Tag Archive | news

Weekend Update 4/4/2020: Lying liars, flip flopping, and one funny suggestion

Once again it’s time for some news that either came in too late for this week’s Friday Five, or is a new development in a story I’ve commented upon previously, or otherwise didn’t quite make the cut before. As you can tell form the title of the post, I’m going to be talking about a lot of bad people here. If you would like a laugh, instead, scroll down to the bottom and click on the video. And learn something while you’re at it!

First up, you remember that there are a few Senators and Congresspeople who made suspiciously timed decision to sell of stock after getting classified intelligence briefings on the coronavirus threat? There is a bit more news on that front: U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s most recent financial disclosures show that millions of dollars in stocks were sold on her behalf at the same time Congress was dealing with the impact of the coronavirus. She continues to insist that these transactions were carried out by her financial advisor without any discussion with her, but the more news comes out the less credible that seems. She and her husband (who happens to the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange) didn’t just happen to sell off stocks in industries sure to take a big hit when the pandemic hit U.S. shores, but they also coincidentally bought up a lot of stock in companies that manufacture medical face masks and the like.

Right, coincidence!

Even though we now know that she had been briefed on the grim statistics of how quickly the disease would spread, how many millions would eventually get sick, and how high the death toll could go, she was making public statements to constiuents and donors that there was nothing to worry about.

Even Fox News’ most notorious liar isn’t buying it: Tucker Carlson: Sen. Kelly Loeffler Should Resign if She Knew About Stock Trades.

Resignation is the minimum that should happen.

Moving on…

Critics Pile On After Kushner’s Virus Response Lies, Federal Website Edited To Make Him Appear Truthful. Kushner claimed that the federal stockpile of medical ventilators was never intended for the states, but rather, “they belong to us.” Just who does he thing us is?

The Strategic National Stockpile of critical medical equipment was created by an Act of Congress in 1998. And the act specifies that the purpose is to make sure those critical medical supplies are ready to be deployed to any state or territory where a critical public health crisis arises.

“Gangsters don't hire family members because they're qualified. Gangsters hire family members because they're less likely to talk to the FBI.”

“Gangsters don’t hire family members because they’re qualified. Gangsters hire family members because they’re less likely to talk to the FBI.” (Click to embiggen)

I know he’s an idiot. No, seriously. He’s what certain types of really stupid people think is a smart person. Which means he’s good at lying on his feet and using words that sound like he knows what he’s talking about. But he’s an idiot and a con artist, who couldn’t pass a basic security check and is in office (in violation of The Federal Anti-Nepotism Statute) because Trump wants him there. His motives are not public service, his motives are always his own personal gain, and the personal gain of his patrons. And ordering someone to change the government website that describes the reserve doesn’t change the law.

Remember, Kushner is the idiot who did this: Inside Jared Kushner’s coronavirus research: A wide net on a giant Facebook group. That’s right, he had access to all the experts at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and so forth, but what did Jared do? He called his brother’s father-in-law who happens to be a doctor.

The stupid, it burns!

Moving on!

Texas Christian radio host ‘Doc’ Gallagher gets 25 years for bilking Christian investors out of millions. Not only isn’t he a registered investment advisor (for which he was fined previously for falsely claiming), he’s not an ordained minister, so I the headline can’t call him a scamvangelist (even though that’s what he is). I’ll just quote this:

“He took advantage of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. He targeted elderly investors and individuals attracted to his Christian ideals and then stole from them.”
—lead prosecutor Alexis Goldate

Yeah, great Christian values, there.

Okay, enough about bad people. Here is a helpful video for those who need a face mask for their next excursion. I hope it at least makes you chuckle:

Friday Five (legal bloodbath edition)

“Trump held rallies on: Jan 9th, Jan 14th, Jan 28th, Jan 30th, Feb 10th, Feb 19th, Feb 20th, Feb 21st, Feb 28th... Trump golfed on: Jan 18th, Jan 19th, Feb 1st, Feb 15th, Math 7th, Mar 8th... But SURE, impeachment, which ended on Feb 5th, is what stopped him from resonding to the coronavirus until late March...”

Click to embiggen! “Trump held rallies on: Jan 9th, Jan 14th, Jan 28th, Jan 30th, Feb 10th, Feb 19th, Feb 20th, Feb 21st, Feb 28th… Trump golfed on: Jan 18th, Jan 19th, Feb 1st, Feb 15th, Math 7th, Mar 8th… But SURE, impeachment, which ended on Feb 5th, is what stopped him from resonding to the coronavirus until late March…”

We’ve reached the first Friday in April.

