“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” -- Carl Sagan

Category: politics (Page 1 of 11)

Day 26: A Day in the Life of COVID-19

Normal warning: These posts are not to entertain.  They’re to put a pin in my sanity.  If you want funny, please head off to reddit.  Because honestly, nothing is funny anymore.

Building on thinking about the US Government a big risk management apparatus from the other day, POTUS is, ultimately, a big risk manager.  The job of the President of the United States — at least it was before Trump, who doesn’t understand this — is to read through the daily briefing, consult with the heads of various departments, and decide what risks to manage, what risks to mitigate, and what risks to ignore.  For example, if a small South American country is rattling a saber, do we:

  • Ignore the threat?
  • Engage with diplomacy through the State Department?
  • Put troops on the ground?
  • Invade the place?
  • Nuke it from orbit?

His (or her) job is to make that ultimate call on where the US places its resources and manages its resources to mitigate that threat.

Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race yesterday and people are rattling their special brand of online sabers saying they will never vote for Joe Biden because of various policy stances he’s taken in the past or a lack of full-throated support for Medicare for All (which may change with coronavirus).  This is thinking about the job of the President of the United States all wrong — a sort of easy, selfish, post-Cold War thinking.  We’re talking about a head of state, not Santa Claus.

Yes, being the ultimate advocate for those policies and signaling to lawmakers the support for such policies that, as POTUS, you would sign a package and you feel it is a legislative priority, is a part of being POTUS. And having someone who believes in those policies as POTUS is important.  But, and this is the big but, if you want Medicare for All, or any of Bernie’s policies, you’re better off putting money behind Congressional races and kicking some old white men out of their Senatorial perches.

And all that stuff — that’s the campaign.  Not the job.  Campaigning is not governing.  Think about the governing.

What you get with POTUS is the ultimate risk manager.  His (or her) job is to oversee the enormous portfolio of risk the US Government manages and make calls on where and how the US Government applies its energies in managing those risks.  The real question you should be asking yourself is:

Is Joe Biden a better risk manager than Donald Trump?

We can look at the current disaster and make that call.  I don’t have any doubt that Biden will hire good people to help manage risk, listen to experts, and make the calls he has to make.  Donald Trump, well, he just fires them and “goes with his gut.”

Meanwhile, Biden has all kinds of actual campaign challenges.  He has to raise a huge bucket of money.  He has to build an organization nationwide.  He has to not shove his foot in his mouth.

I get that people are disappointed ideologically but sometimes we need to grow up a little, put on the big boy pants, and think a little strategically.  It hurts, but that’s what we have to do.  Otherwise, we might as well live in 50 little tiny countries.

Meanwhile, people are dying, small businesses are not getting the money they need to stay afloat, we’ve had 20M people laid off in the US (a staggering sum), and the stupid rolls along.  A good example of priorities for this administration — the White House is barring health officials from appearing on CNN until CNN relents and shows Trump’s daily grampa ramble on live TV.   Because that is what is important: not assuring the public and giving them good information they can act on, but to ensure Trump gets his ratings to assuage his big, broken ego.

That’s my little ramble on politics today.

The stats:

  • 439, 316 cases confirmed cases.
  • 15.776 dead
  • 24,388 recovered
  • 6185 cases in MD, 138 dead.
  • While it is starting to level out on the coasts, it’s starting to pick up steam in the interior of the country.


Day 25: A Day in the Life of COVID-19

Normal warning: These posts are not to entertain.  They’re to put a pin in my sanity.  If you want funny, please head off to reddit.  Because honestly, nothing is funny anymore.

I’m not having a great day in my seat next to the apocalypse. My nerves feel like someone has exchanged them for tambourines, and a giant gorilla is pounding on them.  But a-blogging we will go, where I will write very wandery things today.

We played the introductory adventure for Parsley last night on Slack.  It was both highly entertaining and infuriating, the way good adventure games are.  The trick for the GM is not to respond with a generic Z-Machine answer (“You cannot do that.”) and come up with snarky responses to incorrect commands.  Like if I type:


The GM responds with something like:

The parser does not understand the command “LIFT.”

