Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Teaching in the Pandemic

This is my second day of trying to teach my classes remotely.

I am not liking it, if anyone is curious.

So far I am using Slack and Google Classroom. I'm running the discussion boards asynchronously, and I'm giving students lots of room -- letting them turn work in late, and cutting some assignments.

For me, though, education is something that happens in person, face to face. I imagine we can have discussions via chat threads. It's not going to be what happens when we hold discussions in a classroom. I suppose I just have to get over wishing for that.

Also, some of my students are having problems with technology. We're a working class university, for the most part, so some of them don't have their own computers -- they use a parent's computer, or try to work on a phone, and were relying to some extent on the university's computer labs.

Now the labs are locked and the parents need their own computers because they're working remotely.

It's making me feel grumpy, I guess is the tl;dr.

On the other hand, no one at my house is sick yet, and so far as I know none of my students are either. Knock wood.

Coronavirus cartoons: Bay Area locks down to slow COVID-19 spread

Sunday, March 29, 2020

What I'm Reading Now

I'm reading so many books right now -- what else is there to do? -- that I've really stopped keeping track. Many of them are re-reads anyway: since I can't get to the library every day, I'm reading what's on my shelves.

But here are some of the books I've read lately.

Geraldine Brooks, Year of Wonders

Year of WondersI am reading a lot of books about epidemics, because that is how I roll. This one is about the plague village in England, the one that, when they realized they had the plague, quarantined themselves from the rest of England to stop its spread. They were successful, but at the cost of nearly all their lives. One woman ended up burying her husband and seven of her eight children.

Brooks's novel is a lightly fictionalized version of their story. Nice writing, and I like the end a lot. But don't read unless you're really into books about epidemics.

Anne Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, and A Beginner's Goodbye.

These I read because I've been listening to BBC's World Book Club off and on, and one of the episodes had to do with Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. At one point, this was one of my favorite books. Then I went off Anne Tyler almost entirely. I decided on a re-read, to see if I was right to give up on her.

It's not a bad book. Tyler isn't much on plots, which is why I think I lost interest in her. She's pretty good with characters, though. And the writing is nice. Mainly, though, I think I just got tired of (white, straight) middle-class characters leading dull and pointless middle-class lives. Obviously if that's what Tyler wants to write about, she should write about it. I've just read enough of that.

Sophie Hannah, Perfect Little Children

I always think I like Hannah's books, until I check them out and read them. I think my memory must have conflated her with some other writer, one I actually do like.

Anyway, this one is, as always, very readable, and pretty stupid. A woman has a fight with her best friend. Ten years pass. The woman stalks the friend (why?), and discovers A Mystery. Blah, blah, blah, stretching credibility, and not much of a payoff. Also the main character is repellent, and her husband a cipher.

I like one of the kids, though.

Jane Austen, Emma

I had to do a re-read, after seeing the movie. This is, as always, a wonderful book. Either this one or Mansfield Park is my favorite.

I'm thinking of re-reading Northanger Abbey, which I haven't read in literally years -- it's my least favorite Austen book. And meanwhile I re-read Jane Fairfax, by Joan Aiken, which is a sequel/co-equal to Emma,  and which I also recommend.

Annalee Newitz, Autonomous

Autonomous: A Novel by [Newitz, Annalee]This is another epidemic book, sort of. It's also delightful science fiction. A drug, manufactured and distributed by a giant pharmaceutical company, is causing a new sort of plague -- people who love their work so much they can't stop doing it. So a painter paints his apartment over and over and over again, until he dies of organ failure (because he loves painting so much he won't stop even to eat or drink). And a school girl keeps doing her homework, endlessly.

Besides the plague, we have the story of a boy and his robot, and of indentured (enslaved) children, and of corporate control of society (through lawsuits and by writing laws). The boy and his robot is probably my favorite part, giving us, as it does, a novel take on artificial intelligence.

The outlaw scientists are also very good, though.

This one is a lot of fun, besides being really good on both science and capitalism.

Jodi Picoult, Second Glance

As with Sophie Hannah, Picoult is a writer I always think I like, until I read one of her books.

