Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Going Somewhere?

That was once a literal inquiry if someone was planning to go on holiday, leave a room or just plain leave.  Now today it is the million dollar question as many of us sit in wait wondering what is next and what will happen when we finally get somewhere.

The reality is no one knows anything about anything and that includes the virus we have come to know as Covid.   That much is clear as many man hours and labor has been spent on when did it get here and how did we know it did and more importantly who brought it here.  In other words, the elusive Patient Zero which means a whole hell lot of nothing frankly as this is now and now what do we do?

Much is made of the decision to NOT shut the country down sooner, or how it was done and the reality of the disease and its travels Asia, to Europe, to America and elsewhere as it travails across the globe leaving a wake of decimation be it physical  or economical as at this point it is hard to grieve as the losses are so great in both.

The New York Times posted a 1000 names of the dead taken from the random of 100K and climbing since Covid hit the shores sometime in 2019 - 2020. Again who the fuck cares as they are still dead and still dying.   Normally I love a good obituary but this time I passed as this is beyond even my level of empathy and compassion, I am just too angry to be anything else.

Then we had the Memorial Day holiday which I believed would lead to chaos if the powers that be did not lessen the leash we have been on these near three months and it shows that some of the pups are not well trained as they flocked to public places and ran amok.  This did not surprise me; however, I was surprised how the tri-state area seemed quite contrite and complacent but that may have been due to weather as it was not clear until the afternoon and for many it is just exhausting to think about doing more than organizing once again the shopping, the laundry and the rest of daily life to add a day/weekend trip to go somewhere else only to do the same there. Remember no restaurants nor shops are open for regular traffic/business so is that not the point of getting away, to get away from the routine?

Now was I shocked that in Arkansas a pool party went amok? That in the Ozarks it was a crazy ass party of drunks?  That in South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida shit and crazy hit the fan? No.  Have you been there, no wait, lived there?  After living in Nashville and traveling in the region no I wasn't and again these are areas that have not been as heavily affected by the virus and they are sure this is all bullshit and somehow about Trump.  If you met the great unwashed as I have you would realize they are just not screaming hillbilly racists.. well that they are.. but they are just like any part of America that has been relegated to the discount heap pile.  They are sorted over, picked apart and neglected and that rage has to be released in ways that have led to mass shootings, opioid addiction, violence and of course Trump.  To think that is exclusive to the region, think again and check the story about the Staten Island Shop Rite shoppers abusing a patron for not wearing a mask or anything in Jersey with regards to the Orthodox sect.

Again the idea that in bleak times we look to leadership to define heroism and in turn guidance we have somehow latched onto Cuomo who for whatever reason thinks he is the Big Covid Daddy of us all, regaling us stories about his daughters, their boyfriends and his brother and mother as if we too are all one family fighting the virus together. No we are not and shut the fuck up.  I have written about the Three Stooges here before and once again want to highlight that as Cuomo feigns dismay over the dead he carefully placed in the budget an amendment  absolving legal responsibility for those in the medical industry (the same ones he sent many Covid patients back to to their ultimate deaths as well as infecting others) was due to the one factor that explains it all money.  

And as New York tries to figure it out the expression goes: As goes California there goes the nation. If that is so then guess what we are fucked. The States have these odd panels comprised of former Feds, Private Industry and of course Billionaires who will do what I have no clue but the idea that private industry can rescue America is another one of the many bullshit screeds that have been exposed behind the pandemic curtain.  Americans have been slowly eroding their faith in Government (and this has not changed) but have been stable with regards to the State and Municipal entities and we can say well hello to the flying monkeys on that as well.

No one, I repeat, no one has the Magic Crystal Ball in which to figure this out.  There can be all the speculating, posturing and of course my personal favorite, modeling on how and if and when and why if that is this then that could be this but if that x is not y then it becomes z and then all hell breaks loose.   I never want to see/hear/know about another model for anything, including homes, tops, bottoms, super or otherwise.   I love that if and or but somehow magically is able to predict and tell us what may, could of, might of and if or nor had this been done then, or maybe then or this time for sure.  Okay, thanks.

What we are seeing is fear and that is not measurable nor predictable.  We have people running amok here in two different directions.  One heading to the beach and beer ponging until Covid kills them or the ones running screaming that Covid is coming, Covid is coming in their best Paul Revere until that versus Covid makes them hoarse.  Either/or, Neither/Nor I am done with the daily digests of someone told me that I know of their friend on Facebook who told them about a BBQ with 13 families and they all work in a prison and then they all will go back to work at the prison and then more shit will hit the fan or not.  So do you know them and are they at your house? Did you go to the BBQ? To the prison? Do you live in the City? The State? Work with them or their family? No. Then why do you give a flying fuck? This is personal responsibility have some.

And that is why once again as we watch another Black person being killed as if it is okay to follow them, tape them and then wait and turn over the video to the Police but accept no responsibility as you watch men chase and gun him down sure what is the problem. Or the girl calling the Police as she was walking her dog off leash in an area where it is required and a man asked her to do so,  I see the sense of urgency.  Or the black man standing on the corner waiting for a bus is an issue as well the buses aren't coming as often so he is waiting longer than usual and therefore your fucking problem. Wow, just wow.  I don't give a flying fuck unless you come into my personal space and that is three feet, not even six and so when you are on the bus/train/rail don't but here is what I do, I MOVE.  Gosh that is not hard.  Well I can now call 1-844-WYT-FEAR and all will be solved.

No one knows shit so the prognosticating, the predicting, the forecasting is all for nothing or not as they get paid for their performance, like monkeys. Do they fly too?

No One Knows What’s Going to Happen
Stop asking pundits to predict the future after the coronavirus. It doesn’t exist.

The New York Times
Sunday Review
May 24, 2020

By Dr. Mark Lilla; Professor of humanities at Columbia.

The best prophet, Thomas Hobbes once wrote, is the best guesser. That would seem to be the last word on our capacity to predict the future: We can’t.

But it is a truth humans have never been able to accept. People facing immediate danger want to hear an authoritative voice they can draw assurance from; they want to be told what will occur, how they should prepare, and that all will be well. We are not well designed, it seems, to live in uncertainty. Rousseau exaggerated only slightly when he said that when things are truly important, we prefer to be wrong than to believe nothing at all.

The history of humanity is the history of impatience. Not only do we want knowledge of the future, we want it when we want it. The Book of Job condemns as prideful this desire for immediate attention. Speaking out of the whirlwind, God makes it clear that he is not a vending machine. He shows his face and reveals his plans when the time is ripe, not when the mood strikes us. We must learn to wait upon the Lord, the Bible tells us. Good luck with that, Job no doubt grumbled.

When the gods are silent, human beings take things into their own hands. In religions where the divine was thought to inscribe its messages in the natural world, specialists were taught to take auspices from the disposition of stars in the sky, from decks of cards, dice, a pile of sticks, a candle flame, a bowl of oily water, or the liver of some poor sheep. With these materials, battles could be planned, plagues predicted and bad marriages avoided.

In those places where the gods were thought to communicate verbally with humans, oracles and prophets were designated to provide answers on demand. The most highly revered oracles in the ancient Greek world were the high priestesses at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. When it came time to respond to a petitioner who had placed a question before her, the priestess would enter the inner sanctum and seat herself on a tripod erected over a crevice in the ground, out of which inebriating gases were thought to rise.

These fumes paralyzed her rational faculties and put her in a trance of receptivity that allowed the god Apollo to speak through her in cryptic remarks and riddles. These would be interpreted by a second figure, the prophet, who answered the grateful petitioner in poetry or prose. It was a very successful start-up and made Delphi a wealthy town.

Prophets today are less flamboyant. Former prime ministers do not, as a rule, sniff drugs before appearing on CNN. They sit meekly in the green room sipping mineral water before being called on to announce our fate. Augurs have given up on sheep livers and replaced them with big data and statistical modeling. The wonder is that we still cry out for their help, given that the future is full of surprises.

Professional forecasters know this about the future, which is why in the small print of their reports they lay out all the assumptions that went into the forecast and the degree of statistical confidence one might have in particular estimates, given the data and research methods used. But harried journalists and public officials don’t read or comprehend the footnotes, and with the public baying for information, they understandably pass on the most striking estimates just to get through the day.

Ancient augurs and prophets were in high-risk professions. When their predictions failed to materialize, many were executed by sovereigns or pulled apart by mobs. We see a

Take a banal example: snowstorms and school closings. A half century ago, when meteorological forecasting was less sophisticated, parents and children would not learn that classes were canceled until the storm began and it was announced on radio and television that very morning. We lived in harmless uncertainty, which for kids was thrilling. When snowflakes fell they even looked like manna from heaven.

Today, mayors and school superintendents, putting their faith in the meteorologists, routinely announce closings a day or more in advance. If the storm fails to arrive, though, they are sharply criticized by parents who lost a day of work or had to find day care. And if an unforeseen storm paralyzes the city, leaving streets unsalted and children stranded at school, the reaction is far worse. More than one mayor has lost a re-election bid because of failed prophecies, victim of our collective overconfidence in human foresight.

