Tuesday, April 28, 2020

So we took...a pause.

This is a political post. 

If you're like me, you've been home taking in the Cheato Chronicles, um sorry, the daily Corona virus briefings, watching old movies, semi-exercising, reading, pretend writing (maybe that's just me), cleaning up your house (or maybe that's just you), Facetime drinking, gaming and trading memes with friends. I personally try to keep the news to a minimum, lest I run my blood pressure up watching supposedly grown people find every excuse not to listen to the people who know things. No Karen, the failed casino operator's medical opinion is NOT on par with the person who has an actual medical degree. And as of late, I've been parsing through the spirited discourse about the growing desperate need to restart the economy and to just get things back to normal.
Proper Social Distancing...
Just so you're aware, I'm of the opinion that this "back to normal" at this point is a really bad idea. Aside from the lessons of history and it being far too soon considering the still rising rate of infection that a lot of close contact businesses like barbers and gyms are being allowed to restart is highly suspect. The plain simple truth is that we don't have anywhere near enough testing to actually be able to determine who has the virus and who doesn't. This despite the promise of our duly elected officials that everyone would be tested. People seem to forget the two week lag and that it hasn't even hit the less populated states hard yet. Even after all that, there is one other glaring fact nobody in power wants to admit: Normal doesn't work. At least not anymore.

This desire to return to the old normal is however, understandable.

Most people like things they're familiar with. A lot of people who want the old normal to come back is because they desperately need a haircut, or just want to go out to eat again, or just want to spend time AWAY from their family. Their reasoning is just that simple and I can't really blame them. I can't tell you how eagerly I await the phrase "Can I start you guys off with some drinks and appetizers?" I might make them say it four or five times. *SIGH* But the insistent people, particularly those with a few coins, want the old normal back because with the old normal they know what the rules are and, more importantly, how to game those same rules and make the system work for them. For example, the SUV craze about a decade ago?  This was because as a small business one could write off an SUV as a business expense up to a certain amount, so lot of  "small businesses" were started in suburbia. They had one business act - buying an SUV.  The more you know.

No, a new more equitable system would be a radical shift too far, like taking away the loaded dice those people have been playing with all this time. All this talk about basic income or raising wages, equal treatment and universal healthcare is scaring them. They prefer the Animal Farm sentiment that "some are more equal than others." and an non-existent version of capitalism that is fair but keeps the spirit hungry. It let's them sleep on $15,000 Swedish beds at night. And those people are fully cognizant that the longer it takes to get back to "normal" the less likely it will be the normal they are familiar with.   

But for a lot of people the old normal was pretty bad. It involves working too hard for too little money. It involves an institutional lack of opportunity depending on factors outside of our own control, like race or sexual orientation. It involves sending kids to schools strapped for cash because a voucher system is letting rich parents drain the system dry. It involves health insurance tied to their employment, incidentally of which a lot of people no longer have. It involves a slow erosion of rights that protect masses while trumpeting it's championing of a small set of rights that aren't evenly applied. And it's getting worse.

And because of shenanigans, the people in charge are not listening to the people who actually know things so the realization that we technically don't even know everything about the disease or how it's spread doesn't appear to be a reality for a large number of our country's decision makers. That the governor of a state in the United States said that he didn't realize that the virus was transmissible by people with no symptoms a solid month after it became common knowledge is just plain embarrassing. And more alarming news comes forth daily. There is now evidence that it causes strokes and heart attacks in people under 30. Even as we rush to open the doors of business across the nation the numbers of people dying are still rising, and the much hoped for herd immunity may not occur as in China people are becoming re-infected. This rush to get back to "normal" and avoid those terrible 100k, 500K and 1M milestones hinge on too many things going right when our obsession with short term gains and our rights trumping the public good have already shown that we as a group are intentionally going to do things wrong. Because nobody tells us what to do. (For the religiously oriented, this would be the part where 'pride goeth before a fall.') 

To be clear, the cure is NOT worse the disease.

It may feel like it to some, but here it is - the dreaded cure is sheltering in place and limiting exposure while severely limiting economic activity to the essentials. The disease is thousands and thousands more dead people. One is a temporarily financially inconvenient period that can be mitigated for the citizens of this country and is already going to happen based upon where we are now. The other is permanent.

The cure however would demonstrate that the system as we know it, is what it is -- a creation that can be changed.

And that is beyond dangerous to the wrong people.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Bar Chatter

Bar Chatter #37
When it's not enough to make a post, but deserves to go out to the world... it's just Bar Chatter. 

- I have two #35s, so this must be #37. I think - 

Jerry Jones is going to have to up his game. Yacht, schmat, the guys out west aren't playing. I was watching the 2020 NFL draft and this image came up.

This was the draft room, often referred in NFL parlance as the WAR ROOM, of the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, Kliff Kingsbury. Seriously. He was working the first round draft looking like he'd just stepped out of a hedge fund annual report.

This draft, conducted from the homes of the NFL coaches and GMs allowed us to see a unique part of their lives. Many of them have houses that might be up the street from yours. They looked so ordinary. Even Jerry Jones's setup appeared to be just a white couch, although I assumed the wall sized monitors were just out of shot. But this? This right here?

Ballin. Straight ballin.