Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Iowa’ Category

COVID-19 KILLED MORE PEOPLE YESTERDAY THAN DIED ON 9/11, D-DAY, OR AT PEARL HARBOR

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Yesterday more Americans died of Covid-19 than died on 9/11, D-Day, or at Pearl Harbor. And it’s just going to keep getting worse for months. It’s a fucking nightmare, I sometimes want to go scream in the streets. Because THIS DIDN’T NEED TO HAPPEN. If Trump, Rush, and the like had done what pretty much every other leader on the planet did in March: Shut the country down, national mask mandate, national test/trace/quarantine program … hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS HAVE DIED NEEDLESSLY.

This isn’t politics, there are no partisan issues here, no one’s rights or freedoms were threatened, it’s a PANDEMIC. A brand new highly contagious disease is sweeping the world, one that really early on we knew wasn’t no goddamn flu. Reality changed, and Trump and his ilk have so retreated into a world where everything is partisan politics, most of them still can’t see that Covid-19 is real. In my state, our governor, Covid Kimmy, did almost nothing. The bill is coming due: Iowa Is What Happens When Government Does Nothing.

Americans spent TRILLIONS of dollars after 9/11, and wildly expanded the government to prevent a repeat, we literally changed our very lives. And now something a hundred times worse is happening, and Trump and most of the GOP leadership are MIA when it comes to fighting it. WHY AREN’T PEOPLE SCREAMING FOR ACTION? Biden is at least promising to take action when he gets into the Oval Office.

Which office Trump has yet to admit won’t be his much longer. His legal options at overturning the 2020 election, slim to none at best, have all failed. Now his followers are calling for suspending the Constitution, citing Lincoln’s admittedly regrettable seizure of unconstitutional power after the South seceded: Trump backers, including Flynn, edge toward a call to ‘suspend’ Constitution to head off Biden taking office. Sigh. It’s kinda scary, they are claiming some worldwide leftist communist conspiracy cheated on Biden’s behalf, and in reality Trump was reelected. This is, um, nonsense? And Lincoln did what he did because the South seceded, not because he lost an election.

So the next few months are going to be horrible. One out of every 1000 Americans is already dead of Covid-19, it’s easily the third or fourth mass death event in US history, AND THE WORST IS YET TO COME! The American end times are here gentle reader, Covid-19 has us surrounded at Stalingrad, and our leaders still don’t see we’re at war. We’re being slaughtered.

We’ll see what happens the next few months. What a mess. What do you get in the greatest Empire the world has ever known, when you cross an out of control pandemic with a delusional lame duck president? Stay tuned. Stay safe and sane everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

Written by unitedcats

December 3, 2020 at 8:35 pm

2020 ELECTION TRUTHERS

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I spent some time today in an online forum where there’s still left/right political discussion. It was fascinating, enlightening, and horrifying. People convinced the election was stolen from Trump were in major evidence. What truly struck home was their parallels to 9//11 Truthers. Does the gentle reader remember them? The people who claim the Twin Towers were brought down by controlled demolition? They’re still around, but in the aughts, boy, endless presence. And there was no way to sway their belief, it’s when I realized how powerful conspiracy ideation really is. And how self reinforcing it is, some of the people I saw today were intelligent educated people.

Motivated reasoning and cherry picking on steroids. They start with a conclusion: The Towers couldn’t have been knocked down by airliners/Trump couldn’t have lost the election. And then they search for ‘evidence’ that supports their conclusion. And in both cases there was a vast trove of material to sift through to cherry pick that which ‘supports’ their theory. Even more so in Trump’s case where his dozens of lawsuits and other efforts to prove a massive fraud occurred have generated vast amounts of, well, nothing that actually counts as evidence in a court of law. It doesn’t matter how many excitable people saw something they didn’t understand, actual evidence is needed to prove fraud. This kind of ‘logic’ will find ‘evidence’ that supports any theory.