It's hard to say what's wrong with Picoult. I mean, she's very readable, and her characters are good, and there are definitely plots in her books -- all the stuff I normally like.

I think might be the way she almost always has children-in-danger at the center of her books. Some kid is sick, or some kid is in a school shooting, or some kid has been kidnapped, whatever. Here, the kid-in-danger is a young boy who has a genetic condition that makes him allergic to the sun -- fatally so. I mean, this isn't a bad plot. It's just, she's pulling the same tricks in every book. And "endanger the kid" to ramp up reader's emotions gets a little obvious after the first few books. (It's the same reason I don't read books about murdered women. Obvious plot is obvious.)

But most of this book is about the kid's uncle, who is chronically depressed and also a ghost hunter. The other part of the book is about the ghost he falls in love with, and about the Native Americans all of these characters are involved with.

It's an interesting, if not a compelling, read, and certainly one of Picoult's better books.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Life in the Pandemic

According to the CDC, this won't be over until July -- even then people will still be getting sick, but we'll have crested the wave, and will be flat again.

That's their best guess now.

Meanwhile, we are settling into social distancing, here at the delagar household.

Here is our schedule:

4:00 a.m. Dr Skull wakes. Feeds the cats. Settles in to write, or write music (with headphones on).

9:00 a.m. I get up. Feed the cats. Feed the dog. Make coffee. Settle in to write.

11:00 a.m. Dr. Skull emerges. Wonders if I want him to make bread. I say yes. Please make challah. (Alternative: Please make sour dough. Or nah, we're fine with bread.)

11:50 a.m. The kid gets up. Feeds the cats. Makes breakfast. (The kid is the only one who eats breakfast in our household.) Begins drawing.

1:00 p.m. I finish writing. Make lunch for me. Feed the cats. Read for awhile.

2:00 p.m. The kid has lunch. I begin working on teaching prep.

3:00 p.m. Dr. Skull put the bread in to bake. Feeds the cats.

4:00 p.m. The kid does schoolwork.

5:00 p.m. Dr. Skull emerges and makes himself dinner. Feeds the cats.

6:00 p.m. I make dinner for me and the kid.

7:00 p.m. The kid and I take the dog to walk at the park.

8:00 p.m. Rum o'clock. The kid draws, and talks to friends. I read and read and read. Dr. Skull goes to bed. Feeds the cats first.

1:00 a.m. I go to bed. Feed the cats first.

3:00 a.m. The kid goes to bed.

Interspersed among all of this, I do laundry, Dr. Skull does the dishes, we occasionally go out for groceries, or take the dog out into the yard. It's a quiet and pleasant life, and I am getting a lot of work done.

But every time someone gets a headache, or coughs, we have tiny little panic attacks. And going to the grocery, despite all the antiseptic wipes and handwashing we do, makes me very nervous.

I'll be glad when this is over.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Covid-19 in Arkansas

Our public schools have been closed for two weeks, and I finally convinced Dr. Skull that they weren't going to open on April 1 (which is the date the schools have put out for "re-evaluating" the closure).

He emailed the school board to ask if any provision was being made for subs. They told him to file for unemployment.

So yesterday he went and did that. (He tried to file online, first, but with about half the state trying to file, the website was overwhelmed.)

The unemployment office was swathed in plastic -- I guess to keep out the virus? Who knows? -- and there was a bin to drop his unemployment form in. Now we wait.

I'm guessing the Arkansas Governor's school isn't going to run this year either. He teaches there in the summer.

The kid is still home. We're going to keep him here through Passover at least, and then -- like the public schools -- re-evaluate. Meanwhile, he is working with his professors remotely. From eavesdropping on his sessions I have learned that kids today now call Covid-19 "the rona."

Today we have to drive him up to see his therapist. That should be fun.

As for me, I am fretting about teaching online. I've never actually done it, and my one attempt at learning Blackboard convinced me I never want to use that platform ever in my life.

I did attend a session at our university last week, meant to show those of us who hate Blackboard how to use Blackboard. Once again I walked away convinced I never want to ever use that platform ever in my life.

I've been using Google Classroom. Now I've figured out Slack, mostly. Between those two, I'm hoping I can get through the rest of the semester.

