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    • Interview Part 2: Politics Thru Climate Change
      This second excerpt from my interview is more interesting and longer. This is the second clip from my interview with Ian Welsh (Ian blogs at ianwelsh.net). For this segment, we went on a wild ride discussing the big picture mess that is US politics and society more broadly. I asked Ian what might happen if […]
  • Top Posts

Far from the madding crowd

Jonna Jinton reflects on June and midsomer just past from a remote village on a lake in Sweden. Lots of sunshine, beautiful photography, silly things, mosquitos…

Give that gurl a Tony

Randy Rainbow has outdone himself with this one. All your little friends who have seen The Little Mermaid a zillion times will recognize Ursula’s song. Share all over the place.

Oo! Oo! Do Frozen. Or the Gaston song from Beauty and the Beast. So much material…

Omg, we’re doomed on Covid-19

Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to the people who don’t have time to do thought experiments:

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Monday defended President Trump’s unsubstantiated assertion over the weekend that 99 percent of coronavirus cases in the United States are “totally harmless,” saying that “the vast majority of people are safe from this.”

During an appearance on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” Meadows was asked where Trump got that statistic — cited during a speech at the White House marking Independence Day celebrations on Saturday — and whether it was a “generalization.”

“I don’t even know that it’s a generalization,” Meadows said. “When you start to look at the stats and look at all the numbers that we have, all the testing that we have, the vast majority of people are safe from this. When you look at the deaths that we have, if you’re over 80 years of age or if you have what they call co-morbidities — diabetes, hypertension, heart issues — then you need to be very, very careful. Outside of that, the risks are extremely low, the president’s right with that, and the facts and the statistics back us up there.”

Ok, let’s break this down:

99% of us are going to be mildly afflicted or asymptomatic is great! But there are 328,000,000 in the US. 1% of that is still:

3,280,000 people.

That’s a lot of people.

Comorbidities are important. So, if you are overweight, this is a good time to lose weight. Heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes are associated with obesity. Again, a good reason to lose weight. Your chances of getting seriously ill are correlated with it.

But there are still people with no known risk factors who are still getting ill. And some of them are young. Broadway star Nick Cordero died yesterday at the age of 41 after 90 days in ICU. He was intubated for much of that time and suffered what looked like permanent lung damage. He also had to have one of his legs amputated. He was otherwise a young, healthy, physically active adult.

And that is the problem. You don’t know if you’re going to be one of those 3,280,000 million people, how sick you will be, how long you will be sick or whether you will need to be hospitalized.

I’m going to assume that if you’re 80+, and you get Covid, your time in the hospital is relatively short. In counties where they are triaging patients, you’re probably going to get a sedative and one last iPad conference call with your relatives.

The 80 year olds are probably not the ones bogarting the hospital beds right now. It is probably the younger cohort with the comorbidities and the inexplicably sick. But the hospital beds *are* still getting occupied. And that has a trickle down effect on all of the other people who are sick or need hospital services, like cancer patients. Some of us are lucky to have miraculous responses to chemo. But even those of us who do still need follow up surgery to make sure it’s all gone. Or our scans may have turned up other things that won’t kill us now but may kill us later and that needs to be addressed ASAP.

Or those of us waiting for elective surgery to get our tissue expanders replaced with regular implants have had our surgery dates extended and extended and EXTENDED, while we try to get a decent night’s sleep while laying on what feels like a bowling ball. It sounds like a minor problem. YOU try it for 10 months and get back to me.

In the meantime, in order to keep the strain on the healthcare system to a minimum, those of us in the more responsible blue states have committed to wearing masks without hysterics, (like wearing our seat belts), social distancing and working from home and shutdowns. (By the way, YOU try to wear a seat belt across the easily irritated bowling ball in your chest.) It was bad enough to be unemployed for a couple of months. But some of those people, especially the ones in the service industry, are getting laid off again and their economic futures are more uncertain.

Then there are women who are trying to work from home while their school aged kids are climbing the walls because they can’t go outside and play with their friends or go to school. I hear those kids on conference calls all the time. Their parents, mostly the moms, are always apologizing. (By the way, what are the dads doing when mom is trying to get her work done??)

I’ll be honest, all that noise in the background, is very distracting. I’m sorry. It just is. It’s not the fault of the employee but it’s like that saying, “We didn’t say it was your fault. We said we’re going to blame you.” Right now, we’re being very patient and accommodating but we all can’t wait until your kids go back to school.

People with noisy yapping dogs who they verbally abuse while they’re in a conference call are a different matter. Spoiler alert: your true personalities are on full display when you discipline your pets. We see the true you. Keep that in mind because the next time that happens, we might place a call to the ASPCA.

We are now starting to be concerned that the virus is airborne in aerosols. That’s why you shouldn’t be singing in the church choir or doing a drunk sing-a-long at an overcrowded pool party. Or getting on an elevator. It’s because we just don’t know who those 3,280,000 people are who are going to be seriously ill from Covid.


Two HUNDRED and eighty THOUSAND people.

I’m sure that the genetics studies are on overdrive right now. And there is some evidence that the lung issues are caused by the immune system overreacting as it does during a cytokine storm. That’s why the steroids seem to be helping and fewer people are dying. But they’re still being hospitalized in huge numbers and we don’t know what their recovery is going to be like when they’re discharged. Some people who were otherwise healthy a month ago may find themselves disabled for years to come. That’s going to be expensive. We should help those people in any way we can but we live in a notoriously harsh and stingy country where disability is treated like a failure of personal responsibility so that the stingiest among us can feel self-righteous about being mean.

If you are one of those people who think it’s your own fault for getting sick while also getting all William Wallace screaming about your FREEDOM!, consider that the virus doesn’t give a damn what political party you belong to. It really doesn’t. But it matters very much how your local government and health experts interpret and react to the science of epidemiology. If you’re in the wrong susceptibility group and you happen to live in a state where your right to infect other people is not curtailed, you could end up on the receiving end of our “cushy” American safety net. If that prospect doesn’t make you slap on a mask to just take a shower, I don’t know what will.

Meanwhile, the number of people trapped in a cycle of employment, lay-off and lockdown is going to have an effect on the economy. What we have to pay attention to is deflation when businesses have to dump inventory for whatever price they can get. That will trigger more layoffs and deflation. It’s an ugly cycle.

The evictions will start soon. What’s going to happen to all the children without a home through no fault of their own or their parents’? Where will they go to school? How will they take online classes? What right do we have to visit the sins of the politicians who could have stopped this thing on young innocents?

What about crime that is bound to pick up when so many desperate people try to keep their heads above water?

Finally, we don’t know if you can get Covid-19 more than once or how severe it will be the next time. It could be like the Sweating Sickness that ravaged England during the 16th century. You could get it again. Survive it the first time, die the next time. Or think about the sheer number of personal incubators cooking up new mutations and walking around with the potential to spread an even more virulent virus. The US has become one giant Petrie dish of mutating nastiness. The rest of the world has a good reason to prevent the 328,000,000+ Americans from visiting their lovely countries. We might bring the scourge that will wipe them all out. You never know.

Is that the way you want the world to see America? As a dirty backwater country with a broken government that can’t get its act together and is being out performed by Vietnam and every country in Europe? Well, do you??

Jeez, most of us can’t go out to dinner anymore or on vacation. It’s like living in a communist country.

This is what Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, would like you to ignore while the virus rages.