There won’t be any real evidence found of course, because the initial “The election was stolen!” premise fails any number of questions. First of all, is there anything funny about the election? Why yes, yes there was. Trump did better than most pollsters predicted he would. That’s a failure of polling, which happened last election as well. The majority of Americans are slightly left of center, that’s why Obama got elected twice and a whole lot of other things like weekends and sick leave for God’s sake. There was nothing surprising about Trump losing the election, I voted for the first time in decades, so I know millions of others followed suit. Not because we hate Trump, hell, I never met the man, but because he’s been a divisive and incompetant president.

And the premise falls apart on other lines of inquiry too. Who masterminded this plot? Trump is claiming there was some sort of coordinated super secret plot to change key votes in numerous states? And why, Trump was losing in the polls? None of it matters though. Unlike a 9/11 Truther, I can imagine evidence that would change my mind. I watch a wide array of web sites, if actual Watergate quality evidence of some great Hillary coordinated plot to steal the election for Biden comes out, it would get out there.

So I think Election Trutherism is here to stay. I think the related sciences, sociology and psychology come to mind, are having a field day. Huge numbers of people are going to continue to think that Biden stole the election the rest of their lives. A grand case of mass conspiracy ideation. How it is going to play out in the real world, damned if I know. The 9/11 Truthers faded into the background eventually. Here’s hoping.

Gonna be awhile before this all plays out. Covid-19 is continuing to rampage. At this rate over half a million dead is pretty much a certainty. If key people die, who knows. Trump’s attempts to change reality by magic have been thwarted so far by reality, turns out The Castle is not so easy to storm. Still, Trump has created a movement who will be claiming he won the election until they die. That’s something, isn’t it?

November is almost over and December is upon us. A green Thanksgiving here in Northern Iowa. We had some snow in October but long gone now, the lake so low a beach one can only walk on once a decade or so has been revealed. I’ll try to get a good pic, a ghost beach? I wonder if there is an actual word that means intermittent beach? Drought beach? Some native languages must have one for sure. Cold and windy, but no snow. Green Christmases are not unknown here. Oh, the town is holding a town wide Christmas light contest. I turned off my bedroom light last night, and thought a 747 was about to hit the house. I guess my neighbor has decided to participate.

Stay safe and sane everyone, have a great week. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Twin Towers during the crime. I found it on Wikipedia so claiming it as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

November 29, 2020 at 8:48 pm

NOT BORED YET

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OK, looking like Trump’s coup attempt, or whatever one wants to call his attempt to deny he lost the election and go on to a second term … is pretty much over. Looking like we’ve hit the Watergate phase here. Trump will be shuffled off the stage like Nixon, pardoning people left and right. Ho hum. Or ho hum to me, I’ve certainly had enough of the man. Unless there is some new great perfidy, I’m gonna start phasing out my Trump coverage. The Trump era is fading.

A shame really. He had half the country in his thrall. And then with the arrival of Covid-19, he was handed an opportunity few leaders ever face. A horrifying attack on America, an attack all Americans would rise to resist. The likes of Pearl Harbor or 9/11. That’s what Covid-19 was, an enemy that wanted to kill millions of Americans. An attack that was utterly apolitical, it transcended politics. If Trump in March had donned a mask and led a science based response to Covid-19, the GOP and his base would have followed. And far far fewer Americans would be dead, and Trump would have been triumphantly reelected.

Yeah, didn’t happen. This goes into it: The Rise (and Fall?) of Trump’s Viral Death Cult. Oh well, we’ll see what happens next. The Covid-19 death toll will hit at least 500,000 before it’s under control late next year. If all goes well. Biden will try to reestablish the pre-Trump international order. He may or may not succeed. Covid-19 and Trump have changed everything. That was Trump’s, and by extension his followers, great failing. They didn’t understand that Covid-19 was real, not some libtard plot. In the weird alternate universe the GOP has been building since the McCarthy era, everything by the opposition is some subversive commie plot to destroy America.

Great strategy politically, always ends badly when it collides with reality. And here we are, the economy trashed, the pandemic out of control, the rich looting like there’s no tomorrow. We’ll see how it falls out, but still going with “This isn’t going to end well.” I suppose that applies to everything if one steps back far enough.

