I’ve begun two weeks of Quarantine so we’ll talk a bit about quarantine and the difference between some and others. A little about Witches , some stuff about predicting the future and a little bit of Baltimore. We Start at midnight and you can watch it as it happens (or after it happens) below
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If you have read this blog for any length of time you know that I like to quote the C.S. Lewis Class The Screwtape letters which is a series of letters from a senior tempter in hell, Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood who is assigned to tempt and help damn a particular Englishman during 1939 and 1940.
Of all the quotes I’ve used from the 39 various letters the one I’ve used most often comes from a letter excoriating Screwtape for allowing his “patient” an actual pleasure that resulted in repentance.
The characteristic of Pains and Pleasures is that they are unmistakably real, and therefore, as far as they go, give the man who feels them a touchstone of reality. Thus if you had been trying to damn your man by the Romantic method…you would try to protect him at all costs from any real pain; because, of course, five minutes’ genuine toothache would reveal the romantic sorrows for the nonsense they were and unmask your whole stratagem.
C.S. Lewis Screwtape 13
This has been the great reality of that our current situation has brought us. What has become rapidly apparent is that items that were considered critical for anyone of virtue, from discarding plastic bags and plastic straws to using the right pronouns are nothing compared to stocking shelves, and delivering food, to wit:
“We went from being nobodies to essential workers,” said Chad Montgomery, also a driver with Challenger Motor Freight. “I’ve never felt appreciated in my job until now. A lot of people don’t realize it takes a truck to get stuff on shelves. If it wasn’t for a truck driver, you would have nothing.”
via ace who likely already knew this, but a lot of people, particuarly those in elite media, either in news or entertainment do not grasp that while we can live without media reports or new movies, we can’t live without the food and goods the truckers deliver.
Nothing illustrates this better than journalists who when nuts when Mike Lindell of My Pillow took the podium at the president’s latest presser. Our media betters all had shockedreactions, great quips and clever one liners to deploy at his expense.
Illinois is now in its eighth day of lockdown as part of Governor JB Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Life is anything but normal here.
There’s not much good to report.
On the other hand a few days ago I planned to compose a feel-good entry focusing on the the few good things to report on from where I live in Morton Grove, Illinois about coronavirus. But things quickly turned south. And now we just might have a preview of the damage an overreaching government that claims to be looking out for us can inflict.
I’m a runner–and I’ve not let the lockdown cut back on my hobby. (Oh, Peter Da Tech Guy has been begging me to write a running post for a while–here you go!) After all outdoor activity, including running, is allowed according to Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order, as long as I practice safe-distancing, which I do. During my runs through the Cook County Forest Preserve trails near my home, I’ve seen more people on the paths, including entire families, since the issue of the shelter-in-place order. When the coronavirus crisis fades away, some of those folks might pick up a new appreciation of nature and become physical fitness enthusiasts as well.
I’ve also seen more people smiling at me and waving during my runts. And I reciprocate.
That was through Wednesday.
In Chicago in the early part of last week, particularly on the lakefront, the parks and paths were packed with runners, walkers, and cyclists. There were picnics and barbecues and basketball games. Which caused Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, to freak out.
“You cannot go on long bike rides,” the Democrat scolded. “Playgrounds are shut down. You must abide by the order. Outside, is for a brief respite, not for 5Ks. I can’t emphasize enough that we abide the rules.”
And so she did. In a condescending press conference the following day, Mayor Tenderfoot announced, while upping her warning that training for marathons was also not allowed on the lakefront during the lockdown, that all Chicago parks along the lakefront, along with the 606 Trail on the North Side, were closed and would be barricaded. Violators of Lightfoot’s order face a citation and a $500 fine.
Okay, I get it. COVID-19 can be deadly. Playing close contact sports such as basketball is stupid. But cooping people up in home will be psychologically demanding. And what will happen if the internet in Chicago slows down to a trickle because of an overwhelming demand in residential areas?
Will spouse abuse instances spike? And child abuse?
And it’s not just a Chicago issue in Illinois. At a large park in Skokie, the town just east of me, a friend of my daughter’s was playing tennis with her boyfriend. Someone living next to the park called the police, they them to told stop playing and leave. The cops also cleared out the rest of park. There were no gatherings there of more than ten people. Just a few people here and there, I was told.