Another favorite from last night:



We had some issues with stomping on each other instead of properly taking turns (sorry!) for running commands.  That was my fault because I… would get an answer and like want to do things.  I kept wanting to beat people with this stout branch I found because violence is always the answer.

We will play more.

After the game, I kept thinking about Inform7.  I found this site last night:  Learn X in Y Minutes.  After I took a tour of languages I know (Python, C++), I flipped through pages where I don’t know things so well.   I found the page for Inform7.  I’ve struggled for years to wrap my mind around Inform7, and I’m not sure that page helped any.  It’s still as opaque to me as it was before.  There’s something about way it’s an NLP parser yet it still emulates Z-Machine that keeps me from getting there.

Inform7 is kind of like folds.  Like, I get it.  I get how it works.  I get why it works.  I can read the Haskell with a foldl or a foldr or Python’s functools.reduce() command.  But my brain simply goes spang trying to get there.  I don’t know why.  Maybe I’m not a good enough programmer?  That’s what I think.  Maybe I am so utilitarian that my mind rejects fanciness over readability any day of the week?

But I think… it’s because… I understand how interpreters and compilers work on the inside, and even though the code is concise and elegant, the compiler unrolls that into a big blob of JMP and CMP commands and none of it matters.  Why do the hyper fancy technique with the higher order function when the compiler is going to go BLAAHHH and vomit out bytecode for the microprocessor later?  Is it just to show off how smart you are?

Except that doesn’t explain why I can’t get into Inform7, because it’s nothing like that at all.  Maybe I just don’t have a story, or a purpose, or a thing to do with it.  I thought about doing Scenes from Eversink and walk from room to room making interact-able Eversink scenes with no story and no puzzle.   That at least would get me through the tutorials.  And even then, you need a whole thing to run Inform7, so I should stick with Ink or Twine.  (I very much like Ink.)

I had a dream last night that Rust traits were out to get me.  I’m not joking. They’re not that hard to understand!  Yet… this.

That was a big old ramble about programming. I must be feeling burned out if I am yearning to make a thing and build a thing.  I only want to dive into writing code when I’m toasty.

The News:

  • Bernie Sanders dropped out today so Uncle Joe will be our white-haired gladiator to go up against the Trump.  If, you know, Trump allows us to vote, which is to be seen.  Uncle Joe is polling 11 points up over Trump nationally but that doesn’t matter either.
  • I’m totally ok with Uncle Joe.  He’ll put together a strong cabinet and put humpty-dumpty back together.
  • Trump’s numbers are falling off a cliff with his handling of the pandemic.  It makes me a bit happier?  But he’s still at like 43%.  I assume there’s a chunk of the country who isn’t feeling the madness yet.  Whelp, after Easter, they will.  Yessirree.  And that will be total chaos.
  • Everything is bad and weird.

The Stats:

  • 405,377 Confirmed Cases
  • 13,031 Dead
  • 22,717 Recovered
  • 5529 in MD, 124 Deaths.
  • The curve goes on.


Day 24: A Day in the Life of COVID-19

Normal warning: These posts are not to entertain.  They’re to put a pin in my sanity.  If you want funny, please head off to reddit.  Because honestly, nothing is funny anymore.

Go read this awesome interview with Michael Lewis on Vox.  Also, read his book The Fifth Risk.  I read it.  It’s good.

The pre-20th century state (16th century through the 19th century) largely concerned itself with internal stability, upholding internal law, revenue collection, military affairs and border management.  That’s what the state did — it took revenue from the populace to fund aggressive military and border expansion while pacifying the populace back home and ensuring legal norms.  The invention of finance allowed corporations to get on both the revenue collection and the military affairs action and, ultimately, ended up working as an arm of the state.

The modern 20th century state in the Cold War Era expanded its portfolio to include risk.  Risk of a nuclear exchange.  Risk of war.  Risk of uprising.  Risk to the economy.  Risk of plague.  Risk of food poisoning.  Some of the government expansion into risk started before WWII — protecting the food supply, for example, and the IRS to manage the risk around revenue collection — but the true expansion was the post-WWII world.  The government expanded its intelligence and decision-making capabilities.