I’ve started on Camp NaNoWriMo, but my word count so far is pathetic. On the other hand, at one point on Thursday evening I realized that it was like the umpteenth time that day that I had shared a whiny story related to my work (I’m working from home in an industry that is considered essential, whereas my husband was furloughed last week and we’re both trying to adjust to being housebound together more than ever before)… so I recognized the expression on his face as being less than thrilled at my topic of discussion. So I said, “I need to stop talking about work, or you’re going to either divorce me or strangle me.” And he responded with: “Oh, I won’t DIVORCE you…” Which made me observe: “I see strangling is still on the menu…”

He did not contradict my conclusion.

So… I put on my headphones, picked one of my more compelling playlists, and started working on this post while trying very hard to resist any urge I had to pause and talk to him.

Meanwhile, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about the pandemic, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

Fox News purportedly bracing for “legal bloodbath” after peddling coronavirus misinformation. Couldn’t happen to more deserving people, business, or network…

Authors, Publishers Condemn The ‘National Emergency Library’ As ‘Piracy’. Let me correct this headline: “vMedia Fails to Recognize The ‘National Emergency Library’ As Piracy Until Called Out.”

A Neighborhood Celebrated A Teen’s Last Chemo Session With A Coronavirus-Appropriate Parade.

It is not ethical to pirate an author’s work without their permission.

Craving Canon Is Killing the Way We Talk About Movies and TV.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

‘We both rolled over in bed. Me: ‘I’m gay.’ Her: ‘I’m transgender.’ Silence. Now what? I’m married. HAPPILY married!’: Couple stays together despite realizing sexual preferences weren’t as they initially thought.

U.S. Eases Restrictions on Gay Men Donating Blood Amid Covid-19.

Gay Men Barred from Donating Potentially Lifesaving Blood Plasma to Critically Ill Coronavirus Patients.

Gay Man Tearfully Recalls Husband, First ER Doctor to Die from Coronavirus, in Gut-Wrenching Interview.

California’s Same-Sex Marriage Foes Press to Keep Trial Video Under Wraps. Hateful bigots know that when their arguments are shown to the public the public embraces our side…

This Week in COVID-19:

What We Know So Far About Possible Coronavirus Treatments Promoted by Trump.

AOC Blasted the “Shameful” Corporate Bailouts in the Senate’s Coronavirus Relief Bill.

Global condom shortage looms as coronavirus shuts down production – World’s biggest producer says lockdown has already caused shortfall of 100m condoms.

Trump’s coronavirus response is a failure by his own standards.

‘Religious liberty’ argument, once hindering LGBTQ rights, is now endangering COVID-19 prevention.

In Memoriam:

Their Mom Died Of The Coronavirus. They Had To Say Goodbye Via Walkie-Talkie – “She was a supermom, you know?”.

Terrence McNally, acclaimed gay playwright, dies at 81.

Terrence McNally, Tony award-winning playwright, dies of coronavirus complications.

Rage for Terrence McNally.

Things I wrote:

Star Trek: Picard wraps season one in a retro doozy.

Sunday Night Update: We need some good news.

“You’re going that way”.

Tuesday Tidbits: No joke, some people don’t understand….

No foolin’ — and let’s go to Camp!.

A little brain dead.

Videos!

Stephen Colbert Returns With A Message: America, You Got This:

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Trump Fights with Governors, Reporters Over Coronavirus Response: A Closer Look:

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Coronavirus III: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO):

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Trump’s “New Tone” On Coronavirus | The Daily Social Distancing Show:

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:Dua Lipa – Break My Heart (Official Video)

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Tuesday Tidbits: No joke, some people don’t understand…

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Some of these links almost ended up in a Weekend Update post, but I wound up going with some more upbeat news, instead. Let’s look at some news that broke after last week’s Friday Five that ought to be covered now rather than wait for Friday.

So, first, up, a drunk Fox news host!

Saturday night Judge Pirro’s show started a bit later than usual supposedly because of technical difficulties. Once things got going, well… Was a Disheveled Judge Jeanine Pirro Tipsy After Fox News Show Delayed for ‘Technical Difficulties’?. I’ve watched the video. Slurred speech, incoherence, at least one point you could see her putting the glass down… she was frikkin’ hammered.