What we are witnessing in Chicago is a preview of life under a Green New Deal tyranny-of-the-enlightened-few led by know-it-alls like Lightfoot. Because of “climate change,” the city’s lakefront could be closed for weeks during the summer. After all, many people drive to the lakefront parks and the adjoining neighborhoods.
On a national basis industries such as travel could be altered and possibly destroyed. Travel by jet spread the virus. So let’s shrink the airline industry, which produces greenhouse gases. What about the jobless pilots, machinists, and the flight attendants? Force them to attend a green jobs training program doubling as a re-education camp.
If the government goes after jet travel will the automotive industry be next? What about recreational boating? Why not shutter restaurants that serve food deemed as unhealthy? Who hasn’t heard obesity called an epidemic?
Does a family of four really need a huge house? Do you really need to take an out-of-state vacation?
Presumably in a Green New Deal America the running trails near my home will still be open and I can train for a marathon if I choose. But I’ll expect to see fewer smiling faces there.
Yes, I’m taking COVID-19 seriously. I’m washing my hands and drowning them in hand-sanitizer. I’m keeping safe distances.
Had some interesting Corona Related personal side effects / stories over the last few weeks.
Yesterday (Wednesday) I went to the Market Basket near my house after dropping off my son to work and noticed that they were now offering Romano’s quality Prime steaks. It seems to me that if this was a crisis where panic buying was warranted such items would not be available. I shot a video on the subject that you can see here.
Because of the cancellation of Events in the area my youngest Son was unable to see Letterkenny Live in Boston on Saturday. Because he was free our family as a whole could go out together to celebrate DaWife’s birthday with our traditional “person who had the birthday picks anyplace they want” that night as it was the closest day to her birthday that we were all free and didn’t have dietary restricts based on Lent or other religious vows.
This turned out to be good luck for her because within 48 hours of that visit Massachusetts imposed a ban on eating at restaurants meaning that if we didn’t have the dinner that Saturday there would have been no birthday dinner out for DaWife.
To paraphrase Job, DaPanic giveth the Panic taketh away
Speaking of DaPanic taketh away my Doctor’s appointment for re-evaluation my shoulder was cancelled as the Governor also ordered all schools in Massachusetts to close which means that my Doctor who has small kids on no notice suddenly had no childcare so he had to stay home.
This meant that I won’t get my shoulder re-evaluated for another two weeks (the new appointment came through while writing this) which means my restrictions at work remain in place and that no decisions to continue or cancel rehab will take place. Yesterday Reliant called and said that due to the new restrictions and the desire to limit exposure they will do my appointment by phone. This means no x-ray but I seem to be progressing OK.
It seems to be that if still like this could be handled this way now it likely could have been handled like this before.
While this has been an inconvenience for me it’s has been a disaster for the Restaurant industry. When we went for DaWife’s dinner instead of the customary wait we were seated at once, there were empty tables and we noticed that they by 8:30 PM there was no sign of them being filled. Our server noted that there were very few people on and that her she and others were really being hit. Tipped her as high as I could afford and it’s a good thing too because as of today her tips are going to be exactly zero.
And that was weeks ago, yesterday I went to the local diner which is doing takeout only. They’re a two person business with no waitstaff so one might thing they could weather it. But Tina told me that business is down 90%+ and if it goes on much longer a business that weathered the great ice storm and the Obama years won’t survive.
Can you imagine being a restaurant owner who two weeks ago spent a ton of money of disinfectant to wipe down the tables with last week who now has a bunch of disinfectant and no tables to wipe?
Some people just can’t be pleased. Last week our place closed early when there wasn’t much work and people were groaning that they were worried about their jobs. This week, much to my surprise and most everyone else our place was listed as vital so remained open after the Governor’s order and now people are complaining about that.
About 35% didn’t bother to show the next day. If this keeps up it means that we will likely not have many, if any short weeks since there are less people to go around. Also yesterday I was practically the only person in my department for 7/8th of the day, the nearest body being 50 yards away.
Now that’s what I call social distancing.