So this was the first day in months where I felt physically OK and not more than usual worried about imminent death. IE gee, I can get myself a “I beat cancer” T-shirt. Yeah, no. Looking like a mild winter here in Northern Iowa. Hoping it extends to other realms. My dreams have been freaking intense lately, like a second life. Stay safe and sane everyone. Comments, questions, suggestions, etc. appreciated.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Nixon’s farewell address to the White House staff. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

November 25, 2020 at 8:37 pm

THE TRUMP TRAIN WRECK CONTINUES, RUSH LIMBAUGH IS DYING, AND A 22ND CENTURY GLOBAL CATASTROPHE IS AVERTED

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The above made me laugh, getting harder to do these days as the train wreck that is US election 2020 rolls merrily along. Trump was a big proponent of birtherism, the idea that Obama was born in Kenya, and thus wasn’t eligible to be the POTUS. A theory that never had a single shred of evidence in support of it, but nonetheless was (and likely still is) believed by millions of people. America in the 20th century, there’s zero evidence for it, but I think it should be true, so I believe it. And Trump is the ultimate embodiment of that philosophy of life.

People have always believed in nonsense, it’s just sad so much of it has gone mainstream in America the past few decades. Now we’re at a point where the POTUS doesn’t seem to live in the real world anymore. Birtherism seems quaint in comparison to some of the stuff popping up these days. This week’s Skeptoid had a good article: How to Extract Adrenochrome from Children. Basically, and it’s all wrapped up with QAnon now, there’s this idea that the world’s elite are secretly kidnapping children and torturing/killing them to produce adrenochrome in order to use it as a powerful hallucinogen or as some sort of fountain of youth drug.

Sounds crazy, right? The thing that is almost unbearably stupid about this “theory” is that adrenochrome isn’t a controlled substance, and is cheap and easy to acquire. It’s not some sort of fountain of youth drug, and the idea that it’s a hallucinogen was made up by Hunter S Thompson for a work of fiction: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Basically the adrenochrome theory is a modern incarnation of blood libel, the idea that Jews secretly kill Christian children to use their blood for ritual purposes. In other words, the Middle Ages never ended, we just have cooler stuff now.

Speaking of train wrecks, Trump’s campaign is seen as going increasingly off the rails. Several interesting links. First of all, his campaign spending apparently has been shockingly inept, pissing away huge sums of money on questionable things. Or even just basically being little better than embezzlement. The saddest and funniest thing is that they ran Trump TV commercials in Washington, where Trump has zero chance of winning, just because Trump likes to see himself on TV. Yeah, that’s money well spent. Trump’s campaign has burned up money like ’10 monkeys with flamethrowers’: GOP strategist.

The last debate is in two days. Apparently the moderator will be able to shut off the microphone to avoid a repeat of the first “debate,” which largely consisted of old men yelling at and interrupting each other. Saw this headline about Trump’s latest antics: Trump looking like a trapped animal trying to gnaw off its own leg as his 2020 bid flounders: reporter. It made me laugh, here’s the original article without the hype: The Donald Trump Show Must Go On

The madness continues on the campaign trail. I thought it was an interesting read. Lastly, a little gem from the New York Times. Trump Is Giving Up. Against both the coronavirus and Joe Biden, the president’s strategy increasingly accepts defeat. Fun times.

Rush “It’s only a cold folks!” Limbaugh has stage 4 lung cancer: Rush Limbaugh says his lung cancer is terminal. Well, no one lives forever. I won’t mourn his passing. He devoted his life to encouraging conservatives to hate and misunderstand liberals. He was one of the founders and purveyors of the toxic partisanship that is now the heart and soul of Trump’s America.  The man who made childish name-calling a hallowed principle of the right. And Mr Limbaugh is one of the biggest drivers of Covid-19 misinformation, the blood of thousands of dead Americans is on his hands. You could have been a force for good Rush, you chose hate until the end. Jesus wept.

