Everything is upside down.

Jesus, I hope we don’t have another week like this one for a while. In recent months, my editor and I at Deadline, our radio guy and a rotating special guest do a week-that-was podcast. This week we’ll be talking about the primary and COVID. Standing here, on Thursday night, the election seems like it was a month ago. Today was so bananas, with news of more COVID disruption coming every hour. This was my favorite:

Gobert spreading the love at LCA 3/7/2020 from r/DetroitPistons

That’s Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz player who tested positive for the big C, pulling off his compression sleeves and throwing them to the crowd. Lucky kids! Ah well – they’re out of school tomorrow and maybe for some time afterward. Everything is in an uproar. Kate called from Bakersfield today, crushed — most of their tour is cancelled, Europe as well, they have a long drive back and everything is terrible.

I hope they don’t need any toilet paper on the way home. My local Kroger:

That’s the toilet paper section. I don’t know why toilet paper is what we’re hoarding. There’s still plenty of pasta and beans and so on. You run out of t.p. and you can make do with a rag, disgusting though it may be. But if you need to eat, you need actual food.

This world is so stupid. This week has been so long

Who watched that shitshow last night? If that guy wasn’t on serious drugs, I’ll eat my remaining stash of t.p. (Six rolls.) What a fuckup – a 12-minute scripted speech, and they were issuing corrections on it within half an hour. Of course, it’s not like there’s much at stake, is there:

ROME — The mayor of one town complained that doctors were forced to decide not to treat the very old, leaving them to die. In another town, patients with coronavirus-caused pneumonia were being sent home. Elsewhere, a nurse collapsed with her mask on, her photograph becoming a symbol of overwhelmed medical staff.

In less than three weeks, the coronavirus has overloaded the heath care system all over northern Italy. It has turned the hard hit Lombardy region into a grim glimpse of what awaits countries if they cannot slow the spread of the virus and ‘‘flatten the curve’’ of new cases — allowing the sick to be treated without swamping the capacity of hospitals.

If not, even hospitals in developed countries with the world’s best health care risk becoming triage wards, forcing ordinary doctors and nurses to make extraordinary decisions about who may live and who may die. Wealthy northern Italy is facing a version of that nightmare already.

I did my part by rewatching “Contagion,” like everybody else in the world.

Eh. It’s late and I’m exhausted. But before I go, please spare a good thought or a prayer for our own Jeff Gill, whose father died “peacefully and unexpectedly” today in Texas. Condolences to one of our best community members.

Have a good weekend, all.

Posted at 10:02 pm in Current events |

109 responses to “Everything is upside down.”

  1. jcburns said on March 12, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    Sorry for your loss, Jeff. Sounds like he had a ‘mild-mannered’ departure, and in these turbulent times, that can sometimes be the best you can hope for.

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  2. David C. said on March 12, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    We were at the grocery store yesterday and the toilet paper was well stocked. I didn’t see any sign of panic buying of anything. For some reason, I find that disappointing. With everyone staying home, I wonder if there will be a baby boomlet in nine months.

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  3. LAMary said on March 12, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    Peace and grace to you, Jeff.

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  4. Mark P said on March 12, 2020 at 11:37 pm

    I can’t remember whether I commented on this already, but here goes: There are now two cases here in Georgia where people went to the ER with mild symptoms but were not tested because they did not meet the criteria. They were sent home. A few days later both returned with more severe symptoms, were tested, and were found to be positive. So, infected and infectious people were sent back into the general population because of a lack of testing capability.

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  5. beb said on March 13, 2020 at 12:26 am

    It’s hard to watch civilization crash down around us because of the coronavirus. Movies being postponed, plays and concerts cancelled, schools closed, museums closed (The Henry Ford, yes. The DIA ???) What’s there to do but stay at home and hope the electricity doesn’t go out. The engines of the economy is grinding to a halt.

    Meanwhile the wise men in Washington are objecting to a Democrat written emergency aid bill because it requires large companies to pay sick leave now and later. While the disinformer-in-charge wants to throw money at fracking companies because Russia and the Saudis are having a pissing contest. What a world! What a world!

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  6. Sherri said on March 13, 2020 at 12:37 am

    Italy has more hospital beds per capita than we do.

    Sending peace and condolences Jeff’s way.

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  7. Linda said on March 13, 2020 at 5:21 am

    Condolences to Jeff.

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  8. alex said on March 13, 2020 at 7:06 am

    You have my sympathy, JTMMO.

    Managed to snag an 18-pack. Two-ply.

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  9. basset said on March 13, 2020 at 7:17 am

    Condolences and support from myself and Mrs. B. as well.

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  10. Connie said on March 13, 2020 at 7:28 am

    Husband went to Kroger yesterday with a carefully planned list of stuff to get us and the dog through at least two weeks of staying home. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes were totally gone, but TP was not a problem.

    A friend on the other side of the county posted a picture of a wiped out ramen shelf at her Kroger store! I did an inventory when working on my list. For those who can’t find beans I already had three bags and six cans of assorted varieties.

    I wonder about my job interview across the state late next week.

    Thinking of you Jeff.

    Should I cancel my visit next week to my 88 year old Dad?

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  11. Suzanne said on March 13, 2020 at 8:16 am

    My sympathy, Jeff. It’s a hard time to deal with the unexpected death of a loved one, especially as a pastor who is dealing with everyone else under stress.

    Civilization is indeed unwinding. And yet 40+% of the population still support the Orange Leader. It has opened my eyes to how utterly ignorant much of the US population is. Not stupid, ignorant.

    The question going around also is how did the NBA manage to get enough tests to test all the players but in mere mortal land, people who want the test are turned away?

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  12. Julie Robinson said on March 13, 2020 at 8:45 am

    Dear Jeff, I pray grace and peace for you, as you so often do for others. And I wonder about practical stuff like traveling, having a service, gathering people together. You and your family surely have some hard decisions to make. Blessings on you all as you mourn and celebrate at the same time.