Finally a quick reminder. I am now podcasting again. Rather than pre-recorded stuff I’m streaming live on YouTube Mondays at 12:35 AM EST and Fridays at 9:15 AM EST. I’m going to allow call ins on the Friday show using my old Radio show toll free number 888-9-FEDORA. Yeah it will only be my home phone on speaker but we’ll see if it works. If not then it will just be me.
My residential street runs parallel to a nearby busy boulevard and it makes a great short-cut to avoid heavy traffic
But there are no speedbumps on my street and, as a result, drivers fly down it on their way to and from work. There are lots of near misses, if the amount of horn-honking is any indication. And I’m not a little surprised that there hasn’t been any trading of lead-encased propellants in the five years that I’ve lived here. This is Los Angeles, after all.
However, other than the speeders, my very racially integrated neighborhood is quite peaceful and the near shutdown of the city due to COVID-19 has given it surrealism. It’s almost like living in the country.
No one is in a rush to go to work because so few are even allowed to go. The schools and colleges are shut down.
It’s certain, however, that much work and education is being conducted via digital means and when the shutdown ends, it will be interesting to see how these things will be transformed by the revelation that more stuff gets done when employees and students stay home.
Back to my nearly traffic-free street: I mentioned on Twitter that I had prayed for a long time that drivers would stop speeding down my street and in the last few days it has happened! Of course, I didn’t pray that it would come from a citywide quarantine, but I do know that God is a multitasker. Also, it is far from the first time that He has answered a prayer of mine in a way that I didn’t expect.
The moral of the story is obvious: be careful what you pray for.
However, I will continue to pray for the physical, financial, and spiritual healing of our country. And I’ll wager that it will shock the world in how it comes to pass.
One of the things that was popular at Romano’s, were meat bundles.
While this was something I never needed myself living seven doors away, bundles were always worthwhile for those who didn’t come in frequently and would freeze it or for organizations that were having an event etc. etc etc.
People ordered combinations of all kinds of steak, hamburg, pork poultry and they’d be sitting and ready.
With only a couple of days left before Romano’s closes for good Today, Thursday is the last day or order bundles and still have them ready for Saturday.
Of course with fresh meat available seven days a week I never saw the need myself. At least not until today.
Still I doubt If I’ll get a bundle, I’ll likely wait to see what’s left on Saturday, if there IS anything left on Saturday.
For a very long time you would have described me as a Tip O’Neill Democrat. We shared the same faith, came from the same state and shared the same values. I read his books watched his speeches loved his fight for the working man, and regretted that I didn’t take a day off to meet him at a book signing not too long before his death.
I left the Democrat party in the 90’s (and the GOP in 2013) but as I watched President Trump’s State of the Union Speech I was thinking of Tip O’Neill and Sam Rayburn who 1st put him on the rules committee and the path to power in the house. Like O’Neill and before O’Neill Rayburn was a man of the people who had never forgotten the American worker and the American Farmer and all the country owed them.
I thought of them as the president talked about jobs, taking care of Americans, protecting freedom of speech, freedom of religion and talking about American manufacturing and striking back at terrorist who targeted Americans etc etc etc.
I was thinking of them because it hit me that with one very prominent exception from Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema
…Democrats remained sitting as they president talked about gains for women, minorities and American workers.
I thought back to my youth watching these speeches as a political junkie and remembered Tip and remembered all I read about Sam and thought of how he would have reacted to all of those things Donald Trump was speaking of.
They would have been on their feet clapping.
Sam Rayburn and Tip O’Neill would be what you might call yellow dog Democrats, people who were so loyal to their party that if said party nominated a yellow dog for office they would vote for it vs any Republican but as much as they loved their party they loved America more.
They would have been cheering American victories overseas, they would have been cheering American jobs, they would have been cheering freedom of religion, they would have been cheering higher wages, more opportunities for blacks, Hispanics and women and both Speaker Tip O’Neill and Speaker Sam Rayburn (unlike Speaker Nancy Pelosi) would have been smart enough to make damn sure that their fellow democrat members were standing for these things as well.