Of course, she can’t admit the obvious that every single person watching saw, instead she screamed “haters!” on twitter all day Sunday: Jeanine Pirro responds to critics of appearance on Fox News show – Pro-Trump anchor appeared late and apparently disheveled on Saturday night, leading to social media speculation. I get it, she was broadcasting from home, had to do her own hair and make-up and didn’t have a teleprompter. But why does that cause her speech to be slurred, and his facial expression to have that classic drunk-off-her-ass look?

(click to embiggen)

Meanwhile, let’s check in on the super hypocritical evangelical most famous for strange relationships with pool boys.

What’s he been up to lately? ‘He’s Going to Do Whatever He Wants’ – Jerry Falwell Jr.’s decision to reopen Liberty University’s campus amid the coronavirus pandemic has sparked anger and confusion—even among those usually sympathetic to him. That’s right, while other universities have switched to online classes and urged students to practice social distancing, Jerry insisted that students come back to campus! Don’t worry about the virus, he said! I’ve talked to several health experts and local government officials, and they are thanking me for insisting that all of you have to come back or forfeit tuition and room and board fees!

Except all of those experts and officials tell a very different story: Jerry Falwell, Jr. Lied About Who Supported His Decision to Re-open Liberty U.

Why is he doing this? You may remember in previous coverage of the pool boy scandals, that there is a lot of evidence Falwell, his wife, and kids have been using University resources to finance not just his lavish lifestyle but also a lot of questionable real estate deals. So, of course: Liberty University is resisting pressure from students to refund room and board costs during the coronavirus crisis.

All of which leads to the inevitable: Multiple Students Are Sick At Reopened Liberty Campus.

And never forget that Falwell Junior has never been a paragon of virtue:

Let’s move on…

(click to embiggen)

The conspiracy-spouting scam artist

So what about the man who makes money spouting off conspiracy theories, including claiming that children killed in school mass shootings never existed, and how his “vitamin supplements” can cure literally anything: Google Store Finally Bans Infowars App Over Virus Lies – Apple kicked Alex Jones out of the App Store in 2018. The Google Play Store has finally followed suit.

The two uses of the word finally are definitely called for. But there’s more…

(Click to embiggen)

So there is a temporary hospital being built in Central Park in New York City. Sounds like a much needed facility, right? Well, there is one very big problem: Group Behind Central Park Coronavirus Tent Hospital Demands That Volunteers Support Anti-Gay Agenda. It’s Franklin Graham and the associated ministries behind this. And it is a very old trick of the bigots: pretend to do a charitable thing, but contrary to the teachings of the Jesus they claim to follow, they want to put conditions on the charity.

The entire point is to rub the message in the face of every faggot: “we hate you, you’re going to hell, and we think you deserve to die.” The only reason to add this kind of thing to the volunteer application is to get applauded for what they’re doing while most of the people doing the applauding don’t even look at the statement. It’s a chance to make clear they have the power to do this, the privilege to help those they deem worthy while spitting in the faces of their favorite enemies.


That’s enough news about deplorable people. Let’s close out with some sobering facts to remind us why we should be taking this pandemic seriously.

Oregon’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” campaign:

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Sunday Night Update: We need some good news

(click to embiggen)

I started to do a Weekend Update this morning… but then decided I needed a nap. Then I had to help my husband with a couple of errands and so one…

But then a couple of new bits of news came through tonight and I decided I had to share:

Italy: 101-year-old influenza survivor beats COVID-19. He was born during the flu pandemic at the end of World War I and survived it, now he’s survived this. Wow.

Trump Backs Off “Aspirational” Plan To Open By Easter. Of course, as often as he changes his mind, who knows what will happen?

Friday Five (breathtaking spike edition)

We’ve reached the final Friday in March.

Now not only am I working from home every single day, but my husband is also home because he has been furloughed. Like literally millions of other people. It is slightly amusing to see him go from his usual cheapskate mode to a new Super Cheapskate! Have to find the humor where we can, I guess.

Meanwhile, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about the pandemic, five stories about deplorable people, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

A Breathtaking 3 Million People Filed For Unemployment Last Week As Coronavirus Shutdowns Hit.

Topless Tongan is Hosting Fitness Classes on Olympics Instagram.

Giant Burmese python found on Australian woman’s porch.

Mammal study explains ‘why females live longer’.

Stop Hating on the Hoarders – These hogs are mostly harmless and they might even be doing us a public service.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

28 Oldest Gay Celebs (and Why We Still Love Them).

We Survived AIDS, We Can Survive This: Why You Should Listen to Your Gay Elders.

Library of Congress Inducts Village People’s Gay Disco Anthem ‘Y.M.C.A.’ Into National Recording Registry.