Our addiction to economic forecasting is far more consequential. Here the footnotes really do matter but politicians and the press encourage magical thinking.

The candidate declares, My plan will create 205,000 new jobs, raise the Dow 317 points and lower the price of gasoline 15 cents. Two years later, the gloating headline reads: The President’s Unkept Promises. Stagnant growth, a bear market and war in the Middle East make re-election unlikely.

Never mind that declining global demand slowed growth, that Wall Street is a drama queen and that a freakish tanker collision set off the war. A failed presidency is declared. And so the press and the public turn to fresher faces — who of course offer the same absurdly precise predictions. Not for nothing did Gore Vidal call us the United States of Amnesia.

The public square is thick today with augurs and prophets claiming to foresee the post-Covid world to come. I, myself, who find sundown something of a surprise every evening, have been pursued by foreign journalists asking what the pandemic will mean for the American presidential election, populism, the prospects of socialism, race relations, economic growth, higher education, New York City politics and more. And they seem awfully put out when I say I have no idea. You know your lines, just say them.

I understand their position. With daily life frozen, there are fewer newsworthy events to be reported on and debated. Yet columns must be written, and the 24/7 cable news machine must be fed. Only so much time can be spent on the day’s (hair-raising) news conferences or laying blame for decisions made in the past or sentimental stories on how people are coping. So journalists’ attention turns toward the future.

But the post-Covid future doesn’t exist. It will exist only after we have made it. Religious prophecy is rational, on the assumption that the future is in the gods’ hands, not ours. Believers can be confident that what the gods say through the oracles’ mouth or inscribe in offal will come to pass, independent of our actions. But if we don’t believe in such deities, we have no reason to ask what will happen to us. We should ask only what we want to happen, and how to make it happen, given the constraints of the moment.

Apart from the actual biology of the coronavirus — which we are only beginning to understand — nothing is predestined. How many people fall ill with it depends on how they behave, how we test them, how we treat them and how lucky we are in developing a vaccine.

The result of those decisions will then limit the choices about reopening that employers, mayors, university presidents and sports club owners are facing. Their decisions will then feed back into our own decisions, including whom we choose for president this November. And the results of that election will have the largest impact on what the next four years will hold.

The pandemic has brought home just how great a responsibility we bear toward the future, and also how inadequate our knowledge is for making wise decisions and anticipating consequences. Perhaps that is why our prophets and augurs can’t keep up with the demand for foresight.

At some level, people must be thinking that the more they learn about what is predetermined, the more control they will have. This is an illusion. Human beings want to feel that they are on a power walk into the future, when in fact we are always just tapping our canes on the pavement in the fog.

A dose of humility would do us good in the present moment. It might also help reconcile us to the radical uncertainty in which we are always living. Let us retire our prophets and augurs. And let us stop asking health specialists and public officials for confident projections they are in no position to make — and stop being disappointed when the ones we force out of them turn out to be wrong. (A shift from daily to weekly news conferences and reports would be a small step toward sobriety.)

It is bad enough living with a president who refuses to recognize reality. We worsen the situation by focusing our attention on litigating the past and demanding certainty about the future. We must accept what we are, in any case, condemned to do in life: tap and step, tap and step, tap and step ….

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Women Who Don't Work

I am enjoying Mrs. America on HULU right now as it covers the attempt by women's rights activists to get the ERA passed in the 70s.  Then they encountered a failed politician, Phyllis Schafly, who formed a PAC and using an army of housewives destroyed what may have prevented the #MeToo movement, the lack of equitable pay for workers and established family leave,  sexual and reproductive rights, child care and other issues now coming to an ugly head during the current Pandemonium.

Right now most women are filling the job as provider in the quarantine family home even when there is a partner there to assume some of the roles as cook, cleaner and teacher.  But fuck that, right men?!!!

The one thing the show does demonstrate that Ms. Schlafly (she would hate that moniker) was, was in fact a working woman.  She had domestic help, her husband was financially solvent to enable her to take the time away from the home, allowed her to attend law school and of course run the family business out of the home as she built her business of destroying equality for women.  And again let us remind ourselves that we are our worst enemy when it comes to seeking collaboration, cooperation and bridge building versus burning when it comes to climbing that proverbial ladder to "equality." It exists across gender, race and yes even political lines.  Once you grab that rung you will do whatever it takes to hold on and kick or stomp on anyone's hand rather than lend a helping one to bring them up to join you.  That is the American Way!

For a long while I used to believe that do unto others and then I sorta kinda didn't.  It comes from a Christian Ethos and after living in Nashville I thought that concept spread across the secular and non-secular lines and then I met the people who lived there.  Not one but many over my time there taught me that fuck you and fuck you again if you try to do the right thing when you are not a member of the tribe.  Again that tribe is be with your own kind and that is one fucking small tribe of one then. And so it set me on my current course which has been trying to explain to people that no, we are not in this together and yes we are alone when it comes to managing our own health, our wealth and all the rest during the pandemonium.  I had that discussion yesterday when the word afraid came up and I asked what he was afraid of.  And that was the virus.  Irony his partner had the virus, he contracted in a trip to China and was a nurse and immediately took the right precautions to protect his family and his employees from contracting the virus. The joke is I bet this very same person has it and has now the anti-bodies and had no idea he was a carrier.  But again until you test for both the virus and in turn the antibody you will never know if you are Covid "free." And that means a whole lot of nothing as we are nowhere near knowing if those tests are 100% accurate in either regard.  But hey it is better than nothing and companies across the globe are working towards finding ways to open their business  and keep both employees and customers safe. Some will never re-open.

But for now the reality is that if you are symptomatic regardless of any symptom even just one, get tested and then wait unit the results to resume work, joining the public and in turn practicing safe not-sex (well that always must be practiced) but all the other protocols established regardless, until a vaccine is created.

As for returning to work well that is not a light switch and viola you are back in the old job you had pre-pandemonium.  Banks, Insurance Agents, Hotels, Schools, pick one, name one, are not going to call you all back in and you are back behind the counter, at your desk, in an office, doing whatever you used to do.  As I fight with Wells over their lack of an open branch in Jersey City, they have had more than ample time to build screens, hire security guard to monitor crowd flow, isolate and set policies in motion to protect both staff and customers. NO you cannot get Covid from paper so now that has been declared we can handle money.    So I suspect branches will close, those employees from tellers to managers to other customer service agents, almost all women,  almost all faces of color will be joining the 30 plus million who will be long term unemployed.

This is my third major recession, the one in the 80s when I graduated college, the one in 2008 and now this.  I have been independent once my family hammered into me the idea of a fall back job and saving money, not owning anything unless I pay cash for it was a lesson well learned. Until the attempted murder of me in 2012 I was fine but the ultimate destruction it took on my health and savings I would have been fine.  That said I owe 10K in loans for my teeth and when Vanderbilt claimed I still owed them a 1,000 I laughed and said I will pay you $10 a month for a 100 months. They agreed and I laughed as that is now over eight years to do so. This is how idiotic this system is with regards to medical debt.  My credit card will expire in three so I look forward to that next contact when it happens.  But my intent is to actually pay it off much sooner as frankly just fucking with Vanderbilt was the only thing that mattered and that again it proved how desperate they are too to resolve medical debt.  This will on their end get worse post Covid.

We have the men issue that led to the charge of Trump, that men after 2008 were hired back into jobs that were paid less and in turn also contributed to the Opioid problems among others and it is laughable as that is the same cohort that uses the mantra, "up by your bootstraps" to prove your worth and then those straps break.  Whoops!  So again rather than look extrinsically to the system that contributed to it and of course demand change, strike, take to the streets, vote and actually demand change they turned to a fuckwit reality TV show host to do what he does best, sow chaos and let other people do the heavy lifting.  How is all that winning working out for you? And yes women you voted for the pussy grabber so how is that pussy?

If we are to change anything we need to change how we see ourselves and more importantly how we see each other.  We have to accept differences in behaviors and learn to accommodate those in ways that will enable us to see past the obvious - gender, race, sexuality and culture.  To say Europeans do it better is perhaps somewhat true but they too suffer from the very thing that makes them European, culture.  That is why you are seeing a resurgence to the right in many counties, such as Austria and England as evident by BREXIT. The idea that there is one Europe is crazy as unless you have been there you don't realize there are characteristics and qualities that make them well Swiss, German, Italian and French and so on.  It is fabulous, fascinating and complex all at the same time.  But you do see a better sense of identity when the shit hits the fan unlike here. We suck and until I lived in the South I did not get that idea of identity, tribalism and nativism.  The South sucks but whatever again my basis of this is the whole racism tied to religion so take that for what it is worth.  I did meet many kind people and great people but I did not tie that to the South I thought it was despite it not because of it. But we do the same with age, race, gender, sexual identity, political beliefs, cultural ones as well. We love the idea of Chinatown, of a Bodega and Hispanic area to go shopping, to taste and feel the flavors, as long as they stay there.  Good to know and I will never forget that is was a Black Woman in Nashville who asked me where I lived and when I told her South Nashville her response: "With all those brown people?" And mine: "Did they not say that about you once?"  And that was the marker for most of my conversations in Nashville, glad to be gone.