In 2010 at CPAC while interviewing some local transit workers in DC I was asked why I was a republican. I answered on camera that as a believing Roman Catholic I felt I was no longer welcome in the Democrat party. I submit and suggest that neither Tip O’Neill nor Sam Rayburn be welcome in the party either because they were more interested in success for America and Americans than in who got credit for that success.
I think it’s a great mercy that neither lived to see what their party had become.
Footnote While Mr. Sam & Tip would be ashamed of what their party had become they’d be damn proud of Senator Kyrsten Sinema tonight.
It began yesterday when I attended a rally in West LA to repeal the bill. It was sparsely attended but the two hours went by very quickly due to several eloquent, fiery and informative speakers like Kira Davis and freelance writer and novelist Kirsten Mortenson. Kira says that the rally had only been planned a few days before it happened.
And, in addition to advising us to contact Gavin Newsom’s office, along with our state senators and assembly critters, one of the speakers provided us with some hair-raising information, which Kira talked about a week ago at Red State:
By now you’ve probably heard at least a little something about California’s shocking new “freelancer” bill that went into effect January 1, 2020. Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) is sweeping and vague but basically it redefines the relationship between employers and employees, effectively ending independent contract work and killing the “gig economy”. The bill – sponsored by a defiant Lorena Gonzalez (D-80) – was aimed at getting to Uber and Lyft, essentially forcing them to unionize. It is no accident well over 35% of Gonzalez’ (reported) campaign donations come from California unions. With a Democrat supermajority in Sacramento and a feckless state GOP, there was almost no opposition. The bill sailed through and against the hopes of independent workers across the state Governor Newsom signed it into law. (…)
Independent contractors across the nation could soon be suffering the same fate as their California counterparts. A federal version has passed through committee and now sits in the House of Representatives waiting for a floor vote. This is not a drill. This is real. (…)
Somewhere between September of 2019 and December of 2019 someone added an amendment to [H.R. 2474] that was a simple copy and paste of California’s AB5. In fact, it is so awkwardly jammed into the text that it can be nothing other than a literal copy and paste.
We should have known that the U.S. House of Representatives wasn’t just playing Impeachment Inquiry Games during the time in question.
Interesting thing about the rally: there were several entertainment freelancers there who I am almost certain are not conservatives and are definitely not fans of the president.
Did that matter? Of course not. And if there’s anything that can bring left, right and middle together, it’s politicians overreaching directly into pockets. But they are doing more than that.
They aim to hinder free and lawful capitalism. Think about what that will do for the economy should H.R. 2474 see daylight.
A letter from sponsoring Democrats has already been signed and is sitting on Nancy Pelosi’s desk right now. The date? January 9, 2020. This bill is on your doorstep and no one has said a word. [JAO: See letter at link above.]
If they can cripple the Trump economy, they will do so by any means necessary and as fast as they can.
People from other states heap a lot of scorn on us California conservatives for what we let happen to our state over the decades. But this – and Virginia, and, no doubt, countless other forms of tyranny are happening in your state and our country while you laugh at us.
You better wake up and smell the tyranny. We here in California will fight our version of it; yes, belatedly. But what good will our push-back do if the whole flocking country is AB5’d?
Yeah, the U.S Senate will probably kick it down, but the question remains …
What are your sweet and pristine state legislators up to?
If I were you, I’d find out. Don’t wait around like we did.
Mike ran the last butcher shop in Fitchburg, he wasn’t a big pol, a famous celeb or anything else but even with an empty church across the street the parking was impossible, the lines were impossible and from end of the line to the recieving line was over an hour.
Just because a man cuts meat for a living doesn’t mean he didn’t make a difference.
Speaking of making a difference we are now hearing all kinds of “Should the Patriots have traded Brady” talk now that the 49ers are going to the Superbowl to face Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
This is how spoiled people Brady has made people. You have a guy who made it to the superbowl in consecutive years and was one defensive stop by his team from winning two rather than one and people are assuming it would have automatically have happened if someone else was at the helm. To those folks I ask this: How many times has Aaron Rogers gone to the Superbowl? Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger? The lot of them combined have neither played in as many Superbowls as Brady nor won as many yet are all clearly HOF QB’s.