LGBTQ dance party goes digital amid coronavirus pandemic.

Teen Who Stabbed Grindr ‘Date’ 128 Times and Left Him to Die is Jailed for 24 Years to Life.

This Week in COVID-19:

What I Learned When My Husband Got Sick With Coronavirus.

AMA Denounces Doctors For Hoarding Malaria Drug.

Coronavirus and the Cocoanut Grove Effect .

Medical Worker: Seeing Terrifying Lung Failure Even in Young Patients Completely Changed My Perspective on COVID-19.

Coronavirus: Woman whose husband died from chloroquine says not to trust Trump .

This Week in Deplorables:

Virginia Pastor Who Said COVID-19 Was Anti-Trump “Mass Hysteria” Dies of Virus.

Man under investigation for plotting an attack at a hospital believed to be treating Covid-19 patients was killed during an FBI investigation.

It Took A CNN Interview And A Twitter Fight For IL Gov TO Get Mask, Ventilators From Trump.

Trump’s Bible study teacher says coronavirus was caused by gays & environmentalists.

Richard Burr’s troubles are not going away. So why isn’t he?

In Memoriam:

‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ star Mark Blum dead from coronavirus at 69.

The Beloved Kenny Rogers Runs Out of Aces.

Bill Rieflin Dead – Nine Inch Nails & R.E.M. Drummer Dies at 59.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update: talk about insider trading and disaster profiteering.

Sunday Silliness: A couple of takes on the Quarantini.

“Et in Arcadia ego” finds Jean-Luc’s motley crew confronting mortality while wrestling moral dilemmas.

This post contains nothing momentous nor newsworthy.

I’ve already survived one plague where people said the victims weren’t worth saving… and now?

Thursday Tidbits: Reading about angry people while social distancing.

Italian coronavirus patient shares experience: ‘I wore a breathing helmet for six days’:

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SOCIAL DISTANCE – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody:

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Niall Horan – Put A Little Love On Me (Official):

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Come Rain Or Come Shine:

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Colorado Symphony’s Digital Ode to Joy:

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Thursday Tidbits: Reading about angry people while social distancing

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It’s nearly the end of my fourth week of working from home full-time because of the pandemic. The state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order hasn’t been in effect that long. I chose to work from home four Mondays ago on a day when I would normally go in because I had developed a cough1 over the weekend, just to be safe. I didn’t want to be the person who infected other people if I happened to have this thing, right? Later that week, my boss encouraged everyone to work from home… and then we had the first request (not an order) from the state to all the tech companies to let employees who could work from home do so, and so the executives sent out the message to that effect.

I regularly worked from home at least two days a week for quite some time before then, so I didn’t expect it would be much of an adjustment3. And I’m an introvert, who while I like spending time with my friends, need to spend quite a bit of time alone in order to not be mega-cranky.

My husband, in the meantime, was still having to go into work five days a week4, which of course had me fretting. I’ve been fretting about all my friends and loved ones throughout this mess. Earlier this week, he and most of his co-workers were furloughed, so he’s going to be home with me all the time for the foreseeable future. Which means slightly less fretting, right? Of course it also means we need to figure out some new routines.

On the one hand, it helps that he’s also an introvert, and we already have a habit of spending most of our time at home ignoring each other. He usually sits at his computer and I sit at mine. If I’m watching TV he’s usually playing games on his computer, or designing 3D figures to print on his 3D printer, or sitting at the table painting said figures. So we’ve got that part sorted, for now.

But worrying about everyone else does wear on you. And even though I have been a news junkie5 since I was a kid, I’ve noticed that I’m starting to avoid some of my usual news sources during my daily reading. But even though I’m trying to avoid some of those external sources of anxiety, stuff still comes across my stream that just demands a comment.

For instance, White nationalist planned to bomb a Missouri hospital as revolt against coronavirus lockdowns. Seriously? Geeze. If you don’t want to click through, the guy was under surveillance by the FBI for some time because he was active on some of the same neo-Nazi message boards as several other people arrested over the last few months for similar plans. He had been in communication with someone he thought was building a bomb that could be installed in his car, and he showed up to pick up the bomb, not realizing it was an FBI sting. He resisted arrest, and got shot and killed in the process.

Bombing a hospital? Really?

I really don’t understand some people.

Meanwhile, there is a slightly positive development in another news story about an angry white nationalist: Christchurch shootings: Brenton Tarrant pleads guilty to 51 murders – A man accused of deadly attacks on mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch a year ago has pleaded guilty to 51 charges of murder. At least the families of the victims won’t have to watch a long jury trial uncertain of the outcome.