The US government was in the business of risk management and mitigation.  

The US had some bad systemic failures around managing risk before the fall of the Berlin Wall, but overall, look.  No one died in nuclear hellfire.  Nor was the economy consumed in a worldwide pandemic.  The system did work.  On the whole, it worked pretty damn well.

After the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended, the US collectively decided, for reasons that seem to be “but mah taxes and jeeeesus” to first abuse and then dismantle the Cold War risk management apparatus.  Abuse came post-9/11, when we felt the government’s risk management ability failed and then we overreacted.  But the dismantling began, piece by piece. Dismantling wholesale began the moment Obama left office.

Once the crazies swept into power, they started dismantling it wholesale without quite understanding what they were dismantling or why.  All they did was gut the system in this haphazard, gorilla-like fashion where they took out the underpinning structural defenses.  The arguments for this seem to be “business” or “mistrust in government.”  But what it really is is simply disregarding systemic risk facing the state and refusing to accept managing it.

In the end, risk is a tradeoff of money vs security.  The more money you throw at it, the more secure you are… until you’re in authoritarian lockdown.  The more money you cut from risk budgets, the less secure you are.  That’s the tradeoff.

Do you want fresh food?  Food risk management.  Do you not want to be nuked?  DoD risk management.

This all comes around to what we’re experiencing today, which is the result of an evisceration of the risk management apparatus.  We’ve pared back the risk management apparatus so far, the US Government can no longer protect its populace.  Worse, the US Government is refusing to pay to accept risk management for the populace.

This is really the end point of Trumpism: a complete abandonment of the risk management and mitigation apparatus of the US Government for… business gain?  The endgame is murky as businesses cannot operate in a high-risk and uncertain environment, and profits are only made when one can forecast quarters and years ahead.  Tax cuts?  Ability to do crimes?  Or, as I suspect, no good reason at all other than it was a fun thing to break and the risk management apparatus was mean.

There was no pandemic during the Cold War.  Not because there were no viruses.  Not because there were no breakouts.  Not because epidemiology was better then.  But because governments leaned into risk management, and global pandemics were a risk.  We pounced on that shit.

Abandon the risk management facility of the US Government at your own risk.

(As an old computer security hack, business risk, business risk management, threat modeling, and management of cost vs exposure vs risk from an internet security perspective is in my portfolio of “dumb random skills.”)

I leave you with this quote from Tim Miller at the Bulwark about Trump abandoning risk and pushing quack remedies:

“But I do, regrettably, know far too much about the career of Donald Trump. And his weeks long hydroxychloroquine song and dance is simply a redux of the pitch job that has served him so well for four decades: Sell the newest Trump-branded miracle scheme as hard as possible until it becomes completely untenable, the feds show up, or the next one bubbles up from the recesses of his frontal lobe.”


  • 11875 dead
  • 378587 tested positive
  • 20048 recovered
  • 4371 cases in MD, 103 deaths

Day 23: A Day in the Life of COVID-19

Normal warning: These posts are not to entertain.  They’re to put a pin in my sanity.  If you want funny, please head off to reddit.  Because honestly, nothing is funny anymore.

Whatever you do, do not heed Trump’s call to take hydroxychloroquine sulfate.   First off, the man is a carnie.  He’s a second-rate con man.  He’s the same guy who started Trump University.  Second, the worst that can happen is hallucinations, heart failure, and death.

The guy is reaching for an easy and quick solution to all his problems so he can get that V-shaped recovery going and be a hero of the economy and the revolution and win re-election.  Winning re-election is existential to him.  If he isn’t President anymore, the Feds can come for him.  So he must win that election.

He doesn’t care about anyone’s health.  It’s a con.  And as cons go, it’s a transparently bad con on the order of the “Microsoft Technicians” from India cold-calling to fix your (non-Microsoft) laptop.  But these people who follow right-wing media, who watch the opinion shows on FOX News, they’ll fall for the con.  They believe in this magical wondrous world of conspiracy theories, easy answers, and quick cures.  (Hell, left-wing, too.  Look at Goop and the anti-vaxxers.)  They’ll beg their doctors for the meds.  And then, perhaps, they’ll die.

