My boss told me this week I’ll be working at least 2 more weeks. Apparently most people quit or cut back to half time after the job stopped offering OT, and started collecting the enhanced covid 19 Unemployment Ins benefits. I get it, you do what makes you the most money.
Me? I’m just going to do the job till they don’t need me anymore because I like it and my boss gave me a job when I needed one. I keep in mind the history of our friendship. And of course, Karma. I will not repay kindness when I was in need with a slap in the face when he is in need.
Today I’m off though. It’s going to be the hottest day of the year so far. And I hate the heat. Which, probably sounds a bit crackers as right now I’m drinking Nature’s Guru Cardamon Chai tea, baking a chocolate cake (Betty Crocker, not scratch) in a toaster over (don’t ask), while binge watching Psych (great cast, great writing, and it makes me feel better to see my favorite towns, Santa Barbara and Vancouver).
Later I’ll clean the house, do a lot of laundry and make more face masks. Yep, living the life in lockdown.
After opening the golf courses for rich people on Monday, the county supervisors here decided to open the beaches for walking and swimming, but not sitting and sunning, today. This is despite the fact the covid cases and deaths in the county have been going up not down, and despite the fact the next county over has a huge outbreak (17K known infected), a lot of deaths (800), and all of their beaches are closed.
Um…..can you say uptick?
My expectation is we will see a big rise in covid cases next week, and that’s going to be down to people who met up for Easter. Then in two weeks we’ll see another huge rise, and that’s going to be down to public beaches and golf courses (and maybe a little Orthodox Easter gathering).
Needless to say, I’m going to continue to stay at home, going a bit Psych-o working, cleaning, baking and mask making.
Ok so, on to other things. In my family you learn the Bible as a form of intellectual development. If you’ve ever seen Tibetan monks have a knowledge throwdown, it’s a lot like that. It’s all friendly and aimed toward building up your own views.
You just have to read the text, figure it out and then try to defend your thinking. You learn a lot trying to defend your views, like sometimes, you were wrong. As Neil De Grasse Tyson says, it’s about knowing enough about a subject to think your right but not enough about the subject to to know your wrong. Debate helps you realise where your wrong.
And that’s how I come to today’s ramble. All that reading and all those debates stick with you. For people who live in between the lines where there’s lots of obscurity, you get really familiar with small stories that other’s pass over because there’s points to be made with those.
One of those stories is particularly apt now. King Dave & the Census. It can be found in the very last chapter of 2 Samuel (2 Sam 24). When pundits go on and on about how Covid 19 is like a never before event, and the POTUS’s behavior is a never before event, I’m thinking… what world do you live in?
David decided he needed a census to figure out how many warriors he had. Because not everyone liked him or his country. I mean, makes sense right? He was warned not to do, repeatedly. But he opted to do it anyway. The census workers went out and over about 9 months — during which Dave could have stopped at any time — they did the census.
In the end, Dave had his numbers, 1.3 million able bodied warriors. I’m going to pause on the fact apparently only able bodied warriors were counted. All the women and children, and I’m guessing hired servants and owned slaves, didn’t count, on his census. So I guess we’ve made some improvements there.
The sticking point was, however, a nation isn’t as strong as its number of warriors. It’s as strong as its faith in the values it holds dear. In this story, the value was God is all powerful. If you are counting the men, you’re putting your faith in the strength of your men.
Doing a census was an act of open in your face rebellion against God. And David knew this. It’s in the Law and his trusted general Joab told him to his face, repeatedly, that what he was doing was wrong. But David didn’t care, about God or good advice. And since Dave was the king, the pro-Dave govt felt they had to do what he said.
After the data came back, Gad, the prophet arrived at the palace. Gad told Dave: “You really blew it. And now God is going to give you 3 choices. There can be 3 years of famine, you can spend 3 months on the run from your enemies, or there can be 3 days of plague.”
Now a good leader would spare the innocent land and wildlife (ie, the world/economy), and the innocent people he was shepherd of. He’d take that option that impacted only him. Because he caused the problem. He’d choose to be on the run, for 3 months. He wouldn’t die or lose his throne, it’d just be bad for 3 months.
Option 2 is what a good king would choose. But Dave was the worst leader imaginable.He responded, “Better to fall into the hands of the Lord than my enemies.” Sycophantic little turd that he was, he decided to save his own skin and blame the outcome of choice of famine (which affected everything in the world) or plague (which affected just people) on God.
Apparently, Dave conveniently forgot that the Lord had watched over him, for years, while he was on the run from his enemies. Or maybe, really, he was just a cowardly piece of horse pucky.
What Dave didn’t do was say to the prophet, “Wow, I screwed up. Please, go to God for me and ask him to please, don’t kill the land or the people, instead kill me, and my family, wipe all of us off the face of the earth, everyone related to me. Then choose a better leader.”
A good leader, would have done that. But this wasn’t a good leader. So plague was unleashed and 70K people died. It doesn’t say in the text, but I’m thinking it was probably all the counted men. I hope so anyway.
When the Angel of Death started heading toward Jerusalem, toward David and his family, he suddenly realised how bad he screwed up. And being the toewad he was, at that point, he did say, “Kill me and my family, but spare the country.” And the Angel of death stopped at a farmer’s threshing floor. And an Altar was built on the threshing floor. And David stayed on the throne.