Not a whole lot of good news, as one might expect living in a country where a pandemic is essentially raging out of control. Best guess now is that Covid-19 has directly and indirectly killed about 300,000 Americans. Likely to hit 400,000 by year’s end. So a city the size of St. Louis has died, a city the size of Minneapolis by year’s end. The coronavirus pandemic has caused nearly 300,000 more deaths than expected in a typical year.

Fortunately, while it doesn’t help with the Covid-19 situation, NASA was able to make a great start at averting a potential giant asteroid strike in the 22nd century. How did they do that? A probe, OSIRIS-REx, made a controlled short touchdown on Asteroid Bennu and retrieved a sample. Which it will fly back to Earth in 2023. Bennu is about a third of a mile wide, and has a non-trivial chance of striking Earth in the 22nd century. It would be the equivalent of a good size nuclear bomb, dozens of times bigger than the Hiroshima bomb.

So wait, how does getting a sample of Bennu help prevent a collision? Basically, the more we know about it, the better we can predict its orbit and tell how much danger we are really in. And by the same token, the more we know about it, the more we can plan how to move it if it does need to be nudged away. And when it comes to preventing asteroid and comet strikes, the more lead time the better, several decades at minimum. So good going NASA.

Looks like winter has started here in Northern Iowa. Cold and rainy with freezing nights. Sometimes we get Indian Summer weather into November, maybe not this year. Well, if there was a year for an early cold nasty winter, it’s 2020. Bring it on. I did manage to make one last metal detector find, and a nice one it is. When I can get a good picture, I’ll post about it.

Stay safe everyone, comments, questions, shares, likes, appreciated. Patrons too. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image. Used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 20, 2020 at 6:31 pm

TRUMP, BABYLON BEE, SATIRE, AND OTHER ONGOING 2020 CRAZINESS

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In the “Well, this is new from a POTUS” file:   Trump retweets satirical news story about Joe Biden and Twitter. Apparently not realizing it was satire.  On the one hand, whatevs, most people have fallen for a satirical article once or twice. Sometimes major publications fall for a story. And Babylon Bee is a right wing site more or less. Still, embarrassing. Sorry confused future readers and foreigners, our president Trump sometimes has the self control and wisdom of a spoilt 13 year old.

So this, this article got me thinking: Covid: One-way ‘travel bubble’ opens between Australia and NZ. Nice, some air travel is opening up again. I have a few friends that have made flights. Still, the point to be made, the world’s airline needs are a fraction of what they were pre-covid, and there’s little chance that will change for years. It’s actually a good thing, the world’s airline industry was artificially bloated and subsidized. IE the world’s airline industry shrinking  is bad in the short term, people will lose jobs; but it’s great in the long term.

Gonna be a lot of stuff like that coming up. A friend sent me a magazine: ‘New York,’ November 2019. The last month of the pre-Covid era. Its title: “The Weirdness is Coming.” I’ll let the gentle reader track the magazine down if so inclined, not online that I could find. It’s futurism, IE a whole collection of ideas about what changes are going to happen over the coming decades. Interesting stuff, there’s a lot of wild technologies coming on line. And humans speculating about such is a new thing. Times do change.

Possibly the most interesting thing about the magazine, maybe one out of four items in it … oops, no longer applies. And no longer applies, or has been superseded … because of Covid-19. Something I’m still trying to grok, living in a sheltered corner of rural Iowa myself. It’s especially weird in addition because I live in America, where the ruling party has decided to just more or less ignore Covid-19, and huge numbers of citizens are pretending it will all go away soon. Oh dear.

Times do change. Was in the park today looking at the kid play area. Plastic fantastic like nothing I had as a kid. We had swings, teeter totters, monkey bars. Often with little or no ground padding. I remember monkey bars on asphalt. See image above. Broken bones were not unusual in my childhood, though I never suffered any. All the kids were free range too. A block or so by second grade, a few blocks by third grade, a mile or more by sixth grade. Rode off on one’s bike and explored the world nearby. I could write a book about what I remember.