But oh my do I hate this. I love the classroom, the interaction between the students, the way we all, by talking together, reach bigger truths than we would on our own. Chatlines on slack and me posting notes on Google Classroom -- this is not going to be nearly as effective.

And it will be like 110% more boring.

But it's better than one to three percent of my students dying, obviously.

What else? I am still taking my nightly walks at the park along the Arkansas River. When this all started, I was the only one there, ever. Well, sometimes there would be one other person. But usually it was just me and the dog.

Each day, there have been more and more people out walking their kids and their dogs and themselves. Yesterday there were so many people there I had to park on the road instead of in the parking lot. One kid was there all alone on his bicycle, riding around and around and around the big loop.

If nothing else, the plague is giving people the leisure to exercise.

We all carefully stayed six feet from one another. Except my dog. He kept trying to rush up to the other dogs and make friends. I kept pulling him away again.

I'm still cooking so much more than I usually do. I made enchiladas yesterday, and am considering black beans, except it's probably too hot for that. Maybe potato soup.

What's going on where you are?


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

My House is on Fire

This twitter thread, y'all:

(Be sure to read the replies.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Covid-19 Numbers

There are 197 cases of Covid-19 in Arkansas, as of noon today.

There were 118 three days ago.

Some of the increase is an artifact of testing -- by which I mean we probably had more than 118 cases on March 21st -- but still.

44,183 cases nationwide. There were just over 500 cases in the USA on March 9, which is just about two weeks ago. Again, remember we weren't testing on a wide-scale yet then -- and still aren't now -- so neither number is a true reflection of how many people actually have the virus.

544 people have died. On March 9, 22 people had died.

Trump said we should all go back to our regular life on April 12. That's just about two and a half weeks from now. Remember that two weeks ago we were at 500 cases. Where do you think we will be two weeks from now?

 I don't know if Trump is serious -- everything he says is a lie, after all -- but that's clearly an unrealistic estimate.

(Source for graph)

Life in the Pandemic

The kid is home with us, so we have three adults, two cats, and a dog in our household. Given the small size of our house (only four rooms, really), it's a good thing we all like each other.

Dr. Skull is technically in the high-risk group (he has high blood pressure and diabetes), so we're self-isolating with a zeal. We go nowhere except to the grocery and to a nearby park, for walks along the river. It's a very empty park -- we occasionally see people hundreds of yards from us; or someone jogs past. Never any close encounters.

What do we do all day?

The kid works on his comic. He also does academic work -- his professors are communicating with him via the net, and sometimes in a chat session. He also talks nightly with his boyfriend (datefriend is the modern parlance), and often with his larger circle of friends. He goes on the walks with me.

I work on my novel, and also do prep for when the semester starts back up, here at my university, on Monday. I'm cooking a great deal more than I usually do -- yesterday I cooked two meals! Alors! I'm reading even more than usual. And I look forward to our walks at the park.

Dr. Skull is working on his novel, composing music, and playing Madden Football. I can tell which he is doing at any given time because he hums when he's writing the novel, counts (One and TWO and three four five) when he's composing music, and cusses when he's playing Madden Football.

The cats demand a great deal of petting. The dog goes on walks with us, and also keeps a vigilant watch out for squirrels in the yard.

No one here is sick yet. Knock wood.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Conservatives and Eugenics

Of course, conservatives have always been pro-eugenics, just as they love to push Social Darwinism. I guess now the mask is coming off.

Day 10 of the Quarantine

We're making pancakes:


Here's the recipe.

Later we plan a walk in the river-side park

What are y'all to to?

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Saturday, March 21, 2020

First Case of Covid-19

...in our county. 

There are 118 cases in the state so far.

Meanwhile, Trump is talking nonsense in his idiotic daily presser.

See more here. Of course he got this dangerous bullshit from Fox News -- where else?


Life during Covid-19

Last night, Dr. Skull made pizza for my (belated and socially distant) birthday party.


There was also carrot cake.

I stopped at the liquor store to buy wine on my way home from our daily walk at the park by the river. They were open, with a sign on the door asking all customers to stay six feet apart. Everyone was complying, which was difficult, since I've never seen so many people in that store.