That’s the story. But let’s be honest. He was a crap leader and a crap person and history is written by those who sit on the throne. And seriously, even if you read the writings left behind by the “pro-Dave” camp, you realise that even they couldn’t stand him and overlook all the crimes he committed or how bad a king and terrible a person he really was.
So, anything new in the insanity of our POTUS in the face of plague? Nope. People keep saying this situation is extraordinary. Is it? Thousands of years later, during a census year, with a raging plague, we’re still dealing with the problem of government that’s in the hands of a single man who is making self-interested choices — even if it means killing people or asking them to kill themselves, his own people, in large numbers, so he can stay in power. Not new. Ever thus.
What’s new is people live in a democracy now and have laws that are supposed to apply to all people, including those in power. Never Thus. What’s new is people now have a choice to remove a bad leader, and aren’t actively trying to. Never thus. I think there something about stress that interferes with memory, or logic. That’s my take on it. People just aren’t thinking straight.
Here’s what I mean by that.
Does anyone remember that the SIPs (the shelter in place orders) were just supposed to be a stopgap measure? That we were supposed to be doing SIP while TIC (Test, Isolate, Contact trace) was going on? That TIC was what was supposed to get us out of our houses and back at work or school or whatever?
SIP was never the strategy to stop the virus. It was always the strategy to make sure we didn’t overwhelm our health care resources and personnel. SIP has nothing to do with stopping the spread. I can’t stress that enough. SIP is a resource conservation strategy. That’s it.
SIP is the “famine” strategy. It’s spreading out the sickness, but the number of sickened, was always going to be about the same. It was just going to be spread out so as many people as possible could be treated with every resource and maybe more people could be saved as a result. Maybe.
TIC is what stops the virus. TIC happens during a SIP to end the threat. Wuhan was in SIP for 78 days, while extensive TIC was happening. South Korea went full on TIC immediately, so they never had to really have massive deaths or long periods to SIP it up. The US could have done TIC off the bat, but it didn’t. Because of crap leadership.
In California we’ve been in SIP mode for 30 days. But in that time TIC hasn’t been happening. And now, we’re lightening up on the SIP, without ever doing the needful TIC. California is just starting TIC now, as the SIP is lifting. As if SIP alone was supposed to make everything alright. As if we wait long enough Covid 19 will disappear.
I invite you to review the history of Ebola. Things don’t go away. It takes a lot of effort to get a plague under control. And in the US, it’s like pulling teeth just to get people to take SIP seriously. We’ve just gotten to face masks, as we lift the orders on public beaches?
Have you seen pictures of a farm where there’s Hoof in Mouth virus? Farmers step in a pan of bleach before leaving the farm. Just like Ebola workers do. Have you seen anyone spraying your streets with disinfectant? The way they’ve been doing in Asia since the start.
You really think, as you walk along the streets people have coughed on and spit on and … maybe other things if you’ve got a lot of homelessness in your area, that you can just walk your shoes into your home and onto your carpet, where you children play and it’s all fine? Good luck with that.
More things you probably didn’t think about–
We have loads of Tech companies here. And have you noticed, not one application exists to tell you when you’re closer than 6′ to someone else and ring an alarm?
If you’ve got a joint bank account and your SO dies, you’ve got access to only half your assets, till someday….when you can get a death certificate or get probate or finalize the will. With many businesses and government offices closed, good luck with that. Please, open a savings account with $5 in it and keep it open. If your SO goes into hospital, transfer all your assets into your account to keep yourself going till the situation resolves.
Remember Dr Rick Bright, of BARDA. Trust me when I say, review the evidence. His firing wasn’t about the HCQ being a dud drug for Covid. He was let go when the office was suddenly granted a big budget by the CARES Act. You can’t bilk that budget with an honest guy at the top who just wants to save people.
Remember Earth Day. Two days back? You know what I didn’t hear anyone talk about? The massive amounts of plastic PPE gloves, masks, gowns, etc, that’s going into dumps that will never degrade.
Why didn’t we talk about it? Because it’s always all about the people. People only think about people. But people are the one thing the planet doesn’t need. The planet would be fine, probably better off, without people. But people can’t live without the planet.
Remember all those stacks of bodies behind nursing homes. The reason they don’t report those deaths is because you can’t go on billing LTC and Medicare for dead people. So the longer they wait to report the deaths, the more money they get.
Nursing homes are a business. Not a lot of people are going to come in and fill those empty beds in covid 19 infested care homes. So…. yeah, they cold storage the bodies and fiddle the paperwork to keep profits up.
Stop ratcheting up your own fears. Stop saying “Stay safe” when you part from someone. Say “Be well.” Or “see you later.” Or “vaya con dios, my darling.” Or “I love you.” Or “call me.” Or “let’s do lunch soon.” But let’s move away from the really weird, constant language of panic and doom. Make being safe fun, like the SCE commercial.
We need to pull up out of the death spiral thinking induced by constant fear, stress or news induced pundit panic. That is not how you get to a place where you can make considered, fact based decisions, about anything. You can’t save your life or others if you’re white knuckling the wheel with your eyes closed around a hairpin turn.
You can change your govt. You can manage your Covid risks. You can save the planet. You can come out of this better, stronger, safer than before. You might be a little different, but you were always going to grow and change. And so too, your world. Open your eyes. Take your foot off the gas. And gently turn the wheel while you’re in full control. You can bend that curve.
Shout out to Timothy Omundson!