Don’t take hydroxychloroquine sulfate.  The worst that can happen?  It will literally kill you.

God.  Last thing we need around here is talk of miracle cures and bullshit artists getting up on stage.

What is real is a serological antibody blood test for COVID-19.  We don’t know if people who have it will get immunity.  But if people who have do get immunity, and we can test for that immunity, we can start opening the economy back up.  It’s a big if, though.  It doesn’t look like it needs a full tube of plasma to detect the antibodies.  A pinprick test could theoretically be done in the home, or any doctor’s office.

That there is where my hope lies.  If we can get the antibody test going, then we can start marking people as immune.  Not make-believe super cures.  Straight up regular testing, super easy and quick, like we do for everything else.

My other big worry is the implementation of the CARES Act which, so far, has been a total disaster.  Absolute fucking disaster.

Quick hits:

  • We now are plagued by an Echo Show 8.  It works fine for family video calls.  I cannot shake this weird, out of body, 2001 feeling whenever use a device like that.  When 2001 came out in 1968, a concept like video chat was so bizarre it was squarely science fiction.  Now it sits on my desk in the office and probably harvests all my personal information.  It’s exclusively for calling my parents.
  • I continue to loathe Buddy Day in Animal Crossing.  I saw they nerfed the rate of eggs.  Thank god for small miracles.  I would enjoy it much more if the stuff wasn’t so hideous.
  • I’m working out like a maniacal fiend to keep my blood pressure in check. My pants are getting so loose I had the first fleeting thought of “belt?” yesterday.  Today I just went for tight pants instead.
  • I was so hungry at lunch from all the exercise I had to have second lunch today.


  • 9692 dead.
  • 338,412 confirmed cases.
  • MD has 4045 cases and 95 deaths.

Day 22: A Day in the Life of COVID-19

Normal warning: These posts are not to entertain.  They’re to put a pin in my sanity.  If you want funny, please head off to reddit.  Because honestly, nothing is funny anymore.  Except, really, you should watch Tiger King because man.

A couple of quick hits today:

  • While I am not the world’s biggest Rachel Maddow fan, this clip is worth your time.“You’re going to need to well and truly let an experienced operations manager take the lead and fix this now. It is too late already, but now is better than never. Now is better than next week. Yesterday would have been better than today. But we’ll take what we can get. We can’t call it too late. We have to believe that we can still course-correct to save some lives. Just do it already. Whatever you need to tell yourself to do it, just do it.”
  • Trump is busy pushing miracle cures, while at the same time abdicating all responsibility and pushing it down to the states.  This magical thinking is incredibly dangerous.  He’s looking for a quick, made-for-tv, easy answer that magics away all this and replaces it with the economy of March 6th, 2020.
  • While I’ve said no (or very limited) buying of things, we did buy a copy of Parsley after listening to some live play on a podcast.  It’s like Inform7, except as an RPG. It’s brilliant, and the perfect game to play on Discord or Slack.
  • I still believe strongly that gaming is the best activity during the lockdown, be it board games or roleplaying games.  Doing something social is a good idea.  Keeps ya sane, keeps ya away from the news.
  • We drove up to Cava today to pick up lunch — order via app, park outside the store, wait for someone to put lunch in the trunk.  It was surreal. There was a lack of… everything.  Cars.  People.  Noise.  Things. It felt like we were in the Walking Dead.  It feels like the apocalypse out there. A few people driving, a few people wandering around wearing masks, but an odd emptiness.  Like the 21st century seized up, stopped, and died from a heart attack.
  • We streamed Onward on Disney+ last night.  We would have seen it in the theater but well.  Not a terrible experience and the movie was fine.  Speaking of, movie trailers have dried up.
  • My brain is starting to urge me to get back to writing funny things but I’m not quite there yet.
  • Everything is terrible but it’s beautiful outside.  I’m going to go out and take my rage at the universe out on weeds.  Because they deserve it.

Also, the spelling auto-checker is giving me fits.

Day 21: A Day in the Life of COVID-19

Normal warning: These posts are not to entertain.  They’re to put a pin in my sanity.  If you want funny, please head off to credit.  Because honestly, nothing is funny anymore.  Except Tiger King.