As for coming out of this once again minorities and women will get the shaft  And especially ones over 55, we are thought of as less, not worthy and too close to getting that Social Security and Medicare which is what it really is about. It is not about we are not thinkers, doers or creators it is petty jealousy that we are this close to free shit. And that is what fuels the racial divide that concept of getting free/low cost housing, affirmative action that enables some to get into schools over there less qualified but whiter cohorts, but did we not learn anything from the Varsity Blue scandal? It is about access and availability, money and name recognition.  Again, not knowing the Obama children, but get real they could spell cat with a K and get into an Ivy League school, that is the way it is.  Fly or buy as let's face George W was not  smart in any sense of the word, so again do you think he would handle this better. Think again.

Without an older more sophisticated workforce we will face a much more significant problem in getting back to business.   I think listening to my younger idiots when they say they are "afraid" that is the tip that they are fucking clueless.  We need to remind ourselves we are on the verge of electing another 70 plus white man, could Warren a woman and his age be worse?  She seems sharper and way more hip without a replacement, and that she lost her brother to Covid is an important marker. That said I also think Kamala Harris would be a brutal AG, and after Barr we need a sharp legal mind to untangle all that he did to establish such Executive Power.  Women, we can regardless of age or color, rule the world.  That is what really frightens you.  Watch Mrs. America and see what could have had a bunch of angry white women who were what? Afraid, and in turn stop women from doing what would have benefitted them all.

Women 55 and older who lose their jobs in the pandemic face greater risk of long-term unemployment

By Michelle Singletary
Columnist the Washington Post
May 22, 2020

The pandemic has pushed millions of people out of their jobs. One demographic that has been especially hard hit is women 55 and older.

Sarah Borenstein left teaching at 55 to start a second career in information technology. And she was doing well. The Denver resident was working from her home as a contractor for an engineering firm.

Then the novel coronavirus started spreading. Borenstein’s employer designated her an essential employee and assured her everything would be fine.

Then it wasn’t.

Her employer let her go. Now Borenstein, 58, is living off unemployment. With her teacher’s pension, she’ll be okay — but the loss of income disrupted her plans for a more secure retirement.

“I can live off my pension, but I won’t have a lot of extras,” she said. “The longer I’m out of work, the harder it will be to get back in the job market.”

The United States lost 20.5 million jobs in April, the highest monthly job loss on record. The unemployment rate for both young and older workers jumped to double digits. For women over 55, the unemployment rate increased to 15.5 percent in April, up from 3.3 percent a month earlier, according to the AARP Public Policy Institute. “The numbers were really devastating,” said Susan Weinstock, AARP’s vice president for financial resilience programming.

There’s a trifecta effect for older unemployed women, Weinstock said. They face age discrimination, are likely to be unemployed longer in downturns and — when they do finally land a job — they often have to take a significant pay cut.

When personal and job characteristics are held constant, jobless women are 18 percent less likely to find new work at age 50 to 61 than at age 25 to 34. At 62 or older, they are 50 percent less likely to be rehired, according to research by the Urban Institute.

With job opportunities and income reduced, the unemployed often tap their retirement funds if they have them — leaving less to live on when they decide to retire or are forced to stop working because of health issues. Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (Cares) Act, workers younger than 59½ can take coronavirus-related distributions up to $100,000 without incurring the typical 10 percent early-withdrawal penalty.

“If they’re having financial trouble, that’s a great safety net,” Weinstock said. “But if you’re an older worker, you have a lot less time to make that up than you do if you’re a younger worker.”

By the way, Weinstock pointed out, if you’re looking for work, AARP has a Job Board at jobs.aarp.org. Right now, the Small Business Administration is looking to hire loan specialists to process applications for the Paycheck Protection Program, created under the Cares Act to help businesses keep their workers employed during the pandemic.

Elizabeth White knows what it’s like to be 55 and unemployed. During the Great Recession, she lost lucrative consulting contracts that put her “solidly in the six figures.” She thought her experience working for the World Bank and advanced degrees from Johns Hopkins and Harvard universities would help her quickly find new employment.

She was wrong.

And to make matters worse, White had previously depleted her savings trying to run a retail business, which ultimately failed.

Now 66, White has gained tremendous perspective that can help other older workers trying to make ends meet during the pandemic. She wrote about her experience of having the “bottom fall out with no ladder to climb back up.” Her book, “55, Underemployed and Faking Normal,” is this month’s Color of Money book selection.

One of the first actions White recommends is forming a “resilience circle,” which is a small network of people with whom you can discuss honestly the challenges of living on a limited income because of a job loss. She talks about how important it is to downsize quickly. And she cautions that if you were a high earner with an impressive job title, “get off your throne,” meaning you may have to settle for work that you wouldn’t normally take.

“We’re going to have to let go of this notion that our values and worth are based solely on our titles, incomes, and jobs,” she writes. “We’re going to have to let go of our vanity and pride.”

White wrote the book before the pandemic hit, but the advice for older workers is timeless. She’s writing as a comrade in the struggle. It’s not a story of “doom and gloom” but of encouragement for older workers trying to make a living in a new normal.

I am hosting an online discussion about the “55, Underemployed and Faking Normal” at noon Eastern time on June 4 at washingtonpost.com/discussions. My guests will be White and AARP’s Weinstock. They will join me to take your questions about older workers dealing with unemployment during the covid-19 pandemic.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Once in a Lifetime?

This pandemic is but the fall back on this is not.  I am not Okay are You? should be the next phrase Melania Trump put on the back of her next coat to wear as she escapes from her prison.  Funny Michelle Obama was told that it was much like one but a nice one when she became First Lady and undoubtedly that statement has taken on a whole new meaning.

The Daddies have given us a hall pass with the holiday weekend, expect that next week the scolding will begin anew as we have somehow failed to do good and we must go back on probation until the next phase of reward begins. They do this with dog training and clearly Westminster is taking notes for next years show.

I have decided to dedicate my time to write more and read more. I have failed on both counts. I have written two essays about what it is like to live in this time of Covid, one analogy to being punished as a child and another at being in attendance to the longest baseball game of one's life.  Both I submitted to contests and journals and my query letter was basically, hey I am in lockdown and we are in quarantine you may like it or not as that is yours to decide.  Honestly anyone who has done the routine of submit, write the requisite pleading query letter, wait, hear nothing and do it all over again knows that even with rejection you get not one clear critique or comment that would enable you to know how close to the mark you are or not. In other words, its like this bullshit we are experiencing now, the endless lather, rinse, repeat. The daily reading of numbers continues to demonstrate that all this social distancing, economic destruction, quarantining, isolation, waiting and wondering what is enough is anything ever enough to finally hear what we need to hear but never do is what writers go through on a constant basis.  Its exhausting, mind numbing and utterly useless.  If you cannot actually get solid feedback, honest truths and advice on what to do to make your writing work or even if you should write we will continue to just wait and wait and wait some more for the one day some invisible Editor, Agent, Publisher will throw you a bone.  And even then that bone is very picked over and with little meat left.  Its a great gig clearly.  Which gig I am not sure.

This is how we roll in America we think that this makes us stronger, better, brighter. We are sure that it meets the myth that defines the American ethic of up by the boot straps, work hard, play by the rules and do the right thing and all things will work. That is the fundamental principle of Meritocracy and that is the biggest load of shit ever shoveled in the history of American shit throwing.

I came of age in a major recession and launch of the go go 80s that I believe led to the subsequent crisis today.  The Voodoo President Reagan is so much like what I experienced, from the cuts to Government funding, the denigration of minorities with Welfare Queen, the political scandals and lastly the AIDS crisis is as if I am in a continual loop of a movie that I hated the first time and now for some reason cannot get out of the theater.

This week I read the below article in the New York Times, discussing how this pandemic and the economic meltdown which resulted from the chaos, lack of information, messaging and preparedness enabled a bunch of random white male Governors and a couple of women thrown in the mix who basically followed the cues in the dueling East Coast versus West Coast with flyover country trying to get their voices heard to show they too matter is perhaps the most distressing of it. From the DeWine fucker in Ohio, to the poor Governor of Michigan, to Texas and lastly the idiot in Florida and Georgia to show that the South is in this too.   I wondered is there any adult in the room other than Fauci?  He is like the little Igor to President Frankenstein who is sure if he is scary enough the Doctor will respect him. Well that clearly did not work.