We had a fine celebration. Dr. Skull makes the best pizza, and his carrot cake, with fig preserves as its filling, was excellent.

Carrot Cake with Fig Filling and cream cheese icing

One week into the pandemic, here is what I have noticed so far:

This is not what I expected a pandemic to be like. First, everything moves so much more slowly than it does in books and movies. We're a week into this semi-quarantine, and still no one I know is sick, no one can say how long schools and non-essential stores will have to be closed, no one is sure how bad it will get, or even how bad it is.

Second, being shut up in my house, with nowhere to go, previously my dream of a perfect life, is strangely exhausting. I mean, aside from how I never go to campus to teach, this is essentially exactly the life I was leading a week ago. But somehow it seems more oppressive. I guess those days I was spending on campus were more vital to my mental health than I thought they were.

Third, the depth of depravity among MAGA Americans has become clearer then ever. When most of America is responding with the humor and charity I outlined above, MAGA Americans continue to spread hate and lies -- one common and repeated claim I've seen among that crowd is the pandemic isn't real. (No one is actually sick! they crow. It's all the LYING MEDIA!!1!)

Why is the USA shutting down schools and shops and theaters and restaurants if the pandemic isn't real? Why, it's a plot by the SOCIALIST DEMOCRATS, clearly. We just want to destroy Trump. (As if he wasn't doing that all on his own.)

Since the pandemic is only a plot, according to these losers, we should all deliberately violate the rule against social distancing. They post pictures of themselves taking their children to crowded restaurants, or tweets about the crowded bar they're hanging out in. Spreading the virus to own the libs.

Or, like Rod Dreher, they spread panic and lies out of their own cowardice. This sort of MAGA American is terrified of everything. Their terror finds an outlet in xenophobia, bigotry, and racism, and so they find a way -- some way, any way at all -- to blame what's happening on foreigners, gay people, progressives, or any people except white Conservative Christian Americans.

Finally, though, most people are responding not with panic and hate but with charity, with humor, with zest.

Example: I ran out of coffee on Thursday, and posted about it on FB. Half my feed offered to send me some via a local coffee delivery service, or to bring me some, or to send a friend of theirs who lives close to be over with some. My classics professor from graduate school comment: "No coffee? That's grounds for panic!"

Other examples: People on Twitter are writing poems about their experiences, or sending pictures of their cats; publishers are making their e-books free; scientists are offering to explain science concepts via video chats to kids stuck at home; Geico has promised not to cancel anyone's coverage for non-payment during the pandemic; people are posting gifs and videos and pictures of their cats and dogs, showing how their pets (and they themselves) are reacting to the quarantine.

Among most people, that is the sentiment. This is awful, and scary, and disruptive. But we'll help each other through it. And hey, here's something hilarious my cat did yesterday!

Be like the final group. Not like the MAGA bigots. It's the best chance we have.

Meanwhile, have a comic!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Cat Pictures during the Plague Years

Here is what Jasper is doing during the quarantine:


Here is what Junti is doing:

Bonus Heywood:


We're not actually under quarantine -- just socially distancing.

How are things at your place?

Links: A Mini-edition for the Plague Years

Both sides are not the same

What? That rabid hyena might eat MY face?

Larry Brilliant (who helped defeat smallpox) explains (more of this, please, and less pants-wetting screeching)

Unemployment claims skyrocket

Erik Loomis and the birth of the Republican Party

How to deal with the quarantine:

Thursday, March 19, 2020

We Have Always Been at War with Eastasia

No photo description available.

Life in the Plague Years

See also this 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Even MORE Good News

I just got another email from our public library -- apparently during the quarantine, we can request books and then do like a drive by to pick them up!

The library item you requested is now available for checkout. Items may be picked up between 1 – 5 PM, Monday through Friday at the MAIN Library. Call 479-783-0229 (choose “0”) when you arrive.  Please pull up near the curb by the garage door for delivery.  Thanks!


Some Good News

Our public library, as I mentioned in a previous post, has closed for the pandemic. I did checkout a last armful of books (one hour before they closed), so I can stave off withdrawal for, I don't know, three days?