    Connie, my mom is 87 and as her main caregiver and contact, I need to stay as healthy as possible. My decision is to stay out of the public as much as possible for the time being.

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  13. Deborah said on March 13, 2020 at 8:55 am

    I came here this morning to post a link to a funny video of an Italian grandmother giving tips about the virus and then I read Nancy’s new post here and I think maybe not a good idea.

    So sorry Jeff, what a sad time.

    Oh what the heck, here it is https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey08XMOisiw maybe everyone needs a little humor about now.

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  14. JodiP said on March 13, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Jeff, I’m sorry to hear about your father. I hope you can gather with friends and family for comfort.

    I’m so upset about how this pandemic is being handled in the US. From the disinformation to the Republicans voting down aid, it’s distressing.

    My wife and I were set to go with 8 other people to a cabin this weekend. I was reading a lot yesterday and we decided not to go. We don’t worry about our risk–we would likely experience a mild case–but we don’t want to be a link in the infection chain and both of us have jobs in which we need to be able to function in the crisis. I’m going to stop taking the train for now and when I can, work in a different building, parts of which are largely empty.

    As I mentioned yesterday, I went through a type of crisis training but have heard nothing from the county about mobilizing us.

    We both went shopping for the cabin weekend right after work. Costco was very busy by 4 PM and even the food co-op had long lines. At least we have quite a bit of food now! We are going to shop per usual tomorrow but getting extras of some staples.

    I hope you and your families stay safe!

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  15. Deborah said on March 13, 2020 at 9:39 am

    Nancy’s link to her Deadline Detroit piece on the movie “Contagion” is well worth the read, everybody.

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  16. Icarus said on March 13, 2020 at 9:39 am

    I think the “logic” behind stocking up on toilet paper is that Preppers and Apocalypse COSplayers know that Step 7 of an impending doom says to hoard toilet paper. But by the time you are near Step 7, it is too late to hoard TP. (also, we should be using Bidets but that is another subject).

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  17. 4dbirds said on March 13, 2020 at 10:15 am

    So sorry about your dad, Jeff. Peace and love. I work for a small independent office in a large federal agency. We were informed by our director that starting Monday we (our office) can telework until April 30.

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  18. Deborah said on March 13, 2020 at 10:33 am

    It’s Friday the 13th folks.

    None of these measures will be adopted but this is a good list of what should happen https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20200312.363618/full/

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  19. LAMary said on March 13, 2020 at 10:56 am

    So Kate isn’t going to be at the Bob Baker tonight? Her former landlord and I were considering going.

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    • nancy said on March 13, 2020 at 12:30 pm

      Sorry, cancelled. They are SO bummed. They really wanted to see those marionettes.

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  20. Peter said on March 13, 2020 at 11:18 am

    Jeff, I am very sorry for your loss.

    I don’t want this to sound callous, but my dad passed away a few months ago, and last night when I was doing more cleaning at his condo, I thought that it was a blessing that he’s gone, because if he was alive now this would kill him.

    Nancy, I’m also sorry for Kate. The good news is that, sooner or later, we’ll be back to normal and we’ll need someone with her talent to make us forget what’s happening.

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  21. Sherri said on March 13, 2020 at 11:51 am

    With Trump threatening to restrict travel to California and Washington, because the only way he knows to respond to a threat is to build a wall, maybe we should let him. Go ahead. We’ll just build our own country here on the other side of your beautiful wall. Then we wouldn’t have to wait for Trump to declare an emergency to let us do the things we need to do.

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  22. jcburns said on March 13, 2020 at 11:53 am

    I had the same thought about my dad, who passed away at the end of 2018 at 93. He was, to put it politely, a handful when things went wrong with his health care, or when the air conditioning went out in his condo midsummer in Atlanta. I really feel for those older folks who are in assisted living now and (just heard a report from N Florida) are not being allowed in-person visits from relatives. Must be agonizing.

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  23. basset said on March 13, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Nashville looked like Sunday morning on the way to our (previously scheduled) doctor appointments… traffic and general human presence on the streets are way down.

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  24. JodiP said on March 13, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    I am relieved I am not the only one who thought about my mom’s not having to live through this. Thanks for putting it out there.

    And for those of us here who do have older relatives, may they stay healthy and safe.

    Just because I need to vent: remember the big social work conference going merrily along? Well, today a rather small gathering at the county (maybe 40 to 50 attendees?) with updates about our disparity reduction efforts was cancelled due to concerns about the corona virus. The lack of consistency is driving me batty.

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  25. Sherri said on March 13, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    JodiP, there will be a lot of inconsistency early in the process, sometimes real, sometimes only apparent, for several reasons.

    One reason is financial. That big social work conference? Canceling that probably would have cost whatever organization put it on >$100K to cancel last minute, and any insurance they had would likely not have paid out unless the governor banned such gatherings. The hotel, the caterers, attendees wanting refunds, etc.

    Also, things are changing *very* rapidly. What’s okay today is suddenly not okay tomorrow, or even an hour from now. This is obvious with what happened with college basketball; first, conference tournaments were happening as normal, then without fans, then cancelled, in one case, during the middle of a game.

    Until the authorities act, it’s up to each individual organization to decide whether to continue, and different organizations make different choices, and make those choices at different points in the process. A form of peer pressure plays a role, too; Gavin Newsom didn’t want to shut down Disneyland, but after a few hours, Disney figured out they couldn’t stay open while everything else was being shut down.

    There was a lot of angst here about schools. Microsoft and Amazon had people working from home for a full week before schools shut down, but it’s complicated. The schools were also getting conflicting guidance from Public Health: stay open, but people over 60 should stay home. We can’t run our schools without people over 60! One district closed, raising the pressure on the rest. When Seattle Public Schools closed, a day before Inslee closed all the schools, many of the rest announced closures right after.

