Category Archives: COVID-19

This Time

You’re gonna hold them to account, this time?

Really?

These thousands dead, you’ll fix in your mind forever?

I’m glad to hear it.

Glad on behalf of the friends who died of AIDS. Thrilled, really, that you’ll make space for them.

Glad on behalf of the people chewed up and spit out by the war on drugs. Super helpful, their deaths. We won that war, right?

Speaking of wars, incredibly grateful you’ll be remembering the bodies piled up in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since we’re talking about wars we’ve won.

Glad on behalf of the drowned in Katrina. Do you even remember how many?

Quick. Find Puerto Rico on a map.

How long has Brett Kavanaugh been on the Supreme Court now? How long has he been sitting in Merrick Garland’s chair?

History will remember, you say, twenty times a day, on Twitter, as each new horror emerges.

History ain’t remembering SHIT.

People are history. And people forget.

It’s what we’re built for. It’s why we NEED history in the first fuckin’ place. It’s what books are for, what pictures are for, what fucking microfiche and your local public library are for. Would we even bother writing this shit down if we thought we’d remember it?

We don’t remember it and the way I know we don’t is that we keep voting for people who hate us and want us to die.

People vote Republican again and again and again and again, despite what happens when they do. Despite EVERY SINGLE TIME IN RECENT MEMORY it resulting in MORE DEAD PEOPLE due to the staggering inability to concede the point that government can and should keep citizens alive.

Someone the other day said they’d prefer Reagan in charge and I almost had a stroke, like, okay, guess you don’t have any pictures from the 80s where everybody in them but you doesn’t exist anymore.

(George H.W. Bush might not have ENTIRELY blown this, but he and his wife still would have found a way to make sure to blame it on imaginary black people.)

But sure, this time, the names will live in infamy.

Christ, if only that were true.

It is so exhausting watching you all make the same promises you made the last 50 times. WHY is it going to stick this time? Because … look, the minute this stuff’s over the living have to forget because otherwise we couldn’t shoulder the weight of our past actions, I’ve read the same books you have, people are cowards, etc etc etc.

But I don’t get the need to make a pronouncement. Does it … help? To say that we will remember? If we don’t? Do we think that’s all we can do, is promise to remember?

There’s something else we can do, and that is VOTE OUT EVERY REPUBLICAN FROM NOW UNTIL THE END OF TIME.

Every single one.

Yes, even yours who is a good one.

Every single Republican. Vote them all out.

That’s a goal you should try to stick with.

This time.

A.

Tweet Of The Day: Fog Of History Edition

I’m sure you’ve heard Trump’s captive Surgeon General compare the pandemic to Pearl Harbor. Sounds good on the surface, right? A week which will live in infamy and all that shit. George Takei took the words right out of my mouth:

I was a history major with a minor in art history. I’ve been mocked for those
impractical choices. They’ve come in handy in my life as a pundit. History is almost invariably misused and misrepresented by those in power. In this case, the Surgeon General’s intention was to rally the complacent Trump base around the flag. Telling the truth about the pandemic from the start would have been a wiser strategy. But wisdom is antithetical to Trumpism.

The Trump regime’s response to this crisis has made Team Bush’s response to Katrina and the Federal Flood look masterful. BUT there *are* some similarities: they played politics too. Karl Rove was the tip of the White House spear as they blamed Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin for New Orleans’ plight. Meanwhile they favored Mississippi and then Governor Haley Barbour a former RNC Chairman and fat cat lobbyist. I’m not horsing around so I need not mention Brownie at great length.

There was a great deal of disaster capitalism in the months after Katrina. It’s happening now in the person of Slumlord Jared who is applying his King Midas in Reverse touch to the pandemic. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

I’d like to thank George Takei for being a stand-up guy and continually fighting the good fight. If only life imitated Star Trek. Starfleet would know how to handle this. Unfortunately, the executive branch is populated by nitwits, sycophants, and people who hate government. That’s a helluva way to run a railroad as it were. Heckuva job, GOP.

The last word goes to the Hollies with the unofficial anthem of the Trump regime. It works just as well for the Kaiser of Chaos as the Dauphin-in-law.

Today on Tommy T’s obsession with the Freeperati – dangerous Trump virus edition

OK, people – kinda been staying away from COVID-19 things, because:

(a) You’ve been bombarded from all sides with the horrors

(b) Shit ain’t really funny, yo.

ColonnaVirus

OK – MOSTLY it’s not really funny.

But, unlike Diamond and Silk (Pete and Repeat) and their idle idol The Darnold, I can’t ignore the subject forever, so here goes – Trump has turned socialist!!