An election is coming up and we have another doddering fool of a white man running on the back of a black man, not the first time but then again with white men they never change their agenda as they always do it on the backs of anyone who they can climb over to get to the top of the rung. I tried not to think of the mistakes I made in my life as I came of age in the 80s after finishing college and wanting to go to law school I found a job working in the King County Prosecutors office as a clerk. I learned right there that the justice system was a load of bullshit and folded that dream into the tent and never unpacked it again.  I have no regrets at all.  Coming back into that fold briefly in 2012 as a victim of it confirmed what I knew then, that white men run it, they bestow a modicum of power to black men who then go all Clarence Thomas on that to show they earned that and the women either fuck tother women over or the men to keep their jobs.  Face it that is what it is everywhere.

I worked in largely temporary office jobs, a Kelly Girl, for years and traveled as that was by far more interesting and educational than any college class I ever sat in. Well not true, as a Sociology and English major there were many courses I loved and look upon with great joy and appreciation but they were few and far in between. College in another predatory breeding ground of white male privilege with the same bullshit I saw in the King County Courts.  Education and Justice are institutions and they want to stay that way. And no wonder I loved being a Substitute Teacher more than one full time, it was ingrained from my early professional years. That system is as racist and classist as one can get but it pretends not.  But now that curtain is finally realized as one threadbare.

And this  brings me to the last industrial complex, medicine. We have now seen that curtain pulled back and the ugly truth of OZ that it is not some grand King but a sad hot mess of Doctors and Nurses who have spent their lives thinking they were in a noble profession only to be brought down to reality when a pandemic hit and then they had to beg for money, food and applause all while crying, "I didn't sign up for this!" Yes, yes you did. The Starbucks Barista, the Grocery Clerk, the Fed Ex dude no, no they did not.  So shut the fuck up and wipe that tear.

Truths are hard and ignorance even more so and that is what we have now, an immense amount of Americans utterly afraid, paralyzed with fear and with little or know foundation, aka intelligence. on which to ask questions, ask them again and again until they get a truthful answer. It is like the writing submission process where you blindly go in and never come out with an single response. Is there a point?  I guess if they don't want it you suck so go away. Well again don't even those who suck deserve to be told that.  Oh in the Education complex they do that, in the Justice one they do so as well and of course in Medicine that is a given. It goes by race, age, gender or any other visible methodology that makes it easy in which to do so.  Sexuality is added later when it can be and they certainly have tried as here in New Jersey an Assemblywoman wanted that info on the testing criteria. Really bitch you need one more factor to the already complex polynomial that is Covid?

When I read the article about today's graduates it was during one of my marathon walks I saw a young girl and her mother taking pics against the skyline of New York in the background and while still remaining physically distant I did stop, however, and was not socially when I congratulated her. And I told her one lie and two truths - that life is like that river water and that with it comes the good and it flows out and then the bad flows in. Right now we are in a bad flow and it will leave and in its place comes the good.  And in turn this is the worst of it and yet for you the best of it, choose which one matters and let that be your guide to navigate the water.  The truth is that I want to believe but I am not sure anymore what or who to believe. But I know now that I had no mentors, no history or family that knew how to navigate and they were working class but I never felt as if I fit and perhaps even when I entered Education it was a last resort but it also was the gig my Mother said to fall back upon and that was what it was and is. I loath politics and again a Pink Collar profession is no less politic than a white collar one, just the rules are different.

And as a truth teller and seeker of the same I ended up fucking lucky.  That is all it has been and I have never believed otherwise.  I liked working retail when I was allowed to simply just make money. I liked Teaching when I could simply teach kids.  I loved renovating houses but it was all with men and that was the catch and I did not have a mitt.  If I could do it all over I wouldn't as all of it made me a hell of a broad and that I am grateful. But I have paid an immense price for that as I have no family, no significant other and apparently that is not all that uncommon for my lot who was the class of 1981.  I certainly did not follow any conventional yellow brick road to OZ and while I tried the tennis shoe, bow wearing suits of the Women Who Worked, when I worked in a bank, that was ahead of the curve, People's Bank when it folded its doors after I soon left. Not one person I worked there with, well one, had any type of knowledge, intelligence and dignity so they treated their employees and co-workers the same.  I worked for two women, Janelle Keating and Wanda Judd. Wanda was just like the name one imagines and I liked her and respected her and I suspect she and I were cut much from the same cloth.  Janelle was a slut who fucked her bosses and had a husband already employed there so I suspect it was how she got her job in the first place and which she was unqualified for.   I can remember a few of the others and they are faces and names long forgotten but I am sure they found what they were looking for - just recognition.  I think that is all we look for in work, as respect is not coming your way.

Work is for fools and horses my Mother used to say and we have a lot of both standing in the field.  I am not sure this is something that we will come out of in the same way we did in the 80s. It is going back in time and with that I hope the 70s follow as that was the great awakening and reality of that protest, organization, shock, horror and dance all came together after the endless killings of men who tried to make a difference and perhaps that is why men now are so afraid and want to keep people oppressed and afraid, that way then they won't get shot.  What.the.fuck.ever. Cowards.  Funny no women were ever murdered, well after the Salem Witch Trials who is going to do that again, black magic and all that! No thanks!

But today we should be asking ourselves how did we get here and why are we letting the days go by without demanding the answers from those who claim to have them. Fuck them and find someone who does.

Facing Adulthood With an Economic Disaster’s Lasting Scars

By Eduardo Porter and David Yaffe-Bellany
The New York Times
Published May 19, 2020

Matthew Henderson couldn’t be entering the job market at a worse time. As a senior at Loyola University, he spent the spring semester interning as a trade policy analyst at the British Consulate in Chicago. But his chances of turning that opportunity into a permanent job after graduation ran headlong into the coronavirus pandemic.

Now Mr. Henderson is at home with his family in South Bend, Ind., unemployed and considering jobs at Costco and Target to help pay off $24,000 in student loans. “I’m in this bubble of anxiety,” said Mr. Henderson, who just turned 21. “I have to pay these, but I have no money to pay them.”

Saddled with debt, and entering a job market devastated by the pandemic, he and millions of his contemporaries face an exceptionally dicey future.

Young adults, especially those without a college degree, are particularly vulnerable in recessions. They are new to the job market — with scant on-the-job experience and little or no seniority to protect them from layoffs. A large body of research — along with the experience of those who came of age in the last recession — shows that young people trying to start their careers during an economic crisis are at a lasting disadvantage. Their wages, opportunities and confidence in the workplace may never fully recover.

And in the worst downturn in generations — one with no bottom in sight — the pattern is beginning to play out with a vengeance. From March to April, employment dropped by a quarter for workers 20 to 24 years old, and 16 percent for those 20 to 29. That compares with about 12 percent of workers in their 50s.

In an article for Lawfare, a blog about law and national security, the historian David Kennedy and the retired general Karl Eikenberry likened the current crisis to wartime, when elders send the young to fight and die. “It is the young — indebted students and struggling mortgagors, parents supporting families paycheck to paycheck, precarious recent graduates and anxious first-time job seekers — whose lives will be most deeply scarred,” they wrote.

For some younger workers, this is the second blow in barely a decade. An analysis by the McKinsey Global Institute noted that “the generation that first entered the job market in the aftermath of the Great Recession is now going through its second ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ downturn.”

Molly Zerjal, a 32-year-old in St. Louis, lost a communications job at Wells Fargo during the last downturn. Now, Ms. Zerjal works in marketing at a different financial firm, and she’s afraid it could happen again.

“I’m not an essential worker: marketing and communications is a ‘nice to have,’” she said. “Every day, I’m like, ‘Oh, God, what could happen today?’ It’s like P.T.S.D.”

The question is what kind of scars this will leave in the hearts, minds and pockets of younger people.

Jordan Haggard, 33, graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2009 in the depths of the recession. The job market was dire: When she applied for a job at McDonald’s, she never heard back.

Ten years later, Ms. Haggard works as an office manager for a small publishing company in Seattle. She has kept her job during the pandemic, even as some colleagues have been furloughed. But she still feels the effects of 2009.

“I know I will never be able to afford a home in Seattle or even live by myself without a roommate or two,” Ms. Haggard said. “Life is different from the one I was told about or imagined.”

Indeed, Jesse Rothstein of the University of California, Berkeley, followed college graduates who entered the labor market after the 2008 financial crisis. By 2018, those who had landed jobs in 2010 and 2011 had a lower employment rate than people at the same age who graduated before the recession hit, and those working earned less.

The effects are likely to persist. Lisa B. Kahn, an economics professor at the University of Rochester, tracked young white men who graduated from college from 1979 to 1988, a period that included the double-dip recession of the early 1980s. Over the next two decades, she found, they got stuck in low-quality, low-pay jobs. Even after the economy recovered, they had a hard time moving into better jobs.

The causes seem varied. Recession graduates, with limited opportunities, will start in jobs that are a worse fit. Once the economy recovers, they will compete for jobs with people who have more experience. In addition, Ms. Kahn noted, recession graduates seem more risk averse. “People that graduate into a recession don’t change jobs as often as people that graduate into booms,” she noted. And these job changes are one of the best ways to get a raise.