But good news! The library has a Request Purchase button. So I requested a book I have had on my wish list for a while now, Death in the Rainforest, and this morning the librarian in charge of purchases emailed me and said they had bought it.

Plus! Not only are they buying a hardcopy, they're buying an ecopy, and it will be available sometime today.

Public libraries are the best.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Special Edition: Covid-19 Links


Trump wants $850 billion in aid -- but it's free money for corporations, and "tax cuts" for us. As we all know by now, "tax cuts" means more money for the wealthy, and fuck the rest of us.

The GOP is still pretending Covid-19 is a hoax

Tips for those of us teaching online

What the CDC says

What's closed (so far) in the Fort: Schools, universities, the public library, many churches, all after-school programs and park programs, the museum

No photo description available.

Monday, March 16, 2020


The public library just announced they're closing for Covid-19. They won't re-open until March 31.


It's getting so that, if I get an email saying a certain thing will remain open -- like the public schools, or the library -- I just assume I'll be getting another email in a couple hours saying they're shutting down.

I rushed over before the library closed and checked out several books. Not enough to keep me until March 31. But what would be?

The library is making e-books available, which is something.

Today I also went to a workshop on campus, which was supposed to show us how to run discussion groups online.


I hates it.

I think I might use Google Hangout instead. Though the kid tells me Discord also works well.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Covid-19 Update

We're going up the hill today to fetch the kid home from school. There are at least 12 confirmed cases in Arkansas as of this morning, and who knows how many actual cases.

The kid is coming home because his roommate is employed at a low-wage job, and can't self-quarantine. Both of them are young, so probably not at risk; but they're both worried that the kid will get it from the roommate and then bring the virus home to us (Dr. Skull and I aren't exactly old, but).

Yesterday I went out to the grocery. Not as chaotic as a few days ago, but on the other hand, the shelves were almost stripped: no paper towels, no toilet paper, no paper napkins, no cleaning supplies. Almost no canned fruit. Almost no frozen vegetables. No baby food. No canned milk.

All of this is obviously panic buying -- what else, in a capitalist society? We can't do anything effective, so we buy crap.

I was after tomato sauce and cheese, so I could make enchiladas. Those were both still available. (Why aren't people buying cheese? I mean, at a time like this, don't people want cheesy goodness?)

Our public schools are staying open, at least so far; but all the universities have closed.

Crystal Bridges, the sole decent art museum in Arkansas, has shut down.

I'm not worried myself, not even a little bit, about the virus. I am a little concerned about what's going to happen over the next months. According to most sources I'm seeing, the pandemic doesn't peak here in the USA until July 2020. Can the economy survive five months of even moderate quarantining?

Meanwhile the weather in Arkansas continues cold and rainy. I miss my walks.

Image result for quarantining comic

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Conservative Response to Covid-19

Spreading the virus to own the libs:

Covid-19 Update

Good news! The public library is staying open, at least for now.

I don't know WHAT I would do without the library. Probably buy way too many books.

Covid-19 in the Fort

Dr. Skull went out to buy cobbler supplies (he's making peach cobbler) this morning. The Wal-Mart is quiet now, with the few people who are shopping wearing masks, and the cashiers wearing gloves.

My university is holding training sessions for professors on Monday, to show us all how to teach online. I'm going to two of them -- the one on giving exams, and the one on holding discussion groups.

Our local public schools have not yet shut down.

There are six cases in Arkansas, none of them here or in Fayetteville. No one has died here yet.

My kid is thinking of coming home for a few weeks, since all his classes are online. His boyfriend was supposed to come live with them -- he was flying in next Monday -- but his flight was cancelled, and his parents are worried about him flying at this point anyway.

How are things where you are?

Contagion: Review

So I heard the movie Contagion, about a pandemic, was hot on Amazon streaming right now.

I'll bite, I said, and went to watch it.

It's actually a pretty good movie to watch in this present crisis. The virus in that is much more lethal than Covid-19, but the science in the movie is pretty good. When the virus breaks, we get to see how the CDC responds, and how various governments do. There's some explanation of how viruses work, and how they spread, which is nice.