We’ve now been cooped up for three weeks.  We’re bouncing off the walls.

What do you do when you are stuck inside, don’t want to spend any money, and you have nothing to do but hang out with your friends?

If you guessed gaming, you’re right!

This quarantine situation is not too unlike getting stuck in Bursley Hall (University of Michigan, North Campus) in the depths of winter when the wind chill is -20 degrees.  You can go out if you want, but do you want to?  Or you can hang out and game for 12 hours.

Sounds good to me.

We’re still working out the kinks of online D&D through Discord but so far, it’s not bad!  The system is stable.  The sound quality is good.  The video is a little hit and miss.  We might hop to Zoom to get more cameras and a bit better support.

We’re putting more gaming on the table than… maybe… since college? Maybe?  It’s cheap, it’s social, it’s engaging, it’s fun, and it’s a thing to do.  It’s the perfect quarantine activity.

Vox has a nice, thoughtful article on gaming during the apocalypse.

Also, for those who think D&D is too nerdy, Tabletop Simulator is half off on Steam.  Although the board games are all pay-for DLC, so if you want to play the Tiny Epic games, you’ll need to pay for them.  It’s not a bad deal and it does online co-op.  Although we’ve had terrible luck with voice chat through Steam, and recommend using Discord instead.

A couple of Saturday quick hits:

  • I finally got some real sleep last night.  I’m enjoying the feeling of being rested. I know it won’t last — who knows when I’ll sleep through the night again.  But it feels good now.
  • It’s nice out, and I need to go out and weed.  The weed are trying to eat the perennials.
  • I’ve sort of fallen off all my hobbies.  All I want to do when I sit down is read or play video games.   That’s my default right now.  What do I want to do?  Nothing.
  • We’re going to watch Onward tonight.  We would have seen it in the theater but, you know.

Not much going on.  Everything outside the house is bad right now.  We’re having a 9/11 every 48 hours.  I’m trying not to think about that.

I saw this lovely parable and I’ll leave it here.

The old farmer said, “Well, as I see it, Donald Trump is like a ‘post tortoise.'”  Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a ‘post tortoise’ was.

The old farmer said, “When you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a tortoise balanced on top, that’s a post tortoise.” The old farmer saw the puzzled look at the doctor’s face so he continued to explain.  “You know he didn’t get up there by himself, he doesn’t belong up there, he doesn’t know what to do while he’s up there, he’s elevated beyond his ability to function, and you just wonder what dumb ass put him up there in the first place.”


Day 20: A Day in the Life of COVID-19

Normal warning: These posts are not to entertain.  They’re to put a pin in my sanity.  If you want funny, please head off to credit.

In a bunch of unpleasant ways, COVID-19 became very real yesterday.  It reached out its tentacles and brushed up against my leg.  It’s been an abstraction of data.  Now, the damn thing has names and faces.  It sucks.

I unfollowed some economists I followed for years this morning.  Nothing personal, but when they’re posting links to projections — from respectable people! — of total societal collapse and the end of the modern world at 6:30am (London School of Economics), I just can’t.   6:30am is too early in the day for that.  Also, I’m not convinced of total societal collapse, no matter how fascinated I am with the concept of the end of everything and the ruins left behind.

Leave it for science fiction, guys.

My big nerve-wracking worry today is the utter mess the rollout of the SBA CARES Loans program.  Late last night, recruiters were on several DC-area tech slacks pleading for network engineers to help them.  That didn’t… inspire confidence.  I don’t think they’re ready.  I’m afraid this whole program will implode and small companies (like ours) won’t get their loan to cover payroll for the next 8 weeks.

From a purely moral stance, because health insurance is tied to employment, it behooves the government to get that money into small company hands as fast as possible and cover those payroll costs.  The more people on payroll == the more people on health insurance == the fewer people might die.  Even without the health insurance tied to employment, keeping people on payroll means fewer on unemployment, more people who can pay their mortgages and rent, less fallout across the economy, faster recovery.