Anthony Fauci gets his own security detail following threats to his safety
NY Post ^ | April 1, 2020 | 9:26pm | Vincent Barone

Posted on 4/1/2020, 10:21:44 PM by conservative98

Sound reasonable to you, Freepers?

To: conservative98

 

Fauci reminds me of another backstabbing swamp weasel..Jeff sessions!!

4 posted on 4/1/2020, 10:25:22 PM by RoseofTexas

TrumpFauciFacepalm
.
And, in Tinfoil Hat Weekly :
To: conservative98

 

Possible false flag by lefties to smear conservatives.
Actually, it is likely that is what this is.

9 posted on 4/1/2020, 10:30:44 PM by TheConservativeParty (MAGA)

Maybe you should hijack a train and take care of this yourself.
To: conservative98

 

So Dr Death Fauci gets security.
Who at DOJ authorized this.
An Obama holdover?

31 posted on 4/2/2020, 6:06:12 AM by tennmountainman (eThe Liberals Are Baby Killers)

Come on, people – where’s your compassion for the man who’s trying to save you asses?
To: FlipWilson

 

Dr. Fascist is playing a dangerous game so this turn of events is not surprising.

32 posted on 4/2/2020, 6:07:44 AM by central_va (I won’t be reconstructed and I do not give a damn….)

On second thought, die in agony.
.
And now – the thread title post!
To: conservative98

 

Just saw a commercial from the White House that featured Fauci and Blix. We must all suffer like the old people in quarantine was the message. Everyone has to be in quarantine. Why can we just quarantine old people? The rest of us can work and make sure old people are taken care of.

Trump has turned socialist.

24 posted on 4/1/2020, 11:19:59 PM by moviefan8

TA DAA!!
More good thinking after the read-moreism.

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‘It Would Be Okay if It Was Working’

If that ain’t the truth:

We are not short on stories, in the world, about unlikely heroics from feckless princelings. This is kind of our THING, humans: an ordinary person pulls a sword from a stone and rules all of Camelot. A youngster from nowhere becomes a mighty warrior. The intern in the back has the idea that saves us all. These are our stories, and so we look for them everywhere.

I said this after 9/11, too: Everybody was prepared, desperately terrifically prepared, for George W. Bush to rise anew from the ashes of his own profound mediocrity and lead us as The War President. He had, at one point, a 92 percent approval rating, which you can usually only get by inventing cold fusion and then dying immediately. So people were like okay, buddy, up til now you’ve basically been a failson, let’s see what you can do with this.

We all know what happened next.

We have this phenomenal capacity to keep giving people chances, and not even Donald Trump would have been immune, I don’t think. It’s where the hunger for “oh, NOW he’s changed his tone, now he’s taking it seriously” comes from, the frightened childlike desperation that lets us cling for a second: oh, maybe he won’t be a piece of shit, before he starts angrily hate-tweeting at someone’s dead grandparent or something.

All would be forgiven, in fact, if this was working. And that in itself would be infuriating, because he’s done so many awful things, but: keep everybody alive is kind of the basics of the job, and we need it done, and we’re begging. It would be okay if it was working. He could be his usual kind of total asshole, and if he’d just step back and let people who know what they’re doing handle this … we keep begging, basically: Become president. Become what we need.

He can’t do it. We’re praying to the Easter Bunny. We’re asking a hole in the ground to produce untold riches, we’re sacrificing entrails to a groundhog. We are pleading with someone who … he doesn’t just not care, he can’t even see his way TO caring. The lack of understanding is that profound.

This is also where some of the anti-Dem rage right now comes from, though I have even less than no patience for THAT, like elect enough of them to make a difference and then you can bitch them out for not DOING SOMETHING. We want Joe Biden to, what, walk up to the White House door and throw Trump out bodily, do we think that’s how this works? And then he’ll do what, with McConnell and his merry band of fucksticks on every level from local school council up to the Senate, screaming on Fox News about a coup, I mean where do you think THAT ends?

We have created a system that holds us in place, hostage to this madman, and we keep expecting someone to save us. The madman, to become sane. His opponent, to seize power in a way that’s never been done in this country, and use it in a way we’ve explicitly designed a system to prevent.

Surrender the fantasy, is what I’m saying. Give it up, and look in the mirror, and realize the person staring back at you is the only one who’s gonna save you and the person next to you and the person next to them. My mom’s ripping apart furnace filters to make masks for my cousin, who’s a nurse. A friend is running a home-school association from her apartment, complete with lending library. Everyone who’s staying inside is a hero.

The other heroes ain’t coming. Maybe they never were, and the waiting is killing us.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: For Shame Of Doing Wrong

New York Movie by Edward Hopper.