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  26. Dorothy said on March 13, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Sending love and sympathy to our dear Jeff and his family.

    At my office we’re going to take turns working two hour shifts in the office – 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon – over the next three weeks. I’m going to enjoy that, and I’m fortunate I don’t mind if we have to only get paid for the hours that we work. I’ll be working much longer than I wanted to now that the stock market has tanked so badly. We’ve lost over $50,000 just in the last two weeks. I keep reading about suggestions that Trump resign and then that will make the stock market bounce back. He’ll never do it but it’s nice to dream.

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  27. alex said on March 13, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    Wanted to see Carmina Burana at the Philharmonic this weekend but that’s kaput.

    Terrified for my parents, both in their 90s. My mom has had respiratory problems the last few years ever since a particularly nasty episode of pneumonia. I’m afraid to go visit them not knowing whether I may have been exposed and not wanting to expose them.

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  28. Sherri said on March 13, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    Never, never trust the Daily Mail. It is not a reliable news source, any more than Fox News.


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  29. Deborah said on March 13, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    Holy Cow, I went to Whole Foods a bit ago and it was a zoo. It’s relatively small for a Whole Foods, it was jam packed with grumpy people. I barely tapped a woman with my cart when I was trying to get out of the way of another cart, the woman screamed at me, “pay attention!”. Which is exactly what I was trying to do. No TP, no paper towels. I was just there yesterday and nothing like that was going on? I must have missed some health declaration for the city or something.

    After that I went to our local coffee shop a block away (they have the BEST coffee), it’s usually bustling with people. I was the only one there, I asked for my usual which I usually get in a cup “for here” but the server told me they can’t use for here cups for awhile, which makes sense.

    I’m going to look at Chicago news to see what I may have missed.

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  30. Deborah said on March 13, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    Has everybody seen this yet? https://mobile.twitter.com/TheDailyShow/status/1238467491413753856

    Edit: sorry the link doesn’t work. It was supposed to be the bloopers before and after Trump’s Oval Office speech the other night. Look it up if you haven’t seen it yet. Comedy gold.

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  31. Deborah said on March 13, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    My husband’s sister who lives in Charlotte has figured out a work around so she can see her 100 year old mother at her locked down retirement home where no one is allowed in, not even family members. His sister walked to the facility, which is about 3 miles from her home, they don’t allow cars through the monitored gate now but she managed to walk onto the grounds. Then she went to the bedroom window of her mother’s independent living unit where her mother has been moved back to after being in the nursing unit after her fall and surgery. The caregiver who is staying with her mother had moved the bed to the window so my sister-in-law can stand outside and see her mother through the thankfully ground floor window and they can talk over cell phones. So far she hasn’t been kicked off the premises. Genius! And it is a godsend for my soon to be 101 year old mother-in-law.

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  32. Connie said on March 13, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    On Wednesday metro area public libraries announced that this weekend’s programs are cancelled.

    On Thursday they announced that all programs and meetings are cancelled for at least as long as the governor has closed schools.

    Today many of them have almost closed. Building access is limited to going to the checkout desk. Call ahead to arrange for your requested items to be gathered and held for you.

    My crazy cousin says this is really Chinese biological warfare escaped from its lab.

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  33. JodiP said on March 13, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    We just got a county directive to work from home as much as possible. For my area, it’s complicated. Staff meet with clients, and there are court staffings and hearings. We’re getting direction from the local jail soon about how visiting clients will work. I checked in with my staff; a couple are really nervous but all are dedicated to doing the best for our clients. Listening to our gov doing a presser now.

    Sherri, I for sure knew financial considerations were in play with the conference, but given wider implications, I hope they gave serious thought to cancelling. I’ve attended several times, and attendees are packed in very close for the breakout sessions, sometimes 200 in a room.

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  34. Charlotte said on March 13, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    Oh Nancy — I feel for Kate. My Sophie (aka Alaska Reid) also has an album coming out this week. And is so bummed.

    I feel like chicken little at Montana State — Salesforce has gone from encouraging WFH to requiring it for anyone not running the servers. My Beloved Stepmother, who works for Nordstrom Corporate was sent home a week ago — and while MSU has gone to online classes after spring break (which starts today) they still haven’t canceled the Natl Undergrad Research Conf. that’s scheduled for the week after break. And our dept chair called an in person meeting for the 23rd to discuss how to move online.

    I usually have a lot of food in the house, but I stocked up on some staples, and wine, and booze — and since I have a student who is a TSA agent at Bozeman airport, where they’ve had NO guidance except not to talk about it so they don’t scare the tourists — I’m going to social distance/isolate for at 10-14. Most of my friends are 60-85. I had to be Very Stern with my 80 year old, frail, chainsmoking mother last night — today’s her birthday and a friend was going to take her out. We convinced her to cancel.

    I don’t think anyone’s prepared for a crisis of this magnitude. Especially not after 30 years of every-man-for-himself messaging.

    However, I am impressed that our local Park County health officials have been planning for 2 months. They have a plan, there are phone trees, and our local food resource center has been stocking up on home-cooked frozen meals for our elders. Here’s hoping we don’t lose too many of them.

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  35. Julie Robinson said on March 13, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    Since I got home I’ve been at my mom’s every day, and she’s already going stir crazy. She loves going to theatre and concerts and museums, and gets bored pretty easily, though she’s scared of getting sick. It’s a beautiful day so we went out for a walk. We had just talked her into the idea of getting more exercise, and this was supposed to be the week she joined the Y. I’m not even going myself. I just can’t pick up the virus and give it to her.

    But I did stop in at the library to pick up a hold; I figure it’s only a matter of days until they close. Instead of people fighting over spaces the parking lot was almost deserted. I kept my gloves on and kept my distance from anyone.

    Did y’all see the WaPo article written by the former head of the White House Pandemic Response team? Former, because Trump shut them down in May 2018.