Truth be told one could easily spend more time writing about an experience than the experience took. Another example of the Universe being infinite no matter what direction one looks. Sorry for the short blog tonight, have a great weekend everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Kids on monkey bars in the 1960s. Found it on a public image site, claimed as Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 16, 2020 at 8:08 pm

TRUMP TELLS WHITE HOUSE CROWD THAT CORONAVIRUS IS ‘DISAPPEARING’ AMID SHARP INCREASE IN CASES

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Yes, yes he did. From march until today that’s been Trump’s response to Covid-19 … it’s no big deal and it’s going to magically go away soon. Guessing that every day fewer people believe him as they see their friends and relatives sicken and die while Trump does nothing except make empty promises. Here’s one man’s horror story as he found out just how full of sh*t Trump’s claims are: He called it a ‘scamdemic.’ Then his family fell ill, one by one. Please dear reader, do everything you can to avoid this plague, the lives you save may be your loved ones.

In more grim Covid-19 news: Covid-19 virus ‘survives on some surfaces for 28 days’ Granted this isn’t as scary as it may seem at first pass, it’s looking pretty solid that airborne transmission is the main vector. As it’s been pointed out, if one gets Covid-19 one has usually been in a bar, restaurant, or church in the prior two weeks. Or been in close contact with someone who has. Still, another reminder that when it comes to avoiding Covid-19, an excess of caution is the watchword. I need to put a new bottle of alcohol in my car.

In the “Dr Faucis’s days are numbered” file: US Election 2020: Anthony Fauci says Trump campaign ad quote misleading. Basically the Trump campaign edited a quote by Doctor Fauci to make it appear he was saying Trump did “everything he could” to fight Covid-19. Doctor Fauci said nothing of the kind. In other words, while ignoring Doctor Fauci’s recommendations, they lie and claim he supported Trump. A lie inside a lie. This is how Trump has fought Covid-19, by lying. No national shut down, no monitoring the borders for Covid-19, no national test/trace/quarantine program. No nothing, except giving a giant pile of money to the pharmaceutical industry to develop a vaccine. And even if they do, which is by no means certain, a vaccine is only a part of a strategy to fight an infectious disease. By itself it certainly won’t get in under control. Millions of Americans still refuse to wear masks or take other precautions, safe bet they will refuse a vaccine as well.

If the Vietnam War was going on, I’d be blogging about it every day. Covid-19 has already killed about four times as many Americans as our misbegotten war in Vietnam, so yeah, I’m going to keep blogging about it. As so many feared, a second wave is starting up in Europe, though granted it’s nothing like the ongoing carnage in the USA. It means Covid-19 is going to be with us for a while yet. Hell, it’s going to be with us forever most likely, I can’t see it going away any time soon. No matter how much Trump thinks he can bend reality to his will by saying Covid-19 is going to magically disappear.

And people really aren’t ready for the economic fallout that’s coming either, especially in the USA. Huge numbers of small businesses aren’t coming back any time soon. Whole classes of employment have been wiped out, like house cleaners.  In countless ways the cost of Covid-19 is going to be staggering. We’re talking trillions and trillions of dollars in the US alone. It’s hard to imagine how that’s going to play out, but in a country where the sole mission of government is to facilitate the upward transfer of wealth, it’s not going to be pretty.

In non Covid-19 news, I took a mini road trip today. Of the dozens of pictures I took, I think two were passable. I’m gonna share them now, because, well, tomorrow will likely bring a dozen new blog post topics. 2020, the gift that keeps giving.

I have high standards, these are both mediocre photographs. Slideshow OK though. Enjoy! Photography is an art, like writing. Taking these images is an example of white privilege though. I’ll try to explain that in a future blog.

Short post today, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m good. Hope everyone had a safe and sane weekend. Comments, shares, likes appreciated.  #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Top image: Facebook grab, attribution in the image, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Second and third image: Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

October 11, 2020 at 8:49 pm

Posted in 2020, Covid-19, Iowa, Science, Trump

BIDEN VS TRUMP DEBATE (AND BOY WAS I WRONG)

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45 minutes until the debate. One of the more anticipated debates of the past decade at least. I expect it’s going to be pretty dull, the debates tend to be. Both trying to score points for their base, off each other, not as much. I’ll make some running notes, then sum it up when it’s over. Fun times. Beer will be involved.