Speaking of angry white men who may finally be held accountable for some bad stuff they’ve done: Alex Jones Loses Sandy Hook Court Appeal, Must Now Pay Nearly $150,000 In Legal Fees. I hope he keeps losing lawsuits from the families of those murdered children until he’s homeless8.

Another feature of angry white men we don’t spend enough time talking about is just how stupid they are. And it’s the kind of stupid that causes real harm to others. So I’m going to close with this video, where Rachel Maddow talks about one such stupid angry white guy. Take it away, Rachel!

Rachel Maddow blasts Mississippi governor for banning cities from coronavirus business closures:

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Footnotes:

1. A couple days before that tree pollen count went into the deep red, and what few other symptoms I had were consistent with a severe hay fever attack, so I was fairly certain I didn’t have the coronavirus2. But, better safe than sorry, right?

2. I have been following the advice from the World Health Organization of checking my temperature several times a day ever since. I have had no fever in that time. The cough went away for a while, then came back, and then went away. No other symptoms have shown up, so knock wood!

3. And when some people on some of the podcasts I regularly listen to were talking about how difficult it was coming up with things to do to amuse themselves while avoiding going out, I admit I chuckled. I have so many books in my to-read pile, for instance! And there are all those shows I have been trying to get to on the various streaming services! The problem isn’t finding things to do, the problem is still not having enough time for the things I want to watch, read, or listen to!

4. Riding the bus back and forth twice a day. At least he doesn’t work directly with the public like he used to. He even pointed out that because his workbench in in a cage (because he works on hard disk and other highly valuable things that are easy to pocket), most of the time all of his co-workers are far enough from him to prevent casual infection.

5. I sometimes blame Weekly Reader6, which was this sort of mini newspaper that we used to get in some of the elementary schools I attended. The idea of Weekly Reader was to provide age-appropriate versions of the big news stories kids might be hearing their parents talking about or whatever. It was an interesting publication.

6. Though my paternal grandfather was a big fan of reading the newspaper, as well as the nightly news. And most of the radio stations in most of the places we lived during my childhood had an hourly news break provided by one of the major networks. And there always seemed to be a station that carried the Paul Harvey show at noon7.

7. Which I now realize had a quite skewed viewpoint and was as likely to report urban legends as it was real news, but there was something entertaining about it.

8. He deserves much worse, of course.

I’ve already survived one plague where people said the victims weren’t worth saving… and now?

“I never encountered anyone who is willing to die for someone else’s 401k. This is a whole new level of craziness.” — former FBI special agent Ali H. Soufan

“I never encountered anyone who is willing to die for someone else’s 401k. This is a whole new level of craziness.” — former FBI special agent Ali H. Soufan

HIV is not a casually infectious illness, requiring intimate contact and an exchange of bodily fluids to transmit, however, there are a few similarities between the height of the AIDS crisis and our current situation in the COVID-19 pandemic. One of those similarities is the fact that people can be infectious without any obvious symptoms. You can’t tell looking at a person that they are sick. Another similarity—one I’m frankly a bit surprised at—is how quickly a number of people have started talking about the people who seem to be most at-risk to die from the illness as being expendable.

I linked to this story a couple of days ago: Wall Street Journal Types Wonder Aloud If Nation’s Health Is ‘Worth’ The Economic Hit. And then of course there was this guy: Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick: I and Many Other Grandparents Would Rather Die from COVID-19 Than See the Economy Ruined . And online I’ve seen a number of people grumbling because they think only older people are vulnerable to serious illness. One comment that was extremely chilling: “Why do we have to suffer to keep some people alive who don’t have that many years left, anyway?”

It may not be quite as bad as that time (when I was a very closeted guy in my early-twenties) while my head was bowed in church when the pastor leading the prayer thanked god for the scourge of AIDS which was “killing all the gays” but it came close. Nor is it quite as bad as the time a college classmate said to me, “I know Jesus said to take care of the sick, but they didn’t know what caused all illnesses back then. We know what causes AIDS…”

So, in both cases we are talking about a virus. As I have pointed out, outside of the U.S., the vast majority of people who have been sickened and died of AIDS are straight women and children, not gay men. HIV is a virus, a natural phenomenon which is passed from person-to-person through behaviors that are a natural part of being a human being.