So I’m worried about the rollout of this.  It is mission-critical.  It has to succeed.  But I have zero confidence the SBA can pull this off, even with offloading much of it to the banks themselves.  Last year, they processed, I think, 22B in loans over the entire year.  They’re asked to process 350B in a week.

Wring hands.  Wring hands.

On a completely side topic, I am still learning Rust!  I’m working through this Udemy class.  It went from talking about building methods on structs and me nodding along and going ok this seems straight forward to whipping out folds.  My brain imploded.  I’m like, dude.  Dude.  DUDE.  You need to warn someone and prep them emotionally before we jump from normal function signatures to then building them into a recursive fold.  There are laws.  There are rules.  There are forms of niceties!  One does not just…

And last but not least… Animal Crossing.  I do not like the Bunny Day event in Animal Crossing.  The eggs are annoying. The recipes are all ugly.  I’d never use them in anything.  Bleh.

Day 19: A Day in the Life of COVID-19

Normal warning: These posts are not to entertain.  They’re to put a pin in my sanity.  If you want funny, please head off to reddit.

6.6M unemployment claims in a week.  10M in two weeks.  That’s winning, right?  That’s so much winning, we’re all going to get tired of winning.  We’re making America great again, right?

But it’s all ok!  You know why?  Because it’s infrastructure week.  

I don’t know what today’s new line from the propaganda machines will be, what with the insane jobless claims.  I know yesterday’s was ludicrous: because 2.2M people could die but only 100K-240K will die, then millions of people are saved!  Heroes!

Can you imagine 100,00-240,000 people dead in the span of a month?  That’s more people than the Vietnam War and the Korean War put together.  At once. In body bags on the side of the road.  Live on TV.  24/7.  For weeks.

Of course, as we all know, as long as this is blue state unemployment and blue state Americans dying and blue state Americans suffering, it’s all good.  We only govern now for the part of the country that comports most closely to our political alignment.  We don’t care about the part that doesn’t contribute to our campaigns or vote for our candidates. How very James Buchanan of Trump.

The Financial Times — I cannot find the article now, unfortunately, it’s lost in my twitter stream — had an interesting article this morning.  How countries respond to the virus has little to do with money or preparedness, but has to do with how well people trust their government and how well their government runs.  And if you look at the graphs, those with working governments are conquering this thing.  The US is running straight on the exponential curve.

This pandemic is turning me into a die-hard Medicare for All person.  I wasn’t before this.  I have always been on the public option train.  But with 10 million unemployed — and I assume, 10 million thrown off their health insurance — getting sick, unable to go to the hospital, dying in their homes… it’s a catastrophe.  It’s an unimaginable human rights catastrophe.  And then what?  10 million people all trying to find a job at the same time?  How does that work?

I cannot imagine how this is all going to shake out.  Wages are never going to go back to what they were.  Economists who would never use the word depression are now using the word depression.  I’m still not convinced, but with the lack of leadership, I can see this getting worse and worse.  There’s no way out with Trump at the top.

I woke up at 3am with a total panic attack.  I’m not sleeping.

Meanwhile, everyone, go watch Tiger King.

Day 18: A Day in the Life of COVID-19

Normal warning: These posts are not to entertain.  They’re to put a pin in my sanity.  If you want funny, please head off to reddit.

If you want to know where we are on Day 18, go read this.  I’ll be here when you come back.

Trump was dealt a pretty decent hand of cards when he started in 2017.  Well-staffed administration, all the parts in place, people like Mattis as Defense Secretary, Gottlieb at the FDA.  He’s squandered it all. Trump fired all the competent people.  He threw crucial reports in the trash.

In the end, Trump is nothing more than a reality show host, a washed up, C-list celebrity on his best days. In his mind, there is no past and there is no future.  There’s only winning the present.  Getting through the challenge to the judging in the end of the day, screwing over some other contestant, and winning the judgment to play another round.  As long as the ratings are good, he gets to come back and play the game.

But a global pandemic is not a reality show.  It’s real.  People are really dying.  Body bags are really piling up.  Cobo Arena in Detroit is now a makeshift hospital.  To stop the mayhem, it required competence.  Not like… amazing.  Not great.  But straight up basic managerial competence.  He needed to:

  • Listen to the reports on what needed to be done.
  • Ask how to get people the people/process/things they needed.
  • Make sure whatever needed to get funded got funded.
  • Get out of the way.