Wow, what a flaming shitshow. A clusterfuck? I was wrong, this is unlike any previous presidential I have ever seen. Trump is simply fantasizing aloud, the moderator can’t seem to keep it under control. And Biden keeps missing opportunities to skewer Trump, and letting Trump control the narrative.

OK, that was my one in progress comment. Oh my, I was sure wrong. The debate was a much bigger free for all than I expected. Never been a debate like this in my life. The moderator was, well, inconsistent? Certainly wasn’t the boring debate I expected. In hindsight not surprising. Trump lives in a fantasy world, with near four years of “proof” to support him. Biden tried to keep the debate reality oriented, and scored points with his base no doubt. Both sides will claim they won. In random order, a few in-debate observations.

No, the pre-Covid economy was not “The greatest in history.” Trump’s response to Covid-19 didn’t save millions of lives, it was one of the least effective responses on the planet leading to 200,000 and rising dead Americans. The “radical left” in America is miniscule, in no way shape or form are Democrats and Biden supporters “radical leftists.” Antifa is an idea, not an organisation. 

So yeah, I don’t think either side won. I think Biden could have done a better job, but he got his licks in. A shitshow debate for a shitshow election in a shitshow year. And two more to follow, three if we count Harris/Pence. I guess I’ll watch em all. 

Oh, bonus points for me, Iowa was mentioned in the debate! Stay safe everyone, longer post tomorrow I hope.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution unknown, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 29, 2020 at 8:39 pm

A WORLD WITHOUT SMILES

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So today we start with something evil that doesn’t involve Trump or Rush Limbaugh: Auto Industry TV Ads Claim Right to Repair Benefits ‘Sexual Predators’ This is sick and evil on several levels. Basically a “right to repair” initiative is on the ballot in Massachusetts. The right to repair being the radical idea that if you buy something, it’s yours, and you can have anyone fix it. One would think this wouldn’t even be needed, would it? Welcome to modern America where big corporations are working hard to turn America into one giant company town. In essence when big corporations sell something like a car, tractor, or electronic device a lot of them recently are specifying that the item in question can only be modified or repaired at a corporate authorized dealer. Basically trying to drive independent shops out of business. It’s a horrible unfair way to use their power to destroy competition.

And since they don’t have any rational arguments to support their attempt to destroy the free market and make their customers economic serfs, they are claiming “right to repair” laws will lead to women getting raped. That’s right, if you take your car to an independent garage, your wife or daughter might get raped! Sick and wrong on multiple levels. I’ll let the discerning reader parse them for themselves. 

So Rush, yeah, phew, back to him: Rush Limbaugh downplaying hurricane Irma may have decreased evacuations. Yeah folks, get your science based stuff from scientists, not radio entertainers. Science, unlike any known ideology or religion, has a pretty good track record at understanding reality. People claim science is “making stuff up!” That’s called projection. It’s religion and ideology that make stuff up. Doesn’t mean science can’t be minused, just means science in general isn’t putting the cart before the horse. 

Ran seven errands on an outing today. Pretty universal mask coverage. Red state, red town, but … and pretty big but … the Mason micropolitan area is a college town, tourist region, and high class retirement area. A lot of educated folks who might vote for Trump, but are gonna mask up in public cause their neighbors are. Can’t smile at people though. If this continues, guessing new ways of communicating smiles will evolve. And masking has its plus sides. One can mouth “F**k You!” at deserving folks without fear. Better yet, I can smile at people all the time without being weird. That’s a win.

Well, a day without any new really bad developments. Win win. If everything calms down and the next few months underwhelm everyone, woohoo! Wouldn’t that be nice? Stay safe people. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

PS. Well, then Hurricane Sally. Some places got eighteen inches of rain, and it’s not over yet. I’ve seen an “inch an hour” rain for a few hours twice in my life, the results were local catastrophes. So freaking weird to live in a time where events that would have dominated the news for weeks during my prior life are now but brief interludes in the saga 2020 is. 

PPS: My town has been invaded by foxes.Seven deaths so far. 