The difficult start shadowed many through their careers. Till von Wachter of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Hannes Schwandt of Northwestern University followed Americans who entered the labor market in 1981 and 1982, during the largest postwar recession up to that time.

They not only earned less in midlife. They were also less likely to be married or to have children, and more likely to die young, recording higher mortality rates starting in their 30s — driven by heart disease, lung cancer, liver failure and drug overdoses — what two Princeton scholars, Anne Case and Angus Deaton, have called “deaths of despair.”

And, of course, young workers without a college degree are likely to fare even worse. “Recessions, in general, widen inequality,” Ms. Kahn said. “The more disadvantaged groups — minorities, the young, those with less education — are the hardest hit.”

In the coronavirus pandemic, the lopsided impact of business shutdowns on the young risks opening a generation gap with their elders who are more likely to die of the disease.

The diverging interests could affect policy as soon as this summer. In a research paper published last month, Dirk Krueger of the University of Pennsylvania and three colleagues estimated that people past retirement age would choose to close a much larger share of nonessential businesses and keep them closed, while younger workers in those shuttered businesses have the most to lose. “The conflict between the old and the young is severe,” Mr. Krueger noted.

The asymmetric aftershocks of this pandemic are likely to ripple across society far into the future.

“You work for years, you go through school, and you get to this point where you’re preparing to get a job,” she said. “And now I can’t do that. It’s very frustrating.”

“It’s not something I feel like any of my professors, my parents or really anybody has any knowledge about,” she added. “They never had to deal with it.”

Ms. Meier’s parents finished college in 1988, married and settled into fairly stable careers and a comfortable middle-class life. Her father attended graduate school and then got a job as a software analyst for Overland Park, Kan. Her mother got a series of accounting jobs. She was laid off in the last recession, but found another position soon after.

“There’s a big difference between finding a third or fourth full-time job and finding your first job,” Ms. Meier said.

It would be unsurprising if this economic upheaval changed the young’s perception of the world, justice and the role of government.

Ms. Haggard, the office manager who graduated in 2009, was a Republican in college. She voted for John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. But the recession changed her worldview. Now, she’s far more liberal, and she voted for Bernie Sanders in this year’s Democratic primary in Washington.

“A big Republican thing is, ‘Pick yourself up by the bootstraps,’” she said. “Well, we don’t live in a world where that’s possible, at least in America.”

Paola Giuliano, a U.C.L.A. economist, and Antonio Spilimbergo of the International Monetary Fund studied how economic setbacks affect personal ideology.

Looking at data from the General Social Survey from 1972 through 2010, they concluded that people who experience a recession in what social psychologists call the “impressionable years,” roughly 18 to 25, were more likely to believe that success in life depends less on effort than on luck, support redistributive politics to help the less fortunate and mitigate inequality, and vote more often for left-wing parties.

Among those directly hit — young workers who have lost their jobs — the ideological shift could be even stronger. “This, in principle, should create a divide between generations,” Ms. Giuliano said.

Alicia Munnell and Wenliang Hou of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College have documented how millennials, born from 1981 to 1999, hit particularly hard by the recession of 2009, are less financially secure than young adults from preceding generations. They have more student debt and less money in their retirement plans. Their net worth is lower than that of boomers or Gen Xers. Fewer own homes. Fewer are married.

This is the generation that gave rise to Occupy Wall Street and propelled two presidential campaigns by Bernie Sanders. It is the generation voting for candidates like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, pushing the Democratic Party to the left.

And as it moves to the left, elders are moving in the opposite direction. In one recent study, Vivekinan Ashok and Ebonya Washington of Yale, with Ilyana Kuziemko of Princeton, found that even as income inequality has intensified, Americans 65 and older have become more resistant to redistribution. The old, they suggest, worry that new programs to help the poor will come at the expense of cuts to Medicare.

“The disproportionate gains to the American elderly in terms of social spending over the past several decades may make them wary of further extending redistributive programs,” they wrote.

There remains a crucial bond between generations: family. The young care for their parents, and don’t want them to die of Covid-19. The old care about the financial well-being of their children and grandchildren, as well as about the balance in their 401(k). They don’t want the economy to go into free fall.

For much of her adult life, Brenda Michael-Haggard, the 59-year-old mother of Jordan Haggard, has felt that people who lose jobs or face other forms of adversity should persevere and simply “find another way to make stuff happen.”

Now she has seen her daughter’s generation experience two economic crises in a little over a decade and tens of millions of people lose their jobs practically overnight. It has changed how she looks at the world.

“As the mom, golly, it’s too bad,” she said. “It’s something that I wish any one of us could prevent. With all of the Covid, you can’t just pick yourself up and find something different.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Three Stooges

Living in New Jersey I have the pleasure of having a Democrat who is incompetent for Governor so that takes the whole blue state red state thing right away off the plate. Across the river in New York, the city and the state, are also run by Democrats in the position of Governor and Mayor respectively.  Both are flying fucking idiots.

To begin, only a few weeks before the major shutdown Cuomo fired Transit Daddy, the much beloved and beleaguered head of the MTA. Since that time the service that is indispensible has struggled with employees becoming seriously ill, the homeless using the now near empty trains a home base, shut the trains leading to more confusion and chaos for those essential workers to get to work, and in turn the level of violence now occurring on these near empty trains is returning to 1970's level, where Charles Bronson become a vigilante.  I won't be riding any of them for quite some time as well you don't have to as a cab gets you uptown in seven minutes so screw that.

Cuomo's shenanigans include his whining about the family bullshit with his brother already a figure of some questionable competence on CNN, and the endless trajectory of his competitiveness with the Mayor of NYC which has contributed to further confusion and policy that one day is this, the next another.  Those two idiots posturing of which is the biggest douche is a tough call but here in New Jersey we had the triplets, the Mayors of Hoboken, Jersey City, and Newark, taking turns for who could be the most restrictive and invisible while doing so.  These three have cleverly stayed of the limelight while simultaneously doing as little as possible but leaving as much confusion as possible in their wake. Why we have a curfew is still mind boggling, nothing is open past 5 anymore and why would they be? But again if you are black and poor the cops will be right by to check on that. Again the racial profiling, the absurd mask handing out and the endless sagas with the Orthodox sect never seems to end but hey standing outside sharing a drink or talking is death's warning.  Be afraid be very afraid!

The Governor of Connecticut is not faring any better but no one seems to care that much for whatever reasons but he is clearly like Murphy taking the lead from Doppio as I call Cuomo.

I read this today in the Guardian and add Murphy to the list.  Half the deaths here in New Jersey are from the older folks homes.  Then to add to the problem forcing the same homes to take back the patients after hospital release.  What the fuck?  As for overall total deaths,  I cannot be sure they are all  legit, valid covid patients or even accurately accounted. The absurdity about the numbers is another as many counties here do not report fully the results, deaths are held for 24 hours or longer as we have no way of knowing any of it as here in New Jersey they are not responding to Freedom of Information Requests, thanks to a law that enables them to pass during a State of Emergency.  Great transparency there.

And if you note all three stooges have made it impossible for anyone to sue hospitals or long term care facilities for Covid related injuries or deaths. Good plan on not knowing how many people died from inadequate to neglectful care.

In New York City, DiBlasio is being investigated by the City Comptroller and one day certainly Cuomo will be facing the Grim Reaper himself, when all is said and done about his mis-management of this crisis. And DiBlasio continues to demonstrate what a fucktard he is with each passing day.  But then again he is not the first nor last Politician during this crisis to be called an idiot.

I have loved the posturing bullshit, from the naval ships, to the conference centers commandeered to be overflow hospitals.  All without figuring out if they would take Covid positive or would they be better serving the elderly, the homeless or the sick from not Covid? That was fascinating to watch to watch that power play with  Doppio demanding them to and then not and then yes and then a month later sailing away with a salute. How much did that cost per patient?  Then the bullshit religious tent in Central Park, the histrionics about hospitals when they found in New York it was largely due to poor centralized communication and asset allocation.  So basically a shit load of money and posturing for nothing as between them it appears they barely treated 300 people, and I question why and what was the reasoning behind that as there were no hospital beds anywhere available?

How about now starting contact tracing and tracking? Little late in the game and that will be fucked, trust me I feel it.   How about now finding ways to resolve the homeless crisis before it ended up having to close subways? How? Why? When did you finally figure that out?    I still love Murphy and the way he backpedals each executive order to fix the fucked up one from the day before.  Talk about knucklehead.