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  36. alex said on March 13, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. Indiana’s Governor Holcomb (a/k/a Hokum) came out and said that anyone who thinks this is all hype and overreaction is living in a parallel universe. Take that, Fox watchers.

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  37. Scout said on March 13, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    Well I’m the chicken little at my office who managed to talk the boss into letting us take our laptops home today and work from home next week, and possibly beyond. Shit is getting real.

    Dear JTTMO, I’m extending my heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

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  38. Little Bird said on March 13, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Shots fired. Literally. At a St. Louis Walmart.

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  39. LAMary said on March 13, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    My son the roadie merch guy has had all his tours shut down and my son who does event photography to support his art photography has had all his gigs cancelled.

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  40. David C. said on March 13, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    When your tRumpie relatives “But Obama” this shit, send them this. https://twitter.com/kurteichenwald/status/1238563426131157006

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  41. Dorothy said on March 13, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    Little Bird – I just caught up on the previous NN.C post and saw that you haven’t been able to get t.p. We buy at Costco and got some about 3 weeks ago. I’d be happy to mail you some so I give Nancy my okay to share my email address with you. Send me your address. Sending you two rolls in a box I have at home already will not be all that expensive. I’m serious about this – the offer stands!

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  42. Jeff Borden said on March 13, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    Condolences to Jeff TMMO.

    The governor of Illinois is on TV right now announcing the closing of all K-12 schools in the state, public and private. Loyola University closed after the school day yesterday, so this non-technologically adept adjunct professor must figure a way to transition two public speaking classes online. The greatest joy of teaching is interaction with the students. . .and –poof– that’s now gone. A small price to pay to protect people, but a price nonetheless.

    Watching the Orange King fumble and flail through this pandemic has been predictably awful. I feared our nation would be attacked by a hostile nation on his watch because his administration is so very stupid and inept, but instead, its a virus that is tying him in knots.

    Forty years of rightwing horseshit depicting government as a hostile occupying force in our midst now bears its rotten fruit. Our lack of national health care will lead to many ill employees to go to work, exposing more of us to disease, because they cannot afford medical care. Our lack of comprehensive pre-K education and child care will cripple the finances of millions of families whose children will be sent home from school. Our inability to feed everyone in our extraordinarily wealthy nation means many of these school kids will lose the free breakfasts and lunches that sustain them. Our slavish devotion to business uber alles means our Congress will not push American companies to start offering paid sick leave and other benefits that have been taken for granted for decades in other industrialized nations. Our embrace of America First jingoism will kill many of us because our nation would not accept the coronavirus kits from the World Health Organization.

    Yes, tRump is a fuckup. Yes, his *administration is as greasy and sleazy as any in our history. Yes, the *administration is staffed top to bottom with fifth-rate professionals whose primary job is massaging the delicate fee-fees of our toddler-in-chief. But this all started in 1981, when St. Ronald of Reagan declared war on government as a institution and institutionalized “trickle down economics” as our state religion. Republicans have been choking and starving government for four decades and now we are paying the price.

    Bernie Sanders may be cooked in the primaries, but there’s a reason so many young people were attracted to his campaign. They see a bleak future and they want to change it. They may well be correct.

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  43. Little Bird said on March 13, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    Dorthy! Thank you! You’re better off going through Deborah, because my email just flat isn’t accessible to me right now. I’d be happy to send you some homemade soap as repayment! Any toilet paper would be appreciated!

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  44. Little Bird said on March 13, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    Dorthy, THANK YOU! But go through Deborah, my email is all screwed up. I would be more than happy to send you some handmade soap as a thank you! Any toilet paper is appreciated!

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  45. alex said on March 13, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Well, we’re going out for dinner while we still can. Tomorrow having some folks help us pull a black walnut tree trunk up the hill from the lake and put it on a trailer and we hope to shop it around.

    Chopping up some red oaks and man do they stink.

    If they make us work at home the next few weeks I’ll be happy because this is the most gorgeous looking spring I’ve seen in a few years and I’d love to be here to enjoy it to the fullest.

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  46. Connie said on March 13, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    And the Allen County Public Library is closing.

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  47. Mark P said on March 13, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    Did you see Pence prostrate and humiliate himself at Trump’s feet in the presser today? He must be afraid Trump is going to dump him as VP for this election.

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  48. Sherri said on March 13, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    That website trump promised? Yeah, not so much.


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  49. Deborah said on March 13, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    That’s sweet of you Dorothy, but LB has plenty of TP to last until I get there in a few weeks, and beyond. On the phone with her I went through the number of rolls she has and the number of tissue boxes she has and she will be more than fine. She’s stressing out about it, and I wish I could help her with that. She is also worrying about going to the Dr on Monday for a follow up to her surgery, but not going to that would be way more harmful than going.

    I wish we had a government in power that could be reassuring to people instead of making people concerned even more.

    I really don’t understand the toilet paper issue, but it seems to have hit a nerve in the population.

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  50. Maria said on March 13, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    Mark P,I saw a clip of Paul Begala saying he is certain that in July, during the Democratic Convention, Trump will announce that he’s dumping Pence and naming Nikki Haley as his running mate.

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  51. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 13, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    Thank you all. My dad on Thursday got up early, made a pot of coffee, poured himself a mug, took it over to his recliner and sat down to read a good book. And never got up.

    Years ago when he had the world on a much longer string, he worked in the house and garage singing various songs, most of them by either Eddy Arnold or Dean Martin. This one was a favorite:


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  52. Deborah said on March 13, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    My husband for the first time is talking about renting a car in Chicago to drive to NM instead of flying on the 24th. He wants to wait a few more days and see what is happening. I think if we take appropriate precautions we can fly but I’m OK either way. We were going to drive to California to see his granddaughter anyway from NM. What a crazy time this is.

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  53. Dexter Friend said on March 13, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    So sorry, Jeff. Peace be unto you as you mourn.
    Tomorrow marks 19 years since Dad died. The World Trade Center twins were just two huge buildings then, that’s how long ago it was.