That’s how hard it is to get to the Superbowl so if you thing that you could just plug in anyone and win ask Andy Reid and Pat Mahomes if they are happy they didn’t have to go through Brady to get to where they are today.
Curt Schilling missed the HOF again this time getting 70% of the vote 5% shy finishing third behind Larry Walker and Jeter who both made it in.
Sports writers are notoriously liberal and they will never forgive Curt Schilling for being an unabashed conservative, particularly in an age of Trump. Next year will be the real test with the weakest HOF lineup in a long time. I have a feeling given the choice between voting in Clemens and Bonds (who finished 4th and 5th & both deserve elevation) or Schilling, the sportswriters will either forgive the steroids users rather than give Schilling the nod, particularly if (ok when) Trump wins re-election.
You’ll not I didn’t write or tweet word on the impeachment trial. Since the ending is a foregone conclusion and the only question is if we will hear from Joe Biden’s son or not I don’t see how it’s worth my time or yours.
Finally Yesterday the President during his speech at Davos noted a long list of doomsday predictions that failed to come true over the last fifty years and also talked about the success of America and his optimism and put it all in perspective:
“This is not a time for pessimism, this is a time for optimism,” Trump said as Thunberg watched from the audience. “We must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse. They are the heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers.”
“Our house is still on fire.” “Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour.”
Outside the conference center, five helicopters circled like petroleum-hungry vultures.
She chided the jewelry-rattling audience. “You say children shouldn’t worry. You say, ‘Just leave this to us. We will fix this, we promise we won’t let you down.’ ” She paused. “And then, nothing. Silence. Or something worse than silence. Empty words and promises, which give the impression that sufficient action is being taken.”
“Let’s be clear,” Thunberg said. “We don’t need a ‘low-carbon economy.’ We don’t need to ‘lower emissions.’ Our emissions have to stop. And, until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero.”
. I suspect she will still be given plenty of lip service and those trying to retard US energy production will continue to help finance her but in the end people follow leaders, particularly optimistic ones with a record of success so it’s not going to be a surprise on whose message is going to win.
As business and political leaders descend on Davos,
Switzerland, for the four-day World Economic Summit, Chinese President Xi faces
a variety of problems.
Although the press has questioned the gains made by the United States in the first round of a trade deal with China, it’s clear that President Trump made significant inroads.
Under the deal, China agreed to buy an additional $200
billion in American goods over the next two years. The agreement protects U.S.
intellectual property, addresses technology transfers, and ends currency
manipulation by the Chinese.
It would be premature to applaud the deal UNTIL the
Chinese meet these goals, but these steps are the most significant in the
history of trade between the two countries.
Noted Chinese expert and author Michael Pillsbury dismissed the attacks on the deal, calling it a “historic agreement.”
He criticized the Democrats. “They said all the things that President Trump said today, but they couldn’t get it done. They didn’t have a strategy on how to bring the Chinese leadership around. Now I’m afraid they’re a little bitter and even embarrassed. Their own ideas have been implemented by Donald Trump, and they can’t stand it.”
Although the deal may help Xi and the economy, the Chinese president faces other financial issues.
As The Wall Street Journal notes, Xi’s domestic economic policies have stumbled. “He has appeared to choose political reliability over profits and efficiency as he throws his support behind government-owned businesses in the form of subsidies, financing, licenses, and pressure on competitors. Bankruptcies are running higher than ever in China among private companies, which suddenly have less scope to expand,” James T. Areddy writes from Shanghai.
During my travels throughout China during the past five
years, I have noticed a growing disparity between the growing middle and upper
classes in the cities and the crushing poverty of the countryside, particularly
in minority areas. It’s true that the countryside has made gains in the past 20
years, but these are far less dramatic than among the urban elites.
Furthermore, the much-touted Belt and Road Initiative has hit some significant resistance aboard. One of the features of the initiative was to provide jobs to the Chinese building sector, which faced fewer projects inside the country. Now the international building program faces growing concerns that the developing countries where projects are centered will see mounting debt to finance the programs. That means fewer jobs for Chinese workers outside the country.
President Xi isn’t likely to face any serious challenges from inside the Communist Party. Still, the international community will note how his once-gleaming economic acumen has lost much of its luster.