This is a sham, a scam and a fraud. These three men plus one other did little to circumvent or handle any of this as it evolved and still are not. Each day another fire another saga and the lottery numbers continue. Why? Cause they fucked it up.  They are in out of their depth, breadth and skill set not unlike Trump but the difference is that Cuomo is a career pol from a career family of the same. He understands the media and how to manipulate it down to his Steven Colbert screen of highlights of what the topic is.  He is working the room in a way a crooner does to get the audience to tip big and leave happy.  I watch as the misinformation grows, the confusion, the daily mis-mismangement and messaging continues to prove that we have no one in charge, no one capable and no one even willing to admit this.  We are so fucked because of these white men.  No wonder Covid is winning this war look at the Generals.

Andrew Cuomo is no hero. He's to blame for New York's coronavirus catastrophe

His record was terrible before coronavirus, but his abysmal handling of the crisis should get him thrown out of office

Lyta Gold and Nathan Robinson
The Guardian
Wed 20 May 2020

‘Elderly prisoners have died of coronavirus because New York has failed to act on their medical parole requests.’ Governor Andrew Cuomo

Andrew Cuomo may be the most popular politician in the country. His approval ratings have hit all-time highs thanks to his Covid-19 response. Some Democrats have discussed him as a possible replacement for Joe Biden, due to Biden’s perceived weakness as a nominee. And there have even been some unfortunate tributes to Cuomo’s alleged sex appeal.

All of which is bizarre, because Cuomo should be one of the most loathed officials in America right now. ProPublica recently released a report outlining catastrophic missteps by Cuomo and the New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, which probably resulted in many thousands of needless coronavirus cases. ProPublica offers some appalling numbers contrasting what happened in New York with the outbreak in California. By mid-May, New York City alone had almost 20,000 deaths, while in San Francisco there had been only 35, and New York state as a whole suffered 10 times as many deaths as California.

Federal failures played a role, of course, but this tragedy was absolutely due, in part, to decisions by the governor. Cuomo initially “reacted to De Blasio’s idea for closing down New York City with derision”, saying it “was dangerous” and “served only to scare people”. He said the “seasonal flu was a graver worry”. A spokesperson for Cuomo “refused to say if the governor had ever read the state’s pandemic plan”. Later, Cuomo would blame the press, including the New York Times for failing to say “Be careful, there’s a virus in China that may be in the United States?” even though the Times wrote nearly 500 stories on the virus before the state acted. Experts told ProPublica that “had New York imposed its extreme social distancing measures a week or two earlier, the death toll might have been cut by half or more”.

But delay was not the only screw-up. Elderly prisoners have died of coronavirus because New York has failed to act on their medical parole requests. As Business Insider documented:

“Testing was slow. Nonprofit social-service agencies that serve the most vulnerable couldn’t get answers either. And medical experts like the former CDC director Tom Frieden said ‘so many deaths could have been prevented’ had New York issued its stay-at-home order just ‘days earlier’ than it did. On March 19, when New York’s schools had already been closed, Cuomo said ‘in many ways, the fear is more dangerous than the virus.’”

The governor has failed to take responsibility for the obvious failures, consistently blaming others and at one point even saying “governors don’t do pandemics”. (Actually, some governors just don’t read their state’s pandemic plans.) But much of the press has ignored this, focusing instead on Cuomo’s aesthetic presentation: his poise during press conferences, his dramatic statements about “taking responsibility” (even when he obviously hasn’t), and his invisible good looks.

The mask mural is yet another publicity stunt mistaken by the press as a sign of leadership. On 29 April, Cuomo unveiled a wall of handmade cloth masks that had been sent to his office by concerned citizens all over America. He called it “a self-portrait of America. You know what that spells? It spells love.” Since the arrangement of masks doesn’t form words, the mural doesn’t actually spell anything, but it is a perfect symbol of Cuomo’s leadership failures. Handmade cloth face coverings are not as effective as N95 masks, of course, but if unsuitable for healthcare workers they would still have been perfectly appropriate to distribute to New Yorkers (some of whom have been brutally arrested for not wearing masks). But Cuomo, rather than putting the needs of New Yorkers first, chose to tack hundreds of cloth masks on a wall as a monument to himself.

Cuomo’s record was shameful long before coronavirus began. He enabled the IDC (Independent Democratic Conference), a group of conservative Democratic state lawmakers, in allying with the Republican minority to block progressive legislation. (Cuomo denies any role in the IDC, but that stretches credulity.) Before the pandemic, he pushed through Medicaid cuts which shut down necessary hospital space in the name of “efficiency” despite the warnings of medical professionals. And on 3 April, as 3,000 New Yorkers already lay dead from the virus and hospitals like Elmhurst in Queens were overwhelmed with cases, Cuomo forced through further Medicaid cuts, slashing $400m from hospital budgets.

As the state now staggers to its feet, Cuomo has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to “reimagine education” (which almost certainly means privatization), and with the ex-Google chief Eric Schmidt to – as Naomi Klein puts it – “permanently integrat[e] technology into every aspect of civic life”. All of this has happened without the democratic input of New Yorkers, who would likely prefer that the progressive legislators they elected could govern without interference, that their hospitals have enough money to function and that billionaires don’t infiltrate and control every element of civic life.

There’s something disturbing about Cuomo being hailed as the hero of the pandemic when he should rightly be one of the villains. As Business Insider notes, he is now only able to attain praise for his actions because his earlier failures made those actions necessary. He’s lauded for addressing a problem that he himself partly caused. Of course, part of this is because Donald Trump has bungled the coronavirus response even more badly, so that Cuomo – by not being a complete buffoon – looks like a capable statesman by contrast. But this is the problem: for too long, Democrats have measured their politicians by “whether they are better than Republicans”. This sets the bar very low indeed, and means that Democrats end up settling for incompetent and amoral leaders who betray progressive values again and again.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Touch Me

The never ending change in goals posts continue.

CDC: Virus 'does not spread easily' on contaminated surfaces

Yahoo Style
Korin Miller
May 19th 2020 1

Even before COVID-19 officially had a name, public health officials said the virus could be transmitted through infected respiratory droplets and by touching infected surfaces and then touching your nose, mouth, and possibly your eyes. So, people began snatching up face masks, wearing gloves, and ramping up hand hygiene to try to protect themselves.

While touching infected surfaces has always been part of the messaging on how the virus spreads, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently shifted its stance online. The CDC now says that COVID-19 spreads from person to person contact, and then lists touching infected surfaces under a section titled, "The virus does not spread easily in other ways." The CDC adds: “This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.” The language is a subtle change from the organization’s warning in early March, when it wrote simply that it “may be possible” to spread the virus through contaminated surfaces.

The CDC, which did not respond to Yahoo Life’s request for comment, still recommends that you wash your hands often with soap and water, and routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces to protect yourself and others from the virus.

The CDC’s lesser emphasis on infected surfaces as part of the spread of COVID-19 is slightly different from that of the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO states online that “COVID-19 spreads primarily from person to person,” but adds that, “it can also spread if you touch contaminated objects and surfaces.” The WHO even breaks down for readers all of the commonly-touched surfaces to be wary of, like doorknobs, computers, elevator buttons, and pens, noting that “If you touch something contaminated and then touch your face…you might fall ill.”

So what does this mean, exactly?

Dr. Richard Watkins, an infectious disease physician in Akron, OH and a professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, tells Yahoo Life that it’s important to keep in mind that COVID-19 is a new virus. “We are still learning about this new coronavirus —including how it spreads — and knowledge is increasing daily,” he says. With that, some guidance and information on the virus may change over time, he says.

There has been no new, major study to suggest that contaminated surfaces are less important in the spread of COVID-19, but epidemiological data (which is the method used to find the causes of health outcomes and diseases in populations) has simply found that person-to-person contact is more important, infectious disease expert Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Yahoo Life.

“Based on the epidemiology, we know that the main way this virus is infecting people is from direct contact with other infected people,” Adalja says. “Contaminated surfaces play some role, but it’s likely much smaller.” It also makes sense, too, he says: “This is a respiratory virus, and respiratory viruses largely spread through breathing in infected respiratory droplets.”

Concerns about contracting the virus from infected surfaces mostly stemmed from a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in mid-March. That study found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can last on a variety of surfaces for anywhere from four hours (copper) to three days (plastic and stainless steel). What the study didn’t find was whether people could actually become infected from touching those surfaces. But, since the study’s release, people have been nervous about handling mail, groceries, and other high-touch surfaces like doorknobs.

But the CDC’s shift in guidance doesn’t mean you should stop being cautious with those things, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tells Yahoo Life. “If I had to pick the things to pick an emphasis on to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it would still be social distancing, wearing masks, and practicing good hand hygiene,” he says. Schaffner compares the spread of COVID-19 to roadways. “Person-to-person contact is a highway, and the inanimate environment is a byway. Touching infected surfaces are little paths, but they don’t carry the big viral traffic,” he says.

Watkins agrees. “It might be possible to become infected after touching a surface that has the virus, then touching one's face,” he says. “That is why handwashing and avoiding touching one's face are important. However, this isn't the main way the virus is spread.”