    Auburn, Kendallville, and Bryan Walmarts are all out of TP and my brother got the last 2 rolls at the Waterloo Dollar General.

    Oh, and remember my daughter the nurse practitioner in Las Vegas? Her co-worker recently returned from an Italian vacation, then after a while got sick, then the whole staff got sick. There are no tests available for them. Daughter said she feels like she may be getting pneumonia. Then her biological father (abandoned her at age 3) is dying of advanced lung cancer near Grand Rapids , Michigan, and she is scheduled to fly there tomorrow, but may just not be able to make it…maybe she took the test and it came back negative already. If she is still waiting, she’s too responsible to fly under suspicion of Covid19.
    And against my advice, my wife is flying to Florida in 6 hours from Columbus to visit our middle daughter in Port St. Lucie. Her flight lands in Orlando. She’ll wave at Joe in the Mouse House

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  54. Dave said on March 14, 2020 at 1:25 am

    Jeff, let me add to offering sympathies, I don’t know which is better, watching a long decline like I did with my parents but a chance to say some things, or a unexpected departure of an elderly parent. Forgive me for speculating, I imagine it’s out of place here.

    We went shopping today, more than one person was overheard remarking that it was like shopping when a hurricane is coming. The toilet paper wasn’t completely gone but one couldn’t be too picky. We didn’t have any need for any. Yesterday, we drove through a Costco parking lot, because the shoe store my wife wanted to shop at is right next door, and we couldn’t believe the people streaming out of the store with bottled water. Do they think they’re going to shut down the water treatment plants? One can only hope things do not get that dire.

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  55. Sherri said on March 14, 2020 at 2:32 am

    My husband and I went out tonight to try and support the local economy a bit. We bought some books at our local bookstore, picked up a puzzle at our local game store, and ate at a local restaurant, which was less than a quarter full, when normally there would be a wait for a table on a Friday night. Yes, we’re practicing social distancing, but we’re not sealing ourselves in our houses for the duration. These are our friends and neighbors, who need to survive this, too.

    I got an interesting phone call today. I get lots of phone calls from candidates, because I donate money to candidates. Today, I got a call from Carolyn Long, who is running for Congress in WA-03, against incumbent Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler. I’ve donated to her, and I prepared to tell her not this time, I need to spend my money helping my community deal with Coronavirus, but she didn’t ask. She didn’t tell me her plans for anything, she just said she wanted to check in and see how I was doing. I’m not even a future constituent, I live in a different district! Not what I expected to hear.

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  56. Connie said on March 14, 2020 at 7:49 am

    We ordered Chinese takeout last night for reasons similar to Sherri’s.

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  57. Dorothy said on March 14, 2020 at 8:10 am

    We ate out at a Chinese restaurant last night and savored every bite. We tipped the waiter 50% of the tab. Two women at a near table were asking him about how business had been and he mentioned that on Tuesday they only had 13 tables all day. And he made only $15 in tips the day before yesterday. He and his girl friend have 3 kids between them and she works at a restaurant doing evening shifts. It’s a good reminder to hear these stories first hand rather than in the news. I spent some $$ at Half Price Books in the morning to do some attempt at stimulating the local economy.

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  58. alex said on March 14, 2020 at 8:55 am

    Dined at one of our fave haunts last night and it wasn’t an ordinary Friday night. We’re friends with the GM and she said it has been a very slow week and she anticipates it will only get worse. The place has a large staff that depends on tips for wages and it’s just one of many such businesses whose employees stand to be adversely affected. Stocking up on nonperishables may not even be an option for those who live paycheck to paycheck.

    I’ve been seeing speculation for some time now that Trump plans to swap Pence for Haley. I doubt it would give him much of a boost electorally and I’m skeptical of the idea that Trump would select a second in command who outshines him in any regard, particularly the brains department. It would certainly be some sweet schadenfreude, though, if Trump turned his guns on Pence the way he’s done with so many others, and called him the groveling pathetic suckup that he is, and likely worse.

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  59. David C. said on March 14, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Last night, I woke up coughing. I thought “Oh shit, this is it” and spent a couple of hours not sleeping and fretting about it. This morning I woke up and felt fine. I forgot to fill the humidifier and my throat got too dry. If I don’t get the virus, I’ll surely waste an equivalent amount of time and effort worrying about getting it.

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  60. Deborah said on March 14, 2020 at 10:42 am

    I’m one of those boomers who is taking precautions but not worrying about surviving if I do get the virus. I don’t have any underlying condition. I wash my hands and try not to touch my face. I don’t go out much. I read an article by Molly Jong Fast warning boomers like me not to get over confident, that just aging lowers your immunity. I guess that’s true but surprisingly I’m not worrying about it. I usually worry about everything. I am however obsessed with talking about it.

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  61. alex said on March 14, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Only in the U.S.A. are people so stupid that they have to be told not to drink bleach in order to protect themselves from Coronavirus:


    Although if you want to make the Darwin’s Choice Awards, it’s probably not a bad way to go.

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  62. David C. said on March 14, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Drinking bleach seems to be the new drinking colloidal silver. It sounds like it’s especially big within the anti-vax set. What kind of idiot thinks vaccinations are dangerous but drinking bleach is healthful.

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  63. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 14, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Heading down to the Rio Grande to do a retirement community memorial for my dad in Pharr, Texas next Saturday, then spend a week driving my mom and her gear back up to Indiana with my sister, for a funeral in Valparaiso the week after that. That one, at least, I don’t have to do . . . next weekend will make ten funerals since Christmas, culminating with this. Plus an eleventh just to drive the point home, but the pastor there has known my folks 27 years and will do just fine.