And while you can cherry pick the data to show that older people are more likely to die of complications of COVID-19, they aren’t the only people who do. In fact, that data is looking more and more suspect as time goes on: The Coronavirus Is Sending Lots Of Younger People To The Hospital – It’s increasingly clear that early data out of China was an anomaly: the coronavirus is severely harming substantial numbers of people under 50, too.

We know that factors which increase the likelihood of developing severe symptoms include a lot of chronic health problems that are widespread in the population. About 60% of adults have at least one of those known chronic health disorders. We also know that people how smoke or who are ex-smokers are at higher risk for getting severely ill. We have less data about whether vaping is also a risk factor, but it isn’t unreasonable to think so.

But there’s another risk factor that people aren’t taking into consideration: lack of health care options. Sure, it appears that the death rate is about 3.4% in general… yet we have places such as Italy and Spain that are seeing something closer to 8%, and at least one reason why is that so many people got sick at the same time that there weren’t enough hospital beds for the severely sick, and there weren’t enough respirators for those severely sick people who needed them.

Which is why the shelter-in-place/stay-at-home orders are important. Slowing the spread makes it possible that we might not have too many people severely sick at the same time than we have facilities for.

Though it’s quite likely that several spots in the U.S. are going to overwhelm their medical facilities, soon.

I am worried about my own health, it’s true. I am far more worried about the health of people that I know and love. I am worried about the economic hardships many are already facing, and that a lot more of us may be facing, soon. But most of those economic hardships (and many worse) will happen if infection rates surge to the point that millions die. The notion that ordinary people aren’t going to face disruptions and financial problems if all the orders are lifted and everyone goes back to work is simply wrong.

Humans are social animals. One of our survival traits as a species is that we take care of each other. My community didn’t survive the plague of AIDS by taking an “everyone for themself” attitude. The world won’t survive if you fail to learn the lessons of our ordeal:

Love One Another or Die: Lessons for Coronavirus From the HIV/AIDS Crisis.

Survivors Of The AIDS Crisis Share How We Can Get Through The Coronavirus Pandemic.


Edited to Add: I’d already started the draft of this post before this tweet went across my timeline and I chose to re-tweet it. Decided I should add it here:

Friday Five (virtual book club edition)


We’ve reached the third Friday in March and also the official beginning of spring (in the northern hemisphere).

More of the world is working from home this week. My husband’s place of work has cut down on hours, so he’s not having to leave the house as many days each week. That has a marginal decrease on my anxiety, and for now we’re trying really hard not to worry about economics.

Meanwhile, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five (pandemic-free) stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about responding to the pandemic, five stories about the pandemic, one story in a category of its own, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

The Cold Crowdfunding Campaign: Save the Girl and Save Me From Having to Toss Her Out of the Airlock. A superb parody…

Stop With the Superhero Babies! It Never Works.

Fossil ‘wonderchicken’ could be earliest known fowl.

How thin, delicate butterfly wings keep from overheating.

What scientists learned after firing a small cannonball into a near-Earth asteroid.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Inventor of the world wide web: the internet isn’t working for LGBTQ women.

‘Intertwined with the Trump Administration,’ Anti-LGBT Hate Groups Rose Sharply in 2019.

This Gay Historian’s Book Club for the Coronavirus Quarantine Could Help Save Us All.

Trans Judge Candidate Wins, Anti-LGBTQ Congressman Loses in Illinois.

A quarantined gay man played piano on his balcony for neighbors. Then someone brought out the sax.

This Week in Responding to a Crisis:

Grocery store workers in Minnesota classified as emergency workers.

Netflix urged to slow down streaming to stop the internet from breaking – Can the internet take all this extra bandwidth usage?

Trump signs major coronavirus relief package meant to ease burden of pandemic.

Idaho GOP ignores coronavirus in favor of requiring medical tests for transgender student athletes.

California Gov. Newsom issues order for entire state to stay at home due to coronavirus.

This Week in COVID-19:

The Impact of COVID-19 on Air Quality in US Cities.

Hixson man faces price-gouging investigation for attempt to profit from sanitizer sales amid coronavirus outbreak.

Warning: Turns Out Coronavirus Is Dangerous To Millennials, Too.

Italy’s coronavirus death toll overtakes China’s.

Throngs of travelers arriving back in the US are jam-packed in airports after Trump’s coronavirus travel ban.