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: Facebook meme of unknown origin, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It made me laugh.)

Written by unitedcats

September 16, 2020 at 8:01 pm

MASS LEARNED HELPLESSNESS?

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Another day, I can’t keep up with the weirdness. Trump did in fact suggest being added to Mount Rushmore. What can I say, he’s a legend in his own mind. And that of his followers, though what Trump has accomplished to be deserving of such an honor  is a mystery to me. I got nothing, he sailed on the coattails of the booming economy (such as it was) Obama left him, made the rich richer, added staggering amounts to the deficit, abrogated international treaties, and appointed lobbyists to power in great numbers. And broke all his promises to help Americans. This deserves a place on Mount Rushmore?  Oh well, Trump’s self image is like his priorities … interesting.

It’s more incomprehensible to me every day that America’s ruling class and many Americans have decided that Covid-19 will just go away if we all pretend it isn’t happening. Is that the plan? 1500 dying a day and the plan is to DO NOTHING? Today’s theory is that Americans suffer from mass learned helplessness. That’s where an organism has been so beaten down by bad events and helplessness in the face of them that they just give up. Granted that’s simplistic, but I’m just trying to understand why Covid-19 is wreaking historic carnage, and Americans aren’t demanding action be taken?

So this guy has an interesting take on how America got lost: Why Didn’t America Become Part of the Modern World? And by that I mean the yawning gap between America and the rest of the developed world. They enjoy vastly better working conditions, public education, universal health care, public transportation and pretty much everything else than Americans. It’s like they are wealthy modern nations, and everyone gets a fair share, what a concept? Not in America. I agree we have a huge problem, by all metrics we do, but I think his conclusion is simplistic. I think there’s a raft of factors that led the US down this dark path. Maybe a future blog.

I did come across a fellow defending America by claiming we have more freedom than all those socialist European countries! I’m going to be rude here. That’s fucking idiotic. People in Europe, Canada, Japan etc … IE the rest of the developed world  … enjoy the exact same freedoms Americans enjoy. They can travel freely, say what they want, join whatever religion they want, live their lives as they please. Freedom the likes of which the vast majority of humans never enjoyed. Yeah, they can’t run out and buy an AR-15. If your sense of freedom requires you to have a gun in your hands, grow the fuck up. The rest of the developed world has.

So part of Iowa got flattened. A derecho hit it. A what? A new one to me, basically a series of thunderstorms can create a windstorm the equivalent of a class two hurricane. 100 mph winds. Only 4 dead so far, but massive property damage. Missed us here, but 75 miles south, oh my. Nowhere on Earth is safe from natural disasters, a reminder to stay frosty.

I’m thinking maybe as people’s friends, family, and loved ones start to sicken and die from Covid-19, Americans will snap out of their shit. I’m losing people, but I knew Covid-19 was serious in March. That’s when I went to ground. I hope I’m not living in a failed state, but not reassured by what I see.

Oh well. Maybe Trump’s secret plan will fix it all. He does have a secret plan, right? Stay sane everyone, have a safe weekend. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A meme found on Facebook. Yeah, no matter how bad the American government fails, the architects of the failure are never held to account. Go figure. Credit: It’s in the meme. Used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

August 14, 2020 at 7:48 pm

WE AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET

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Known world wide Covid-19 infections hit 200,000 cases today. It took nearly four months to hit 100,000 cases, and less than two weeks to hit 200,000. And the rate of expansion is even faster in the US. This is it folks, the Titanic is going down, the dam has broken, the, the enemy is at the gates. America is about to be overwhelmed (Well, pretty much every region on Earth, but I’m writing this specifically from my local perspective, the base reasoning is sound wherever) with huge numbers of sick people, far more than we have hospital beds for. So a lot of them will die. And on top of that the economy will tank as businesses are forced to close. It’s here folks, the global health and economic crisis of our lives. The Martians have landed, they’re real this time, and they’re winning.