    Setting the church here to rights yesterday before I vanish for a few weeks, I asked our associate to forgive my sins. She replied “as busy as you’ve been the last few weeks, how could you have committed any sins?” My answer was that I find I desperately want the Orange Menace to get the Coronavirus. We decided that since I don’t want Trump to die, just to get sick enough that it can’t be hidden, it wasn’t a sin, but good public policy. With that, I’ll be reading on my phone when I can, but posting little or not at all. Thanks for the good thoughts and blessings. They keep me going.

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  64. Deborah said on March 14, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    Well I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who has guiltily hoped Trump contracts Covid19. I also don’t want him to die from it, but it would be a good way to warn the populace that they need to take recommended precautions. Of course his toadies would do everything in their power to hide it.

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  65. Mark P said on March 14, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    As an atheist I don’t worry about “sin”, so I’ll go ahead and say it: it would be deliciously ironic if both the Pres and the VP contracted the corona virus and died, leaving Nancy Pelosi as president. Would that make the corona virus a divine intervention?

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  66. susan said on March 14, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    I disagree. Everyone in that evil Republican party needs to curl up and die. They are all bad for our health, prosperity, community, and future. Just ƒü¢k them all. Bitch McConnell and FatNixon can go first, if they’d like. Low Barr. Susan Collins. Bret K…. Too numerous to list.

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  67. Suzanne said on March 14, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    Watched this Interview with Dr David Ho last night. Sobering. Lack of testing means we have no idea what we are dealing with


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  68. St Bitch said on March 14, 2020 at 12:41 pm


    A little over three years ago, I couldn’t have asked for more than my mother gently dying at home in the morning, after a nightlong vigil, with me holding her hand. She’d even laughed the night before, with the rest of us assembled around her bedside, when I teased her about a picture I’d found of her first love and the heartbreak reply from him to a ‘Dear John’ letter she’d sent while he was serving overseas in WWII. His story was part of our family lore…how they met when he was stationed with the Army nearby her hometown in Arkansas, while she was home from Ouachita Baptist U doing wartime work in a factory…how he’d managed to rustle up a bootleg ham to present to her parents when she brought him home to meet them for the first time…how models of rectitude, Grandpa (Mayor, Sheriff, Justice-of-the-Peace, owner and editor of The Tuckerman Record which didn’t take liquor ads in that dry county, bible-thumping Deacon of the First Baptist Church) and Grandma, so thoroughly disapproved of him and his unscrupulous gesture that they immediately packed Mom off to Iowa State U, where she fell head-over-heels for Dad.

    Now, considering your father’s graceful passing, I guess if I could’ve asked for more, I might have asked for that.

    No matter. Even now, with grief having finally dissipated, conjuring Mom makes me well up and overflow with longing and love that I’d like to extend to you.

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  69. susan said on March 14, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    St. Bitch, you ain’t such a bitch.

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  70. Joe Kobiela said on March 14, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    So you want the whole Republican Party to contact a virus and die, how Christian of you all and this from people of a party that preaches compassion for all, what a bunch of hypocrites. You don’t agree with some one that’s fine in my book, you want to make fun of my spelling or my grammar, I could give a fuck, but hoping some one will die you all should take a good hard look in the mirror. I don’t like any of the Democratic candidates but even if one of them should win I would not wish death on them ever no matter how I felt about them or how they were running the country. I stop by here to check in and see how the opposition’s thoughts are and even to joke a little back and forth but this just makes me sick and to be honest very very disappointed. Did you raise your families to think this way? Are you some how proud of yourself? Make you feel superior somehow? How terribly sad.
    Pilot Joe

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  71. Deborah said on March 14, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    Did someone else write this for him?

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  72. susan said on March 14, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    [This is going against my policy of not feeding the troll(s), even if he does have a ghost-writer…]

    JK, are you familiar with The Blues Brothers and Aretha Franklin’s salon?

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  73. alex said on March 14, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    Joe’s having a meltdown because we don’t meet his one-dimensional expectations of what a Democrat is supposed to be. Only Republicans are allowed to spew venom. How dare we bust up their monopoly.

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  74. David C. said on March 14, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Excuse me while I make some popcorn. Who says they’re nothing fun when you’re hunkered down?

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  75. jcburns said on March 14, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    1) I certainly don’t want anyone in that evil Republican party to die.
    2) I certainly understand the sentiment and the feelings of someone who feels that way in the face of some pretty nasty, anti-human statements (and policies) coming out of the GOP. (The venom from many—not all—of those who carry the Republican banner is on record. Joe, deal with it. This is the party whose campaign twitter account said and I quote: “Joe Biden is the same rotting corpse of a candidate he was three weeks ago.” That’s pretty bad too.)
    3) I think the ultimate lesson of empathy that could/should come out of this is: we are all human, across all borders and socioeconomic barriers. We all do better when we take care of all of us.
    4) Hope everyone can take a breath.

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  76. Sherri said on March 14, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Pilot Joe, what’s terribly sad is thanks to the Republican destruction of government, it took two weeks for the people who work at the nursing home where 25 people died to get tested.


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  77. basset said on March 14, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Nashville developments: Basset Jr works in a big downtown hotel and business is so slow that he’s getting a four-day weekend. And one of our local doctors, who lost his medical license several years ago, is advertising coronavirus tests on the side of a rusty step van. Claims he’s not practicing medicine, rather keeping the community safe. Drove past the van today, sent Nancy a pic and maybe she’ll post it.
    Unrelated… how is Kate’s band doing on the trip back? Van, tour bus, or some other kind of ride?

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  78. LAMary said on March 14, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    Pilot Joe, the republican party denied, lied, misled and in general prevented any real plan or remedy for the virus epidemic. We heard Trump say it was just another flu, then say he didn’t realize people died from the flu. The republicans politicized the pandemic, ridiculed people who tried to alert people, and silenced experts who could help the public deal with the virus. Then the president, after several uninformed stupid statements about the virus had his son in law, his daughter and Stephen Miller write a speech for him. He sort of read it. He did not sound presidential nor did he give us hope or comfort or confidence that our government was going to step up and work on the situation.
    I think Trump and his enablers are responsible for people dying. There is no one else to blame. There are not enough test kits in spite of what the liar in chief says. The epidemic is not contained. People are panicking. If the party in charge had addressed the virus honestly and purposefully two months ago we probably would not be in quite the chaotic mess we’re in right now. I don’t wish the whole party dead but in a sick way I’m glad the virus can’t tell the party affiliation of the next person it sickens.