Wash and repeat.  That’s it.  And he did none of these things.  And this left us with the spectacle yesterday of him going on TV and saying that 100,000-250,000 absolutely will die in the next two weeks and that is a best estimate.  And now that it is hitting his voters — that’s right, it’s killing rich white people — he’s all contrite.  He says he’ll even swear off tweeting!

Holy shit, no tweeting!  (That will last a whole 24 hours.)

That’s right.  The Federal Government didn’t spring into action until they realized the virus doesn’t care if you’re white or not.  When it was deep in mixed-race American cities, who cares about those people.  Now that it’s killing white people in Florida and Texas?  GASP.

Here’s a good example for posterity of the level of stupid going on at the top levels — the US Government asked for a shipment of PPE from Thailand.  Except, at the same time, USAID sent a shipment of PPE… to Thailand.  Turns out, USAID has sent out millions of tons of PPE to other countries while Governors here, in the US, screamed that their front line folks were dying.

We’re dealing with absolute madness.

I was listening to Hacks on Tap this morning and they were talking about how some of Trump’s comments will stick with him for a long time. And when we’re talking a long time, we’re talking decades.  Centuries.  Two hundred years from now, someone will do their PhD dissertation just on his tweets during the winter and spring of 2020 along.

Trump always wanted to be remembered through history.  Congratulations, dude.  You are now a world historical figure.  For managing to kill half a million of your own population through sheer negligence.


  • Still working out.
  • Still playing Animal Crossing.
  • I’ve removed almost all my iPad tappy tappy games.
  • Still working, believe it or not.
  • Took a Mucinex DM this morning and feeling loopy but not coughy.
  • Going slowly insane.

Day 17: A Day in the Life of COVID-19

Normal warning: These posts are not to entertain.  They’re to put a pin in my sanity.  If you want funny, please head off to reddit.

I feel terrible.  It’s absolutely not COVID-19.  Nope, it’s something far more pedestrian: allergies.

Between the pollen and the stress, I’ve picked up a persistent cough.  My left sinus went berserk.  It’s moved from the problematic when I go outside point to the allergy meds aren’t touching it point.  We’re moving to the sudafed and mucinex DM, but these hammer my ability to sit upright.   Something is outside having sex and it’s killing me.

I’m refusing to clog up the system and use telemedicine with my pedestrian crap.  I’m also intent on pushing through.  But I’m swaying slightly.

Hogan issued a stay-at-home order yesterday.  We were already staying at home and going out as little as possible.  When the order went out, they pushed it to all cellphones on the public emergency system.  Every device in the house went off at once. It scared the hell out of me.  I thought we were being alerted to a nuclear launch, on top of everything else.

That’s where nerves are at these days.  How could it get worse?  My brain goes.  Phone goes off with a siren.  Me: “Oh, look, nuclear launch.”

Different topic.

Walking the dog this morning, we noticed people are throwing their rubber medicinal gloves on the side of the road.  They’re not bothering to put them in the trash (where they belong).  We’re happy people have discovered gloves, but come on.  Yes, we’re in a global pandemic, but are we so selfish we throw our gloves on the ground when we’re done with them?  They don’t biodegrade.

The rubber gloves on the ground summed up everything that’s going wrong with this pandemic for me.  There’s no sense that we’re all in this together.  It’s all us and them, and someone else will come along and pick your filthy, disease-ridden glove off the ground for you later.

We have partisanship infecting individual responses.  It’s a hoax or the libs just want to destroy the economy or whatever today’s conspiracy theory is.  The right wing echo chamber pushes out all inconvenience facts and echoes in their ears whatever is comfortable and comforting.  Now we have this epistemic gap that is causing a public health menace.  People will die — are dying — because we’re committed to this fuck you, I’m going to throw my gloves on the curb mindset.

For what?  Ratings?  Advertising dollars?

Meanwhile the rest of us are locked in our homes (see above Hogan order) for longer and longer because these people won’t listen and perpetuate the disease.

Anyway. Back to work.


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