What should have happened is that sometime in January our president would have assembled a crack team of pandemic experts, gotten their recommendations, and given them a blank check to put them into action. Instead, first he claimed Covid-19 was a hoax, then wildly downplayed it for weeks, since then was all over the place, and still hasn’t taken any coordinated meaningful action. The man isn’t capable of leadership, he’s a know-it-all who surrounds himself with sycophants and yes men, whose primary goal seems to be his image and propping up the stock market. His response so far has been confused and ineffectual, it’s up to states, counties, and cities to do what they can to save as many of their residents’ lives as possible.

So with no further ado, my thoughts on what states/cities/counties should be doing. If anything in here is contradicted by expert opinion, please let me know:

  1. Education, education, education: Every source I can find by pandemic experts, not to mention historians, is that clear and accurate public information is what people need. They need to know what’s happening, what’s being done about it, and what they can do about it. They need accurate scientific information untainted by religion, politics, or blame shifting. Most of America failed this test in 1918, it’s not too late yet for this crisis.
  2. And the very first thing to educate people about is social distancing. The most critical time to slow down Covid-19’s spread was weeks ago. No time machine exists yet, so now is the time for everyone to avoid social interactions and do whatever they can to both prevent catching and spreading the disease. We can’t stop the pandemic, but the more we flatten the curve now, the fewer people will die as the pandemic peaks in the weeks and months ahead. This is absolutely the number one life saving action we can take now to save the lives of friends and neighbors.
  3. Do everything possible free up/create hospital beds. This would definitely include turning things like sports and other arenas into temporary quarantine centers where the medical staff wear hazmat suits. There’s going to be a huge demand for hospital beds in the weeks to come, the more we can get sick people into them where they can’t infect others and can be treated, the more lives will be saved. People are dying untreated in hospital hallways all over the globe now, and will be soon in the US. The more beds we have, the fewer will die.
  4. A huge “meals on wheels” program to provide the elderly, the immunocompromised, and health care providers and their families  with what they need. The former because they need to be kept isolated as much as possible, the later because these people are going to be the 24/7 front line soldiers against Covid-19 and they will need all the support we can give them. Everyone, every government agency, needs to do what they can to support their local health care providers. I can’t emphasize this too much, this is an alien invasion, and our front line troops are our last best hope.
  5. Ramp up production/acquisition of the ventilator units that will be so vital at keeping people alive in the coming wave of sick people. The same for other required equipment, like masks and hazmat suits.
  6. Strict restrictions on how much vital product people can buy. And do everything we can to encourage hoarders to share their supplies with their fellows.
  7. Don’t panic. It’s not the end of the world. It’s just the first time in most Americans’ lives where we are facing a national emergency. World War Two was the last, and 1918 the last one anything like this one. Life in America is never gonna be the same again, but if we pull together we can come out of this as a better nation on the other side.

A tremendous amount of the national response seems misguided to me. Yeah, everyone is going to need money soon, a check would help. However, checks aren’t going to save lives. A check isn’t going to put food on store shelves. A check isn’t going to magically create hospitals and medical staff. A check isn’t going to help granny if she’s dead. We need to be doing things to save lives now, not worrying about “the economy,” whatever that even means in times like these. Ideology, religion, politics are all freaking irrelevant now.

Lastly, since faith is big in America, hell, I’m an ignostic Episcopalian myself, it’s time tp “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.” Prayers are no more going to stop Covid-19 than they stopped bombs raining down on Pearl Harbor. It’s time for people of faith to come together with everyone and do what has to be done, the few lost pastors telling their flocks to depend on faith to protect them are liars or lunatics. If God sent this plague to test us, it’s to tell us to use our God given brains and take care of each other. That’s God’s work now.

God bless, everyone have a safe and sane week. One last big shout out and thanks to our front line defenders, and all the people out there supporting them and trying to keep society running. If this was a Hollywood movie, in the credits scene we’d find out that real aliens in giant spaceships were about to invade

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Permission is given to copy and share for educational purposes if properly attributed.

(Image: The Plague at Ashdod, 1631, painting.  Credit: Niccolò Possino 19594-1665. Public domain under most if not all Copyright Laws as the author has been dead for centuries.)

Written by unitedcats

March 18, 2020 at 1:38 pm