Liar Liar

Yes this is the day the ability to lie with impunity of course comes to head.  First we have Trump claiming to take Hydroxychloroquine.   Right, if you believe that I want to remind you we are now just one heartbeat from Nancy Pelosi becoming President.

Next up, the CDC has inaccurate if not incomplete data on the Covid virus.  We here in New Jersey are well aware that the numbers have never added up and that this is one hell of a corrupt state so what else is new. Murphy repeats the lottery numbers daily that it is almost laughable as he is simply reading them.  As for the Doppio, I mean Cuomo and DiBlasio in New York they are full of shit as they compete for whose dick is bigger.  Cuomo now seems resigned to admit he knows shit and that it was all bullshit, more about hospitals and less about people (and that report confirms how bad they were pre-pandemic), so he just should phone it in at this point.  I now call this triad of assholes, the Three Stooges.

And more updates as the CDC changes their website daily to include that well maybe surfaces are not   the way a virus transmits Covid. Ya think!  It is when you touch something immediately after a infected person does and then touch your face.. think about those shared condiments and then you put your hand near your face as you eat that burger, that might be a way.  Yesterday I actually read if you are infected, shit in a toilet and flush it it will spew disease all over you.  Right okay. Good to know.  This bullshit is exhausting as we would all be dead now.

And then today I actually read something of import that did not shock me and that was that the infamous "Roe" in Roe v Wade before she died admitted she lied about her regrets and was paid by the right to life movement.  Again this crowd of nutfucks and the other guerrilla agents that have done their part to stifle women, gay and civil rights have never been ones to follow the course of conventional forums.   Watching Mrs. America demonstrates how insidious the religious right excuse their behavior as they pursue their own agenda.  Funny how that works that they are always the ones who are the most unethical.  Shocking! No, not really.

The woman behind ‘Roe vs. Wade’ didn’t change her mind on abortion. She was paid

By Meredith BlakeStaff Writer
May 19, 2020
Los Angeles Times

When Norma McCorvey, the anonymous plaintiff in the landmark Roe vs. Wade case, came out against abortion in 1995, it stunned the world and represented a huge symbolic victory for abortion opponents: “Jane Roe” had gone to the other side. For the remainder of her life, McCorvey worked to overturn the law that bore her name.

But it was all a lie, McCorvey says in a documentary filmed in the months before her death in 2017, claiming she only did it because she was paid by antiabortion groups including Operation Rescue.

“I was the big fish. I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money and they’d put me out in front of the cameras and tell me what to say. That’s what I’d say,” she says in “AKA Jane Roe,” which premieres Friday on FX. “It was all an act. I did it well too. I am a good actress.”

In what she describes as a “deathbed confession,” a visibly ailing McCorvey restates her support for reproductive rights in colorful terms: “If a young woman wants to have an abortion, that’s no skin off my ass. That’s why they call it choice.”

Arriving in an election year as the Supreme Court is considering a high-profile abortion case with the potential to undermine Roe vs. Wade and several states across the country have imposed so-called “heartbeat laws” effectively banning the procedure, “AKA Jane Roe” is likely to provoke strong emotions on both sides of this perennial front in the culture wars.

Director Nick Sweeney says his goal was not necessarily to stir controversy, but to create a fully realized portrait of a flawed, fascinating woman who changed the course of American history but felt she was used as a pawn by both sides in the debate.

“The focus of the film is Norma. That’s what I really want people to take away from the film — who is this enigmatic person at the center of this very divisive issue,” he says. “With an issue like this there can be a temptation for different players to reduce ‘Jane Roe’ to en emblem or a trophy, and behind that is a real person with a real story. Norma was incredibly complex.”

Sweeney started making the film in April 2016, frequently visiting McCorvey in Katy, Texas. At first, he says, she was reticent, “but when she realized when I was not involved in the abortion debate she was very happy to open up.” Over the course of the time they spent together, McCorvey recounted details of her difficult upbringing — marked by abuse, neglect and a stint in reform school — turbulent personal life, including a short-lived teenage marriage, and a decades-long relationship with girlfriend Connie Gonzalez.

“I thought she was extremely interesting and enigmatic. I liked that her life was full of these fascinating contradictions,” says Sweeney, who also interviewed figures on either side of the abortion issue who were close to McCorvey, including attorney Gloria Allred and Rob Schenck, an evangelical minister and former leader of Operation Rescue.

McCorvey comes across as funny, sharp and unfiltered, with a broad performative streak. She rattles off lines from “Macbeth” and jokes, “I’m a very glamorous person — I can’t help it, it’s a gift.”

The documentary includes scenes of McCorvey on election night 2016 — a few months before she died of heart failure at age 69 — expressing her support for Hillary Clinton. “I wish I knew how many abortions Donald Trump was responsible for,” McCorvey muses. “I’m sure he’s lost count, if he can count that high.”

“She had a kind of sly wit,” says Sweeney, recalling the many hours he spent with her in Katy, going on doughnut runs or sitting in a park, where she’d make him pick magnolia flowers.

But there is also great sadness, particularly surrounding her relationship with Gonzalez, which she renounced after her conversion in 1995.

The film explores one of the great ironies of McCorvey’s life story: Although she helped make abortion legal, McCorvey herself never had an abortion. She was pregnant with her third child when, in 1970, she signed an affidavit challenging laws in Texas which prohibited abortions except to save a mother’s life. As an impoverished, uneducated woman lacking the means to travel out of state or obtain an illegal procedure, she was an ideal plaintiff for the lawyers who tried the case, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee.

“I know how I felt when I found out that I was pregnant and I wasn’t going to let another woman feel that way — cheap, dirty and no good,” McCorvey says in the film. “Women make mistakes, and they make mistakes with men, and things happen. It’s just Mother Nature at work. You can’t stop it. You can’t explain it. It’s just something that happens.”

But it would take three years before the Supreme Court would render a verdict, by which time McCorvey had long since given birth to a girl who was given up for adoption. (Her second child had also been given up for adoption; her first child was raised by her mother.) McCorvey remembers learning of the decision in the newspaper and receiving a phone call from Weddington saying they’d won. “Why would I be excited? I had a baby, but I gave her away. It’s for all the women who come after me.”

“AKA Jane Roe” also shows how McCorvey was held at arm’s length by abortion rights proponents. After a decade of anonymity, McCorvey went public in the 1980s and began granting interviews, and was depicted in the Emmy-winning TV movie, “Roe vs. Wade,” starring Holly Hunter. But to the leaders of the abortion rights movement, the inconsistencies in her story — for a time McCorvey claimed she had gotten pregnant as the result of a rape, then said she had been lying — and lack of polish made her a less-than-ideal poster girl for the cause.

In 1995, she was working at a Dallas abortion clinic that was targeted for demonstrations by Operation Rescue, a militant organization known for extreme tactics such as blockading clinics (the group is now known as Operation Save America). She struck up an unlikely friendship with Flip Benham, an evangelical minister, who baptized her in a backyard pool, and for the next two decades of her life was a fixture at antiabortion protests and in documentaries. In 1998, she published a second memoir, “Won by Love,” detailing her change of heart on abortion. As Benham recalls with evident pride in “AKA Jane Roe,” McCorvey also took part in demonstrations where he burned the LGBT flag and the Quran.

Despite her visible role in the fight against abortion, McCorvey says she was a mercenary, not a true believer. And Schenck, who has also distanced himself from the antiabortion movement, at least particularly corroborates the allegations, saying that she was paid out of concern “that she would go back to the other side,” he says in the film. “There were times I wondered: Is she playing us? And what I didn’t have the guts to say was, because I know damn well we were playing her.”

Schenck expresses regret at targeting McCorvey, someone whose vulnerabilities could be easily exploited, he says. “What we did with Norma was highly unethical. The jig is up.”

Saturday, May 16, 2020

The House of Fashion

This morning I read about the retailers, J Crew a more mainstream source of clothing for the aspiring prepster and Neiman Marcus for the aspiring and/or wealthy customer whose Christmas catalogs are something to see as they include specialized vehicles, trips next to high fashion and chic bags.  Neiman's redefined luxury retail.  And their death is for now delayed as they file for Chapter 11 they owe much of their demise to of course the Vulture Capitalists who used debt to finance their own incomes and line their Brioni Suit pockets with outrages fees and interest the stores were forced to pay versus make investment in the actual retail outlets and build their e-commerce platform as they should to compete with the flowing river that is composed of cash, Amazon.  But even the allure of high fashion is now something Bezos wishes to come aboard that port as well as he moves in a new circle of high fashion friends.  Go figure we all like to look good, well unless your at home during a pandemic then the once chic athleisure wear is now replaced with pandemic chic sleep/loungewear.