This Week in Finally:

Tulsi Gabbard ends White House bid, endorses Biden. It’s not that I want everyone to rally ’round Biden already, it’s just that I really wanted her out: “She had also become the subject of widespread skepticism among national Democrats, often rebuked for her past anti-LGBT rhetoric, isolationist brand of diplomacy and 2017 meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom she declined to label a war criminal despite the dictator’s use of chemical weapons to attack his own people.” There were only three candidates still in the running in last week’s mini-Tuesday… and still she came in sixth place. For good reason!

In Memoriam:

Actor Stuart Whitman Dead at 92.

Lyle Waggoner, Actor on ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ and ‘Wonder Woman,’ Dies at 84v- He auditioned for ‘Batman,’ posed as the first centerfold for ‘Playgirl’ and launched a successful business catering to Hollywood behind the scenes.

Things I wrote:

Sunday Update: Please stop hoarding!

Picard tries to start mending all the “Broken Pieces”— the new series takes a Lovecraftian turn.

Confessions of a (supposedly) Veteran Remote Worker.

Videos!

Coronavirus II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO):

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Stephen Colbert: No Red States Or Blue States, Just 50 Anxious Pale States:

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ELM – Golden (Official Video):

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Sam Smith – To Die For (Acoustic):

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Lisa Loeb – Sing Out:

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Sunday Update: Please stop hoarding!

I’ve been trying not to get all ranty and also not to turn this blog into all-pandemic all-the-time, but… Here’s the thing. I know that all of us are anxious, and it feels as if washing our hands and avoiding crowded places, and wiping down the handle of our shopping cart, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera isn’t really doing anything. But the panicked buying and the profiteering isn’t actually helping, either.

Besides being an old fart, and therefore automatically in a higher risk group for getting severely sick, I am also diabetic (and before certain people chime in, it’s been identified as one of the genetic types, so no, there is absolutely no amount of exercise nor weight loss that could prevent it—I have long joked the diabetes doesn’t run in my dad’s family, it stampedes and now I have medical proof that it isn’t a joke). Besides putting me in yet another high risk category, what that also means is that a couple times a day I have to swab some part of my skin with alcohol, poke it with a lancing device, and place a drop of blood on a test strip to check my blood sugar (while pressing the alcohol swab to the pinprick to help stop the bleeding in a sterile way), and at least once a day I also have to inject myself with the medication that controls my condition and guess what—that also requires swabbing some spot of my skin with alcohol before stabbing myself with the needle (and afterward wiping again, as per medical recommendations).

Now, I come for a long, long, long line of penny-pinchers, so I worked out the routine a long time ago of doing the swab-lance-test-press-swab-stab-inject-swab-again routine in a short enough time frame that it only takes one alcohol wipe to get the test and inject job done. But, that’s the morning injection. I’m also supposed to check my blood sugar twice more during the day, and under certain circumstances, inject myself with a second medication at bedtime.

So when all the panic-buying started, I double-checked my wipe supply and confirmed that I had an unopened box in the cabinet in addition to the box I was using. And I had two. (Because it’s cheaper to order the three-pack). Then I reached the end of the current box, and I told myself, “That’s fine, I have a couple more boxes.” But then I saw enough comments about people having things back-ordered and I thought, “Okay, though this should last me a couple of months, maybe it’s okay to order a single box, knowing that it isn’t going to ship for many weeks.”

That was merely eight days ago. This morning I got the third update in that time advising me that the arrival date is being pushed back some more.

The problem is that some people will read this and think, “Oh, no! I need to buy more of blank just in case…” which is just going to make things worse.

Since we’re on the subject, let’s dive in:

Please Stop Treating Me Like I’m Disposable When You Talk About The Coronavirus . This one really hits several spots. I keep seeing people insisted that “only a few percent of people are at risk” and variants. First, a lot of people are at risk. High risk groups include older people, and if you are not old you may think that means it doesn’t matter to you—but what about your parents and other older relatives? Do you really not care about them?

But it’s more than just “old people” who are at risk, it is also people with pre-existing chronic health conditions (including high blood pressure [33% of adults in America], diabetes [9.4% of Americans], heart disease [6% of adults in America], and a wide variety of chronic illnesses and disabilities that compromise the immune system). The best guess is about 60% of the population has at least one such underlying health issue, and 40% have more than one.

So think of it this way: imagine yourself and your two best friends get infected. Out of just those three people, statistically, two of you are probably at higher risk to develop a severe case and require hospitalization and a ventilator/respirator to have any hope of surviving.

And no, I’m not making that up: What Will You Do If You Start Coughing? “Stay home” is not a sufficient plan. When health officials say most people will have mild symptoms, that word doesn’t mean what you think it means: “a “mild” case of COVID-19 is not equivalent to a mild cold. Expect it to be much worse: fever and coughing, sometimes pneumonia—anything short of requiring oxygen.”

