, blindsided, lethargic, and uncoordinated, America has mishandled the COVID-19 crisis to a substantially worse degree than what every health expert I’ve spoken with had feared. “Much worse,” said Ron Klain, who coordinated the U.S. response to the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014. “Beyond any expectations we had,” said Lauren Sauer, who works on disaster preparedness at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “As an American, I’m horrified,” said Seth Berkley, who heads Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “The U.S. may end up with the worst outbreak in the industrialized world.”

He also has some suggestions for what the country needs to do to improve, not that our current leadership will care.

This is all kind of wrecking me. I’m home, totally alone, not meeting anyone, and having video contact at most with my family and students, which means I’m banging around in an empty house fretting. I definitely need to go read a book (not World War Z) or watch a movie (no zombie flicks) or play a game (dang, I don’t have much in the way of games on my computer) or something just to keep from turning into an obsessive ranting bearded prophet of doom. It may be too late.

Who has the worst take on the pandemic?

It goes without saying that it’s the conservatives, but let’s be more specific. Not so specific as your Aunt Madge who sends you suggestions to drink bleach on Facebook, but a source that aggregates all the nonsense. I think I could make a case that The Federalist is at least among the worst offenders.

That site right now is full of bullshit trying to downplay the coronavirus concerns. For instance, here is a poli sci student arguing, in a rambling incoherent mess of an article, Is Social Distancing Saving Lives Or Ruining Them?. He’s reluctant to give a straightforward answer, but you can tell where he’s leaning.

The current response is quickly driving the United States into a recession, which will result in a great deal of misery for tens of millions of people. Again, balancing lives against money sounds harsh, but everyone does so — and must do so — whether he is conscious of the fact or not. Not to mention, a recession also means higher poverty rates, which lead to higher mortality rates.

More is at stake than lives and money: namely freedom. Even for those of us who are by no means libertarian, the increasingly draconian measures put in place across the nation, especially in California, to isolate people and prevent them from moving at will are raising serious questions about whether Americans are in a dress rehearsal for tyranny.

Which is worse, being dead or living in a country in a recession? Gosh, the jury is out on that one, but maybe a recession, which would lead to higher mortality rates? Yeah, higher mortality rates are worse than lots of people dying.

OK, that guy is just an ass. But what about this rather surprising post from a medical doctor. He has a solution that he thinks wouldn’t hurt the economy so much — it’s always about “The Economy”, you know — a treatment that would solve everything: How Medical ‘Chickenpox Parties’ Could Turn The Tide Of The Wuhan Virus. Yeah, give everyone the disease right away, that’s the ticket! Well, not everyone. Let’s have Voluntary Infection parties in which young people who are most resistant go to some site and mingle and let everyone pick up the disease. He even suggests cruise ships as enticing locations to get people to participate in voluntarily getting a disease that might only kill one or two percent of them.

Hmm. How many doctors and hospital beds are available on your average cruise ship?

The idea would be to ramp up the numbers of immune people very quickly, maximizing the possibility of herd immunity. He hasn’t thought much about how we would cope with massive numbers of sick people all at once. Sick working people. Sick doctors. All intentionally confined to a few locations.

You know chicken pox parties were never a good idea, right? There’d always be some kids who’d die. I wouldn’t be one to claim that’s an acceptable price to pay, but apparently this one MD thinks it’s brilliant.

But I will say that his idea is novel, and for once it’s nice to see a proposal to infect and kill a significant number of young whippersnappers, rather than suggesting that my generation needs to die to protect the economy. It’s still an incredibly stupid idea, to which the only reasonable reply is…OK, boomer.

I was wrong about something. The MD who authored that article about voluntary infection is not an MD. He pretends to be one, but is actually a conservative businessman who is not licensed to practice in his state despite his claim.

“That would be misleading the public,” a startled member of the Oregon Medical Board staff told VICE. “In Oregon, that is a violation of the Medical Practices Act. That would have to be investigated.”

Par for the course for The Federalist.

Never ever follow the recommendations of ghouls

Where did all these ghouls come from? I don’t remember all these ghouls cheering on the zombies in the apocalypse stories.

So now we’ve got Dennis Prager declaring that people must die in order to win a “war” against the coronavirus.

History shows that we have been willing to lose many to protect our way of life … [if we valued lives] we wouldn’t have fought the Nazis, the Japanese fascists…that attitude that the only value is saving a life, that attitude leads to appeasement. It must. It leads to cowardice. No one can die? Then it’s not a war.

That makes no sense. People are dying, and our goal is to take action to prevent people from dying, but if we don’t sacrifice human beings to the virus, it’s “appeasement”? I really don’t get it. The analogy to WWII doesn’t work at all, and is he really arguing that it would have been cowardice to not allow Nazis to gas people? It would have been really brave to stand back, upper lips stiff, as human beings were murdered, I guess.

I thought our goals would be really clear in a pandemic. It’s not a war, it’s a rescue mission. We should try to prevent people from dying and the disease from spreading. We’re not looking for cannon fodder.

Glenn Beck is still broadcasting, although I haven’t heard as much from him lately. Just as well, he’s joined the pandemic death cult full throttle.

I would rather have my children stay home and all of us who are over 50 go in and keep this economy going and working, even if we all get sick, I would rather die than kill the country. ‘Cause it’s not the economy that’s dying, it’s the country.

It’s a bit of a muddled message. We have to sacrifice our old people to keep the economy going, but it’s not the economy that’s dying. OK then, what is dying? The country. But what is the country?

I used to think our country had a clear meaning — it was stated in our founding documents, even if it wasn’t always practiced.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Oh, right. The people are the country. I think the whole point of a democracy is to establish a framework for people to flourish and practice self-determination as much as is possible. We had this other president four score and seven years later who was also quite clear that this was supposed to be a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. There have been times when people have been asked to sacrifice their lives to maintain that framework — and also times when they’ve been asked to sacrifice their lives to oppress others — but in general, this country we’re supposed to fight for is a nation of people. Asking people to willingly and gratefully succumb to a disease we’re trying suppress “for your country” makes no sense. Dying does not stop the virus. Asking people to give up on isolating themselves helps spread the virus, the opposite of what we should want.

None of these rationalizations by Prager or Beck makes any sense, because they don’t have a clear concept of what the country is. To Prager and Beck, “country” is synonymous with “Dow Jones Industrial Average”, and that’s what they want me to die for. America is a country where the working people will drag themselves into infectious masses in order to keep the wheels of industry turning, working until we die at our labors. They don’t think beyond keeping the doors on businesses open now, without concern for how those businesses will function when the workers are dead, or prostrate with illness, or permanently lung-scarred. Don’t fall for it.

Shouldn’t we all know by now that Prager and Beck are as dumb as two buckets of testicles, and realize that their advice is the opposite of what we should do?

(I want you to know that it would have been really easy to illustrate this post with a photo of a bucket of testicles, but I decided to spare everyone that graphic. Just keep in mind that Prager and Beck really are that revolting.)