I remember my first time going to Neiman's in Texas where they began and the awe of wonder and beauty that this store defined. I grew up in retail as my Mother began at a small company that was once called Nordstrom Best and it too evolved and may also find itself on the same train that Barney's, Sears, Penny's, Lord and Taylor, Henri Bendel,  and Macy's have already boarded and some have since departed to be distant memories on the trip to the retail dead zone.  There are a lot of retailers that I have memories of that were consolidated into other brands and some that just simply shut their doors to be vacant fronts of once thriving industry that ran from the high to the low everything in between.  They sold shoes, drugs, hardware, books and toys and all of that we can now buy on Amazon. Wow that is distressing if not again wrong on so many levels.   There is a Wiki page dedicated to the corpses of this industry and many I recall growing up with, going to, shopping or even working at and learning a trade and building my skills that eventually led me to being a Teacher.  I can tell you if you can sell shoes to women and men you can certainly learn to peddle knowledge to kids, the joke was I made more money doing that than I did as a Teacher.

Retail was unionized when I worked in that business and in turn Nordstrom was the first to offer profit and share which we have since seen as stock options in the tech sector creating the billionaire class that largely think they know everything about everything and then they don't.  I recall the dot com collapse, the 2008 one and now Pandemia which has exposed how fraught they truly are as they run on the fuel of bullshit and the backs of others in a way that retail did.  Using women, lowly educated and/or poorly trained people to sell, pimp or push a product that is marked up beyond value to give it a label of import, ironically made by lowly paid, often "slave" labor.  And that is a cycle that is glorified, glamourized and showcased in magazines, movies and tv.  Well it was as even that industry of  fashion has taken its hits to its bow and that ship is sinking as well.  But Captain Bezos is now hitting that port as well.  Well he did capsize the Project Runway monopoly with his ironically titled, In the Cut even taking its hosts with him; Don't Pirates always take some booty? But it was less about reality as that show was facing a crisis of its own, over their former Captain, Harvey Weinstein, who also was very involved with all the details of his business, even marrying a designer who in some odd perverse fashion of  dressed his victims, whoops I mean stars.  But, fashion  is always about stars and led by Anna Wintour she made sure who was in and who was not.  But even she too may be on a sinking ship.  Vogue may exist but in less glossy pages and fewer issues that women will use to idolize and demonize themselves over not having the latest, the it bag and the shoes that someone died for.  Literally.

And the rich will profit off the death of those victims of Covid. I have written often about the hypocrisy of Gates and his ilk and this is no different.  Zuckerberg is killing it to use a pun on Facebook as is Bezos and that Buffet is shedding stocks like a virus is another who while promising to give he used the pandemic to fire all the workers at his business, Cort Furniture, and hire temporary workers stopping an attempt to unionize the shops.  How convenient.  Some things just work out.  And for now there are attempts to be ethical and step up to protect workers,  but I don't expect it to last as that affects the bottom line. Think of it like a disease, the Midas Touch in reverse, they kill everything they touch.

Billionaires are playing savior now. But they broke the economy to begin with.
Let’s not get too excited about rich people’s philanthropy during coronavirus.

By Tara Isabella Burton|The Washington Post|May 15, 2020
         Tara Isabella Burton is a Religion News Service columnist. She is the author of “Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World” 

As the coronavirus pandemic rages across the United States, the nation’s titans of industry have begun to style themselves as heroes by pledging millions of dollars to health care. Twitter and Square chief executive Jack Dorsey offered $1 billion — just under a third of his wealth — to fight the virus. Oprah Winfrey has donated $10 million. Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt have teamed up to fund the Pandemic Action Network, which seeks to influence world governments to increase their own spending on global health initiatives such as the World Health Organization.

It is tempting to laud these figures as self-made men and women paying back the spoils of their success to the rest of us. But the United States relies on, and worships, individual billionaires and their charitable efforts precisely because the country is so broken. The cultural and economic systems that made these people successful exist at the expense of the collective good. The quintessential American myth of the clever bootstrapper lionizes someone who triumphs despite the derelictions of government, infrastructure and health care that have made this pandemic so dire. Our very conception of success — resting on veneration of inimitable heroic individuals — has worsened the country’s failures.

Americans have, historically, been eager to view themselves as a nation of individuals, rather than a collective. Our early philosophers — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau — preached a gospel of self-reliance. “Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist,” Emerson wrote in 1841. Nineteenth-century visitors to the country, such as the French statesman Alexis de Tocqueville, were struck by both American optimism and American obsession with individual liberties. “Americans believe their freedom to be the best instrument and surest safeguard of their welfare,” Tocqueville wrote in 1835, “. . . to secure for themselves a government which will allow them to acquire the things they covet and which will not debar them from the peaceful enjoyment of those possessions.”

So, too, today. The rhetorical specter of “socialism” — with its insidious hints of “death panels” and shadow governments — consistently casts a pall over attempts to reform health care, expand the social safety net and enact legal protections for gig workers (now a third of the nation’s workforce) who are disproportionately at risk in a pandemic economy.

The victory of President Trump’s identitarian populism is the clearest example that voters reject the concept of a shared common life. And it was bankrolled by such hedge fund donors as PayPal founder Peter Thiel and Thomas Peterffy, the founder and chief executive of Interactive Brokers Group, who recently told the New Yorker that his support of Trump was because “the U.S. will get to socialism” through “increasing government regulation.”

Yet our current suspicion of the institutions that might bind us together is unprecedented, even by American standards. A 2019 study by the Pew Research Center revealed that almost three-quarters of Americans younger than 30 say that people generally “just look out for themselves.” Young adults are significantly more likely than older Americans to express mistrust in the military, religious leaders or police. The institutions and organizations that have shaped our sense of the common good, and our role within it, seem to have conclusively failed. The Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus threat could easily justify anyone’s lack of faith in the federal government.

At the same time, the Bill Gateses, Jack Dorseys and Peter Thiels of the world — seemingly “self-made” men, whose money and resources are increasingly forming the spine of the nation’s coronavirus response — represent a new and uniquely American vision of moral and political influence. The origin stories of these founder-heroes tend to emphasize their sui generis qualities that owe nothing to our shared institutions (governmental, ecclesiastical and educational). Many were college dropouts; Thiel, who holds two degrees from Stanford, created an eponymous fellowship that pays promising young entrepreneurs to leave college to code.

The techno-utopian libertarians of Silicon Valley and the hedge fund billionaires of Greenwich, Conn., share a conviction in the power of individual human freedom and the danger of any collective (or governmental) institution that might stymie unfettered human autonomy. Google’s Larry Page has gone on record envisioning a global free zone — one he likens to Nevada’s Burning Man festival — a “safe place” for technological experimentation not subject to any laws or safety regulations. Former Sears chief executive Eddie Lampert, now among the highest-paid hedge fund managers in the country, famously restructured the company in alignment with the economic principles of libertarian novelist Ayn Rand: The result was Sears filing for bankruptcy. The uber-rich, explicitly or implicitly, value the narrative of the uber-mensch. In this myth, wealth inequality is justified as the natural, material expression of the fundamental inequality of humanity.

These billionaires, whatever the source of their wealth, tend to frame their success as something they have earned on their own, whether through business savvy, technological creativity or old-fashioned American gumption. They (and we) decry American institutions — government, universities, health care, regulatory bodies — as fundamentally static and bureaucratic, holding back promising people from their destiny of self-making. As Thiel put it to economist Tyler Cowen in a 2015 podcast interview, denying that the United States is a democracy or a republic: “We are actually a state that’s dominated by these very unelected, technocratic agencies [that are] . . . deeply sclerotic, deeply nonfunctioning.” Contemporary billionaires see our civil institutions as mere bureaucracy.

Meanwhile, about 1 in 6 American children grows up in poverty. Our wealthiest school districts outspend their poorer counterparts by as much as 3 to 1. Adults living under the poverty line are five times as likely to say they are in “poor” or “fair” health as those making quadruple that much. Social services across the country are chronically underfunded. Our cultural obsession with freedom leaves behind our most vulnerable.

The coronavirus made clear that the rhetoric of human liberty is illusory, and with it the false narrative that individuals can make themselves in isolation. In a pandemic, no man is an island. Rather, we are, as Dostoevsky’s Father Zosima says in “The Brothers Karamazov,” all responsible to one another for everything. Our bodies, our labor, our social ties to one another are all interdependent. And we can address this pandemic only by recourse to a common life and common identity.

It is perhaps laudable that many of the victors of capitalism’s spoils want to contribute to the common project of fighting the pandemic. But we should not forget that so many of the factors that have rendered the coronavirus particularly deadly in the United States — income inequality, the lack of a social safety net, the precarious standing of newly-essential gig workers, the obsession with freedom from government tyranny and the lack of a coherent civic identity — are direct products of the way we valorize self-making.

The same faith in atomized consumerism that drives people to make billions of dollars in profit also positions them to donate some of that profit now. Our faith in capitalistic individualism has allowed corporations to both circumvent and co-opt the institutions of our shared civic life. It has weakened the foundations of our political coexistence. What capitalism’s victors are contributing to the coronavirus effort now should not be celebrated as altruistic charity but rather evidence of the broken system we have helped them build.