But wait, there’s more: “Flattening the Curve” is a deadly delusion. “Once a person is on the ventilator, it often takes about 4 weeks for them to get out of intensive care again.”

And: This Coronavirus Is Unlike Anything in Our Lifetime — Here’s Why We Need to Stop Comparing It to the Flu.

And don’t get me started on all the lies and worse in the White House press briefings…

That’s enough of depressing news. Don’t forget to wash your hands (soap and water are fine). Also, moisturize! While the washing literally kills the virus (and other nanoparticals), it also damages the skin, which makes your hands more vulnerable. Your skin is your first defense, so use some lotion regularly, too!

Finally, Randy Rainbow has humorously summarized many related issues, while making a parody for a song from one of my favorite under-appreciated musicals (Guys and Dolls)—

The CORONAVIRUS Lament – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody:

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Edited to add: Some comments indicated people don’t understand what kind of alcohol wipes I’m talking about in the opening two paragraphs. They are TINY little wipes intended for a single medical purpose. They aren’t big enough to effectively wipes door handles, cart handles, doorknobs, and other large objects in the real world that need to be disinfected.

Friday Five (it’s not the flu edition)

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We’ve reached the second Friday in March, and everyone is starting to learn about social distancing.

This is the second week that I (and my entire department) have been working from home at the direction of upper management. I am exceedingly lucky that my work can be done over the internet and that my employer is set up for that. It makes me feel extremely guilty that a lot of other people can’t. Including my husband. And I only have anxiety attacks about him (and many other friends and relatives) a dozen or so times a day.

Meanwhile, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about deplorable things and the people fighting them, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

Why Are Women Less Likely Than Men To Support Sanders? Data that backs up what I’ve been saying for over three years: “It’s hard to pin down a single reason why men seem to be more attracted to Sanders’s candidacy than women… But there is evidence, according to an analysis by Dan Cassino, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, that while support for Biden increases among voters with more sexist views, those with the most sexist views were disproportionately likely to favor Sanders. And sexism was higher, in general, among men.”

What Will You Do If You Start Coughing? – “Stay home” is not a sufficient plan.

Scientists Discover Smallest Dinosaur on Record – International team finds tiny, tooth-filled skull of a predatorial bird preserved in 99-million-year-old Burmese amber.

Why plastic is a deadly attraction for sea turtles.

Can I Get Coronavirus via Sex – All Your Horny Little Coronavirus Questions, Answered.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Psychologists’ Group Supports Trans Restroom Access, LGBTQ Parents.

Disney Boss Shuts Down Shareholder Claiming LGBTQ Content Is Hurting the Company.

Trans woman wins $50K after she was told she couldn’t live “around children”.

LGBTQ voters turned out in record numbers on Super Tuesday.

Pixar’s Onward ‘banned by four Middle East countries’ over gay reference.

This Week in Deplorables and People Fighting Them:

Baptist Church in Florida Hires Convicted Child Molester as Pastor.

Sex Before Marriage Is Now Legal in Virginia.

“There Are So Many Examples”: Kamala Harris Opened Up About How She Was Covered As A Black Candidate.

Trump’s Coronavirus Bungling Has Only Boosted Joe Biden’s Return-to-Normalcy Campaign.

“He’s Definitely Melting Down Over This”: Trump, Germaphobe in Chief, Struggles to Control the Covid-19 Story.

In Memoriam:

‘Boys in the Band’ Playwright Mart Crowley Dead at 84.

Mart Crowley Dies: The Trailblazing ‘Boys In The Band’ Playwright Was 84.

Max von Sydow, Star of ‘Seventh Seal’ and ‘Exorcist,’ Dies at 90.

Earl Kemp (1929-2020).

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 03/07/2020: Men with more money, hate, and self-loathing than sense.

“Nepenthe” predicts Picard will be up to his ass in Romulans for the rest of his life.

It’s another primary election day, or, confessions of a “perfect voter”.

Videos:

The Ingraham Angle Coronavirus Cold Open – SNL:

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Patrick Stewart Answers the Web’s Most Searched Questions | WIRED:

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Stargirl Teaser #2:

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Billie Eilish Live – bad guy – American Airlines Arena – Miami – 3/9/20 2020 – Where Do We Go Tour:

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Lose You To Love Me (Selena Gomez) Cover By Kelly Clarkson:

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