Then as the pandemic spreads, we see the social breakdown; we also see how scientists and medical personnel work to find a vaccine. There's more panic and less of what we might really see in a crisis like this.

In general, what actually happens in a crisis is people working together, not attacking one another -- though of course you do see some of that. Think of Katrina, and how many people went out in boats to rescue those who were stranded, and how many people showed up to volunteer. And then we had Fox News, spreading lies about looters and "those" people murdering one another.

There's a Fox-News sort of blogger in Contagion, spreading lies as fast as he can for his own profit, getting people killed with his hateful ignorance. If you saw the documentary Pandemic on Netflix (which I also recommend), the Anti-Vaxx Purist Mummy in that serves a similar purpose -- this is what we're up against, these are the people destroying our society.

Contagion is available on Amazon and also YouTube. Pandemic is available on Netflix.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Pandemic Panic

We ventured to the grocery to buy cream for our coffee.


Sold out: All the paper towels, all the toilet paper, nearly all the flour, all the baby food, most of the frozen vegetables...

And people were buying tons of bottled water. I don't understand THAT one at all. Do they think the water supply will fail? Why would it? This isn't a hurricane.

I did buy two quarts of cream, instead of one. That's my pandemic panic.

Image result for pandemic cartoon

Image result for pandemic cartoon

Closing for Covid-19

My kid's university has cancelled on-campus classes for the rest of the semester. Classes up there will be taught online only.

My university kicked this decision down the road -- they've extended Spring Break for a second week, and say they'll make the decision about the rest of the semester at the end of that time.

Other universities are going all on-line. The local public schools are still open.

What's happening where you are?

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Tom Cotton: Disgrace to Arkansas, Disgrace to the USA

He's still pushing the conspiracy theory started by Qanon.

So not just racist and xenophobic, but utterly ignorant as well.

Covid-19 and the Conservative Response

So did y'all watch Trump's speech last night?

I liked David Litt's response: "As a former Presidential speechwriter, my careful rhetorical analysis is that he's going to get us all killed."

The racism and xenophobia was also nice, but my favorite part was when he promised a $50 billion dollar federal spending plan -- but not for low-wage workers. For businesses!

Then we're just going to trust the businesses to pass that money on to their workers.

Gimme a minute to laugh about that.

This is a plan to put more money in the pockets of the .01%, which, after all, is why Trump is in office -- to loot the country.

Other responses I'm seeing from the Right match Trump's response almost exactly: xenophobic and racist ranting, mixed with one of two approaches. Either the virus is going to KILL US ALL!1! and it's the liberals fault (see Rod Dreher's pant's-wetting screeching for an example of this); or the virus is NO BIG DEAL, and the liberals are lying about it to attack Trump (see Fox news for an example of this).

Meanwhile, the grift goes on.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020


This thread on scapegoating minorities in the time of plague

Contrasts interestingly with this "use racism to fight the plague!!1!" take from Rod Dreher.

Snopes fact-checks a viral FB post (pun intended)

Depressingly accurate

Less depressing

Also accurate

Very like my kid's experience in our local high school

Trans experience

Spoilers: No

Tuesday, March 10, 2020


My classics professor from grad school shared this:

Image may contain: possible text that says 'SI FORE VIS SANUS, ABLUE SAEPE MANUS. Regimen sanitatis salernitanum 8 www.scholalatina.it'

(He was not the source of the apotropaic penis article.)


So apparently Fox News claimed that concern over Covid-19 is a CONSPIRACY against their idol, Donald Trump.

How do I know this, given that I have no television and wouldn't watch Fox News if I did have a television?

Because all the MAGA Americans on my timeline are suddenly posting about how the virus is a great CONSPIRACY against Trump.

Sheep to the slaughter, my God.

Image result for Covid-19 cartoon

Monday, March 09, 2020

Sunday, March 08, 2020


Dr. Skull and I went to see Emma* this afternoon.

The parking lot at the theater was nearly empty, and almost no one was in the lobby. One of my students works the concession stand. I asked if the light crowd (not really a crowd -- about six people) was because of the corona virus, and they said that's what they thought.

When the movie started, only a few people were in the theater with us, and everyone sat well apart from everyone else.