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  79. Ann said on March 14, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    My condolences, Jeff. My mother’s assisted living in now in lockdown, though fortunately no one is sick. She had conceded that she was going to have to give up going to church, but then her church cancelled services anyway. She long ago wrote her own obituary and made the plans for her funeral. I was concerned that if she got sick she might have to die alone, but apparently visitor exceptions are being made for people who are dying. Funerals may have to be put on hold, or done virtually, which would be a shame because no one not in the business attended more funerals than she did. But we are all trying to move forward with love and patience.

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  80. Julie Robinson said on March 14, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    In the spirit of patience I will note, as I did previously, that in May 2018, Trump disbanded his Pandemic Team.

    And in the spirit of love, I will add how sorry I am for everyone who is affected by Covid 19, sick, caring for the sick, mourning, isolated, or losing income. Also those in public life who are doing their best to halt the spread.

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  81. Julie Robinson said on March 14, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    Too late to edit, but I’ll add this in the spirit of humour: my significant other is watching LAST year’s Big Ten tournament. Apparently that’s what they’re running in lieu of other programming, and it makes him very happy.

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  82. LAMary said on March 14, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    I keep forgetting to post this. The Bob Baker Marionettes were featured in The Sound of Music. They were in the Lonely Goatherd scene.

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  83. Mark P said on March 14, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    Well, I think I was the first to suggest that it would not be a bad thIng for both the president and VP to succumb to the disease they have done so much to help spread. Since I am not a Christian, you can’t shame me on that count. It’s simply recognizing and accepting reality to say that the world would be a better place without certain people in it. I am open to hearing arguments that Donald Trump should not be in that category.

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  84. Brian stouder said on March 14, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Mark P – I get the joke, but if I get my wish, then Joe Biden (and Kamala Harris*) will kick Trump’s presidency to the curb in November. The very last thing I’d want is for him to become a martyr and an object of sympathy.

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  85. Jakash said on March 14, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Despite all I’ve read here, it still kinda surprises me that PJ seems so much more concerned about the comments of random citizens on a blog than he is with the statements and actions of the President of the United States. Personally, I don’t wish people were dead; I just wish the ones like PJ, along with the Senators and Congresscritters they support, at long last, would wake the fuck up!

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  86. Dexter Friend said on March 14, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Brian, Kamala Harris is an advocate of cramming prisons full of low level offenders and construction of more and more private for-profit prisons, something progressives are against. The USA already has a way out of control prison population, leading the world in many categories. I am totally against Kamala Harris as a running mate for Biden. I am still for long-shot Katie Porter of California, the smartest person in Congress.

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  87. Heather said on March 14, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    If I were to respond to our resident conservative, I would say considering that Trump has hindered the testing and response to the virus from the beginning, not wanting the numbers to rise because of the stock market and his own reelection chances, plus his cutting CDC and other public health funding, the party in power are DIRECTLY responsible for the deaths to come. So ffs don’t come here and call US hypocrites. You’re either willfully delusional, dumb, or just don’t care.

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  88. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 14, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    Hat tip, LAMary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmmOJx_Hxto

    Joe, no one (other than Susan) asked that anyone die. Just that they be tested positive for the virus some have invested much in saying isn’t much. I’m at peace with that wish, even if I think it’s at least mildly sinful. I’ll work on repentance later.

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  89. Deborah said on March 14, 2020 at 11:07 pm

    I’m almost 99% sure tonight that we’re going to rent a car and drive to NM instead of fly, we may leave a few days earlier than we originally planned to leave Chicago. We’ll spend a night or two in Santa Fe with LB before driving on to CA to see my husband’s granddaughter. Then drive back to NM and spend some time in Abiquiu. Quite a road trip, should be fun if the healthcare situation in the country weren’t so horrible to think about.

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  90. basset said on March 15, 2020 at 1:44 am

    Continued what seems to have become a tradition at our house, homemade corned beef and cabbage and a movie on or around St. Patrick’s Day… two bottles of Guinness in the brisket pot and one in the chocolate cake batter. Movie was “Goodfellas,” which was OK, I guess. Paulie, the fat guy, had maybe the best malevolent glare I have ever seen in a movie.

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  91. ROGirl said on March 15, 2020 at 3:11 am

    Killing off the Republicans probably wouldn’t make any difference, anyway. The shambolic shit show that is the current state of affairs in this country, for which Trump is directly responsible, has already caused deaths, illness, chaos, fear, economic disruption, and there’s worse to come.

    No one should get sick or die from this, I’m not a Christian, and I hope all these fuckers find themselves out of work on November 4th.

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  92. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 15, 2020 at 8:26 am

    A few words about my dad.


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  93. basset said on March 15, 2020 at 10:08 am

    St. B, say more about the Dear John guy’s response to the letter. And your grandparents had a problem with him bringing a ham?

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  94. Jeff Borden said on March 15, 2020 at 10:58 am

    I don’t want Republicans to die — except for Dick Cheney, who richly deserves a nasty, lingering death for all the horrors he unleashed on this world over decades. I want to see the party die. It stands for nothing beyond greed, xenophobia, fear and anger. It hasn’t had a new idea since 1980 and “trickle down economics” turned out to be the wealthy pissing on our heads. Its stewardship of the American economy inevitability results in requiring Democrats to ride to the rescue, as Clinton did after Bush I and Obama did after Bush II. The party is hostile to education, research, empirical data and logic. It is horrifically monochromatic and not only suspicious but fearful of the “other.”

