Archive: March, 2020
Donald Trump Wants You Dead
Maybe not you specifically, but a lot of people.
President VonClownstick is so concerned with getting his resorts reopened, with getting stock prices up, with getting money for himself and his corporate brethren, that he will kill a whole lot of Americans to make it happen.
Except it won't work that way. Our deranged POTUS cannot comprehend that trying to "reopen America" in the midst of this crisis will not help the economy. He can't see past the "closed" signs on his hotels.
Today's insane remarks by the man masquerading as President were very revealing. Whether he actually believes that more people would commit suicide under isolation protocols than would die from COVID-19 and from other things that the pandemic prevented treatment for or he's just saying that to gaslight people into thinking it's the end of the world, either way it shows us that he values wealth above health. That money is more important than being alive, and that losing money equals why bother living?
Lawrence O'Donnell had two segments tonight that are worth sharing. The whole show was illuminating, but these bookend pieces stood out. Check 'em out.
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I went out today. I was responsible about it, I didn't interact with people. I went for a lengthy walk around the neighborhood and then made a stop at Fred Meyer for a few groceries. Then I had a brief exchange with a neighbor before returning to the safety of the indoors.
I overheard some stuff at Fred Meyer (where all the employees were wearing cheap plastic gloves and maybe 10% of the customers were wearing surgical masks) that revealed the frustrations people are having with this crisis time—and they're all about the inconvenience of it. My neighbor had similar attitudes. I very much hope these people are outliers, but I think they're not. I think too many people are being stubborn and/or ignorant—willfully or otherwise—to reality.
The general gist of these comments was:
- This is being blown way out of proportion
- It's all fine, we're overreacting, it's not like it's a zombie apocalypse
- My health is good, I always get better if I'm sick, so I don't much care if I get the virus
- My friend has been isolating for two weeks, so it's OK to go see her now
- I'm so pissed X was canceled for no good reason
The governor announced a stay-home edict today. He resisted it for a while, but people were just being too stupid.
I get that it's frustrating. Especially for the more extroverted of y'all. Staying home all the time is hard, especially if your home is small. But apparently we need to go over some things.
- Do not listen to the President. He's a moron. He cares about big business, the stock market, and making money for himself, and everything he says and does is to further that interest. He doesn't give a shit about you. More importantly, he has no idea what he's talking about and is misinforming people about "15-day periods" and drug therapies and basically everything else to do with this.
- We aren't overreacting; if anything, we are underreacting. It may not be a zombie apocalypse, but you know zombies are a metaphor for, um, pandemics, right? This is a Coronavirus that nobody has an immunity to. It is not like the flu, which many people have a level of immunity to. In order to change its danger level, one of two things needs to happen: People get immunity or people stop spreading it. For people to get immunity, they either need a vaccine (doesn't yet exist, won't for at least 18 months at best) or they need to be exposed to it, get sick, and recover. As we've seen in stark terms, a lot of people who get sick aren't going to recover, so that seems like a bad strategy.
- That leaves stop spreading it, and since our government screwed the pooch on this when there was opportunity to prepare, we have essentially no testing capacity to determine who has it and who doesn't among the general populace. This bug can infect you and essentially lay dormant for two weeks before symptoms manifest. It's generally another week-plus before you'd be sick enough to need medical attention if you're among those that would need it. So there's a large span of time when you would unknowingly be shedding virus as a carrier, and transmission doesn't have to be direct—you can leave the virus on objects, where depending on the type of surface, it can live for many days. So yeah, you can give it to someone by shaking hands, but you can also give it to someone by, say, pumping gas in an otherwise empty gas station and the next day another person uses that same pump then absentmindedly scratches his nose. You can give it to someone by paying for something; you shed it on your money then the money changes hands. You leave it on the buttons of an ATM, the next person to use the ATM picks it up.
- You might be healthy and recover find if you get the virus, but you can pass it to someone else who isn't and doesn't.
- Isolating for two weeks means the person isolating is letting enough time pass in order for his/her own potential symptoms to manifest. If you isolate for two weeks/15 days/whatever similar period, it's to protect other people from you, it does absolutely nothing to prevent you from catching the virus from others once you're done isolating. So to that woman at Fred Meyer today that thought it would be safe for her friend to get visits now: you had it backwards. She probably won't infect you because she'd been isolating; you can still infect her because you weren't.
- I'm upset that stuff got canceled too. I was supposed to do my season ticket draft tonight, but now we don't know if there's even going to be a baseball season, and yeah, that sucks. But it would suck more to have 35,000 potential disease carriers get together at the ballpark. Or even 100 carriers with 34,900 "normals," 'cause then 300-900 or so people would leave infected and infect more people and infect more people... exponential math might sound complicated, but it's really not.
Unless you've truly been a hermit for two to three weeks with zero interaction with the outside world, you don't know if you've got the bug. Probably not, just based on laws of numbers, but you don't know. I could have picked it up off my shopping cart at Freddy's today, or from the checkout machine (staffed checkout lines were few and long and I didn't want to be in a line of people, some of whom had surgical masks on), or from a passerby in the salsa aisle. I washed my hands when I got home, but still.
Take this seriously. Heed the new rules. Listen to your local officials.
Not the President, though. He and his people will gladly kill you in order to pump up their stock portfolios.
Biden vs. Bernie Debate
I'm currently watching the Democratic candidate debate CNN held earlier tonight between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. After starting out fairly civilly in discussing the Coronavirus and things related to that crisis, things devolved into a stupid series of arguments.