Life in the time of panic, I guess.

*It was lovely, by the way. An excellent take on the novel -- it captured the comedy the way very few versions have.

Dr. Heywood Floyd with Pig

Look, it's the little dog!

Saturday, March 07, 2020

A View from China

Here's a first-hand account (as opposed to all the wild second and third hand accounts that conservatives are sharing) of life in China during the outbreak:

Once the threat of COVID-19 was identified, the government was willing and able to sacrifice the economy–what too many Western observers think of as its sole legitimizer–and put all of Chinese society on a total wartime footing against the coronavirus, in the span of one or two weeks. And it’s been wildly effective. 

There's also some commentary on how other nations, including the USA, are handling the virus. (Will the US sacrifice allegiance to its true religion, capitalism, to contain Covid-19? Don't make me laugh.)

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

I Voted

...though I knew it was futile. Sure enough, the state went to Biden.

Don't get me wrong -- I'll support Biden if he wins. Not that it will matter, since on election day this state is going for Trump. Far-Right Extremists outnumber everyone else here by like 5-4, and I don't think Biden is going to convince any of those extremists to vote against Trump.

Meanwhile, in Texas as in other states wait times at the polls stretched into hours in areas with a high minority population.

That's not accidental.

(Here in Arkansas, where I voted at the local park, it took me five minutes to vote. And everyone around me was middle-aged, middle-class, and white.)

Election days should be national holidays. Lots of working class people don't vote because they can't get time off work.

Also, we should be able to vote from any location -- here in Fort Smith, that's how it's handled. We don't have to go to "our" polling place. We can vote from any polling place in the city. But it should be wider -- we should be able to vote from any polling place in the state. (All of the records are online now, so why not?) Students especially are kept from voting by this problem -- that they have to go home to vote. It's midterms! Most of them don't have time to drive hours to vote.

Also, early voting should be the law everywhere. Again, this will make it easier for students and the working class to vote. (It is the law in many states, but not everywhere.)

But all of that would require a ruling class that wants all citizens to vote, rather than (in fact) wanting to suppress the franchise for "certain" people.

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

How to Be a Terrible Parent

...and make sure your kid will never trust you.
My daughter is 16 and as most 16 year olds, she has her own phone with less parental control. But I still have sensible rules like no turning off iphone tracking, always answer my texts or calls immediately or within a reasonable time frame when not in school or practice, no dead battery excuses. But I know teenagers can be sneaky, so I have a backup tracking plan that I keep secret from her. I have an extra older version iphone on my family plan that I use as an emergency phone. I hide this phone somewhere in the car that I let my daughter drive, kept on silent. It’s always charged so I can track it when my daughter is out.
Before Brett’s dad got there, I walked around asking the bouncers at the bars if they had seen my daughter or her friend (I showed them photos). I finally talked to one who remembered turning away my daughter and Brett earlier in the night for trying to use fake IDs. I was livid. I wandered the area and eventually found my daughter and Brett hanging out at a coffee house. I waited for Brett’s dad to park before going in. I asked him what his understanding of the situation was, and he told me as far as his ex told him, the kids were supposed to be at home doing prep work for a oratory competition.
I told Brett’s dad where I was and he and I walked into the cafe together to retrieve our kids. After we returned home, my daughter confessed to trying to sneak into a gay club with Brett, who apparently is closeted to his parents and school. She was most upset that I outed Brett to his parents this way. But she has not given me any reason to trust her or her friend Brett given their behavior this weekend. 

Seriously, this loser has just guaranteed that his kid will never, ever come to him with anything that's happening in her life. He's shown her that he will betray her trust and treat her like a thief and a liar.

"Oh, but she told lies."

Right. Because she knew she couldn't trust her parents.

Dad may think he's won, but by "winning" this skirmish, he's lost the entire war.

Source is here.

Monday, March 02, 2020


Here in Arkansas, everyone is going prepper about this thing.

"Buy toilet paper!"

"I'm stocking up on pasta and rice and beans."

"See if your pharmacy will give you a 90 day supply of your meds."

"Don't forget pet food!"

It's worse than when it snows.

Here are some facts, as opposed to silly screeching.

See also this.