    Perhaps the only positive thing the Stage 4 cancer in the White House will ever do is finally put a stake through the dark heart of this sham of a political party.

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  95. Deborah said on March 15, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Trying not to pull an Albom here but it’s fascinating how a pandemic can bring out the good and the bad in people, both in the same people. You hear about fights over toilet paper and hoarding, people going out of their way to busy restaurants with their kids and flaunting it on social media. And there’s Trump flaunting handshaking and caring more about the stock market than lives. On the other hand you hear about people checking on their elderly neighbor’s, buying groceries for them and people in Italy singing together from their balconies. People react to catastrophes in a myriad of ways, we’re human beings. In a moment of rage we may spew venom and at the same time be model citizens in our communities, helping our neighbors as best we can. OK, Pollyanna comment is over.

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  96. basset said on March 15, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Well, I feel safer now:


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  97. Brian stouder said on March 15, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Jeff, that was a superb essay; it reached right through the ether, And affected me (had to wipe my eyes and clear my throat, at the end). AND – a superb photo of you two! (easily worth another thousand words). As you have often sincerely said – here’s wishing you and yours peace and strength going forward

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  98. Sherri said on March 15, 2020 at 11:55 am

    The people behind the graph Jay Inslee was using: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/how-big-will-the-coronavirus-outbreak-get-this-bellevue-scientist-is-figuring-that-out/

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  99. St Bitch said on March 15, 2020 at 1:33 pm


    it took me a while to figure out that the letter (along with pic), I found tucked behind a photographer’s studio-mounted portrait of someone in our family, was indeed a response to getting the kiss-off while encamped somewhere in Europe. It surely came with me when I moved from Mom’s condo to my current lair, but all such artifacts and documents are sitting in crates and boxes, still awaiting my commitment to set aside however many days are needed to purge, curate and file. I don’t think I can do it justice, but when I find that dejected letter, (tinged with bitterness?), I’ll be more than happy to share it here. Mom barely had the breath to laugh, without going into a coughing fit, and who knew in what distant exotic places her dementia-driven mind was wandering; but when I teased her about holding on to, let alone hiding from Dad, those lovelorn mementos for all those years, she was totally present, with an impish gleam in her eye, as she playfully laughed her last laugh.

    As for the infamous ham, it has to have been smuggled from Army requisitions meant for combat troops, during a time of strict meat rationing. Not only could Grandma and Grandpa supplement ration coupons from their own chicken coop; but they found such ‘Catch-22’ behavior to be both deeply offensive and unacceptable.

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  100. Deborah said on March 15, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    We’re still weighing the pros and cons of traveling to NM by car or flying. One thing for sure we have moved our travel date up as this thing is exponential and time is an element. We consider this travel essential because we’re ultimately going to southern CA to see my husband’s granddaughter who has been going through a lot with her mother basically abandoning her. She would have been on spring break when we planned to be there but now it looks like school is out for her for a while anyway. Also LB is under a lot of stress in NM following her surgery a week ago, so being there for her seems important too. The recuperating from the surgery is going well but she is freaking out about the virus because she has other health issues.

    We had decided months ago to drive from NM to CA, not because of the virus because we had no idea it would come to this, but because we like road trips. Now we’re weighing the odds of staying in hotels and eating in restaurants along the way. We can get food quickly from grocery stores and eat in the car or at roadside parks or whatever to avoid restaurants, also bringing or buying bleach sprays etc to wipe down surfaces.

    There is a lot to consider. How awful to be a link in the chain of exponential expansion of this mess.

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  101. St Bitch said on March 15, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    This thread got me thinking about poetic justice and getting hoist with his own petard.

    Thing is, I’ve always thought the proverb meant falling on one’s own sword, like disgraced Roman patricians. But no, ‘hoist’ in this context means blown-up and a ‘petard’ is actually a small 16th century French gunpowder bomb.

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  102. beb said on March 15, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    The thing about wishing Republicans would die is that it’s an outlier of liberal sentiment. But the converse is different. Republicans have a long history of dividing this country into “Americans” and “Democrats” as if to say Democrats aren’t legitimate citizens. And there’s been numerous cases where prominent liberals have had pictures posted with their faces covered with cross-hairs. The hostility between political parties is mostly one-sided. Conservatives hate liberals in ways that liberals don;t hate conservatives.

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  103. ROGirl said on March 15, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    St. Bitch, petard is actually derived from the verb “péter,” which means to fart.

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  104. St Bitch said on March 15, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    Well, ROGirl, I guess that would especially apply in wishing Pilot Joe would get hoisted on his own petty self-righteous indignation fart bomb.

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  105. Jeff Borden said on March 15, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    Bars and dine-in restaurants are being shut down in Illinois now. This is going to crush a lot of hourly workers and those dependent on tips to get by, though it is hard to object to the intent of these closings. Closing schools is also going to bruise the poorest among us. Many cannot afford paid child care and putting them in the care of elderly family members may put those seniors at risk.

    While St. Patrick’s Day parades were cancelled yesterday and today in Chicago, it didn’t keep tens of thousands of green-clad morons from standing cheek-to-cheek in line or in taverns to celebrate. My guess is the news footage of these people drove the governor of Illinois to act. (Hat tip to Ohio, which has already done this.)

    I’ve spent the weekend trying to figure out how to teach two business speaking classes online. Loyola is giving us until March 23 to migrate over. Ugh.

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  106. Deborah said on March 15, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    Whoa, Gov. Pritzker called for the closing of all bars and restaurants in Illinois starting Monday end of day. They will be allowed to have take-outs and deliveries. Good for him.

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  107. Deborah said on March 15, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    Sorry Jeff B, didn’t see your comment.

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  108. LAMary said on March 15, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    My son who had all his photography gigs cancelled is making money hand over fist with postmates. Usually that’s a sucky fallback job but he’s very busy and he’s getting good tips. He figures he’s making about 25. per hour.

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