I'm about halfway through the thing, so maybe it'll get even worse.
Both candidates have their faults, but I have to say, Sanders is presenting himself very poorly here. As a long-serving Senator and Congressman, Bernie Sanders knows how things work, he knows how the sausage is made, and he is twisting things about Joe Biden's history in a less-than-honest fashion by shouting in outrage about things like bankruptcy legislation, gay rights legislation, and health care bills. Bernie is smart enough to know better, so I have to conclude he is consciously preying on many Americans' simplistic and flawed understanding of legislation and realities of Republican obstructionism in an attempt to sell a distorted view of Joe Biden to Democratic voters.
Joe Biden isn't perfect, and he does have some dubious votes in his history. Same is true for Bernie Sanders. But Biden, for all his faults, is presenting himself as a more honest, more mature thinker here. This foodfight is counter-productive, Bernie, you ain't gonna win. Quit inciting your supporters to treat this like people who voted for Ralph Nader treated things in 2000.No Comments yet
Plastic Pollution Pandemic
One of my clients is a beachcomber. He writes about the myriad flotsam that makes its way from the oceans to our beaches, where that flotsam comes from, how it flows around the world. (Buy his book, if you like, or subscribe to his newsletter.) It's interesting generally, but since I took over the layout duties on his quarterly newsletter a few months ago (and thus reading all the articles more closely) I've been paying more attention to how our trash, specifically plastic trash, is not only dumped into our waterways but is essentially not disposable at all.
We've all been taught that we can recycle plastic, but it turns out that's not really true. A minority of the plastics we buy can be recycled (sort of), but the rest can't really be recycled at all under current technological limitations. When it is recycled, plastics can only go through the process between one and ten times depending on specifics, degrading each time and requiring more "fresh" material to mix in; in our current reality, it's usually not recycling at all but downcycling, a one-time-only re-use that turns, say, soda bottles into something like fleece or shoe parts.
The downcycling is useful, sure, and it'd be great if we could turn all of our plastic packaging and such into sweaters and sandals. But that has no effect at all on the production of new plastic, so no matter how many bottles become sneakers we're still piling up more and more and more plastic waste. And for now, anyway, even a downcycle is impossible for most things given the limitations of sorting facilities, mixed or contaminated plastic products, and poor-to-nonexistent market for crappy degraded materials.
And then there's the melting-down of plastics if they are recycled; great, they get repurposed, but we're burning fuels and creating different kinds of pollution to do it.
So, no matter how diligent we are about our recycling bin maintenance, most of our plastic trash ends up (a) in a landfill, (b) in the ocean, or (c) incinerated for fuel and adding to toxic air pollution. (Maybe all three, given enough time.)
Naturally, this has led me to want to consume less plastic. Which in modern American society is a lot harder than you might think. Really the only practical thing one can do is cut down on single-use plastics, i.e. stuff intended for short-term use that you can't repurpose yourself—basically packaging of various types. And straws, I guess. But so damn many things sold in your average supermarket come with plastic packaging. I avoid produce bags, I buy my Coca-Cola in cans instead of bottles, milk in paper cartons instead of plastic jugs. But single-use plastic is everywhere. Shrinkwrap. Packing foam. Bags for everything from tortilla chips to bread to hardware. Jars and bottles that once were glass are now plastic for condiments and salad dressings. You can't practically avoid it. So we buy it, we throw it away, it gets into the water, the ground, the air, our food, us. It never biodegrades.
Thus, like so many environmental concerns, the onus needs to be on manufacturers and governments to address this. Regulations, incentives, taxes, things that can prompt companies to reduce/eliminate plastic packaging and/or to use only types that can be handled by the limited recycling options available, as well as R & D for true recycling methods for plastics. "We are beyond the crisis point on plastic waste," says Senator Tom Udall (D, NM). Udall is quoted in this excellent piece from the latest Rolling Stone that gets pretty deeply into the history and scope of the problem; developments like bio-plastics and plant-based packaging are welcome advances, but meantime we're drowning in saran-wrap and take-out trays. We need more Udalls to lead. “We’re trying to turn the industry around,” he says, “to do this in a more environmentally sustainable way.”
I recommend reading the Rolling Stone article. And, somehow, buying less plastic.No Comments yet
The Anti-Trump and Stephen Colbert
I missed this when it aired, but here on Super Tuesday Eve it seems like a good time to see and share this fun clip of Stephen Colbert trying to hoard his ribs away from needy children.
Also, I love how EW immediately identifies Bezos by the Lex Luthor comparison.
Since it is Super Tuesday Eve, here is your last-minute reminder to exercise your right to vote. Do it now (or later if your state votes later) or do it in person tomorrow (or later if your state votes later), but voting is a privilege that, if President VonClownstick and the modern Banana Republican party have their way, will not exist as we know it after this year. My endorsement is at right, but do your own research and make your own choice; just remember this is a primary and not the general and whomever has delegates at the convention will have power to shape the ticket and the agenda, because it's looking likely that no one will have a majority before the big July event in Milwaukee.
We in Washington state got our ballots in the mail over a week ago and I turned mine in already even though our turn isn't officially until a week from tomorrow. Tomorrow's results will be the first time we get real results from a substantial portion of the electorate, so what's come before isn't as telling as what the media pretends it is. Vote, and vote with conviction.
Please to enjoy.
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