I’m trying something different this month. I’m pairing the artwork of Edward Hopper with the music of Richard Thompson. Each Saturday in April will feature a different EH image and RT tune. I think they work well together.

My oak pollen allergy has been bonkers this year. We’ve hit a prolonged dry patch: no rain since some time in February. We tend towards extremes in New Orleans. It either rains too much or not at all. The happy medium is unknown in our forecasting annals.

The worst thing about this allergy season during the pandemic is that it’s hard for me to go outside at all. The last time I took a walk, I had a pollen related sneezing jag, which led some fellow strollers to glare at me as if I were Typhoid Mary. So it goes.

This week’s theme song was written by Richard Thompson for the Pour Down Like Silver album. I have a soft spot for that album: it was the first RT album I ever purchased but not until 10 years after its release. I was a late RT bloomer.

We have three versions of For Shame Of Doing Wrong for your listening pleasure: the Richard and Linda studio original, a poppy version produced by Gerry Rafferty, and a cover by RT’s former Fairport band mate, Sandy Denny.

Is it shameful that I like the poppy version from Rafferty’s Folly? Hell, I like the song below too. It was inescapable in 1978:

As I hang my head for shame of doing wrong, let’s jump to the break in a shameless manner.

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Together Alone

I had a quiet meltdown last night. I felt alternately despairing and furious over all the death in the news. Music lovers had a grim day with the passing of Adam Schlesinger and Ellis Marsalis. Mr. Marsalis was an institution in New Orleans. Because he died during the pandemic, there will be no jazz funeral or second line to commemorate the founder of a jazz dynasty. The death of a beloved and accomplished 85-year-old man should be bittersweet instead of bitter, bitter, bitter.

I’m self-reliant and don’t mind solitude. I’ve never been quite sure if I’m an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert but it’s increasingly apparent that self-isolation is atomizing and alienating. At times, it’s like being a character in one of Ayn Rand’s dreadful novels. We’re focused on ourselves and our own survival instead of the greater good. On the whole, I’d rather be a Dickens character; even one of the cheerful losers like Mr. Micawber. Unfortunately, the federal government is nominally run by a man who makes Mr. Murdstone look empathetic. Trump babbles on about 100-200K deaths as the best-case scenario. Such a thought is monstrous: they’re not numbers, they’re human beings. That’s why I call him President* Pennywise.

The nautical news is particularly disturbing. The story of the aircraft carrier carrying hundreds of sailors stricken with the virus is heartbreaking. There’s no room for social distancing on any naval vessel. They live on top of one another from the Captain to the lowliest squid. They signed up to possibly die for their country in wartime, not because of a president’s unfitness for the job. Mercifully the Navy has found a solution. Unlike their nominal commander-in-chief, they still have the American can-do spirit personified by the ship’s namesake, Theodore Roosevelt.

Things remain bleak off the Florida coast. The cruise ship rejected by Governor DeSantis evokes images of the tragic 1939 journey of MS St. Louis aka the Voyage of the Damned. That ship carried Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution. American refusal to allow it to dock was among the most shameful moments in our history, not one that should be repeated.

The cruise ship crisis cries out for a federal response, but we have a president* who is too busy lying to lead. Our ship of state is rudderless as the captain points the finger of blame. The finger is blood-stained, and we know who to point it at come November.

Between Project Novel and world events, I’ve had the music of Neil Finn and Crowded House on my mind of late. The 1993 song Together Alone haunts me because its title perfectly captures this moment in time. It’s hard to be simultaneously alone and in this together but that’s the situation we find ourselves in. We have no choice but to make it work.

I’ve been with two loved ones when they died. It’s painful for the living but comforting for the dying.  It’s almost an impossibility in this pandemic: COVID-19 requires that friends and families be separated because the risk of contagion is so high. The nature of the disease itself is atomizing and alienating, which is why these Neil Finn lyrics are so poignant:

Together alone
Shallow and deep
Holding our breath
Paying death no heed
I’m still your friend
When you are in need

A reminder that, notwithstanding the indignities of this pandemic, we need to stick together and be there for one another. Death may have no mercy, but it is a must for human beings as is empathy. I curse those who continue to make excuses for a president* whose fatal lack of empathy has made this situation infinitely worse than it should have been.

The last word goes to Crowded House:

My Pillow Talk

Holy misdirection, Batman. I’m not writing about the Doris Day-Rock Hudson-Tony Randall classic, I’m talking about one of President Pennywise’s special guests stars at one of his campaign rally style briefings: the My Pillow Guy.

President Donald Trump used Monday’s White House daily briefing on coronavirus to again parade out private company executives — including My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, who used the platform to praise Trump and tell Americans amid a global pandemic to “read our Bibles.”

MyPillow CEO Lindell said his bedding company would be dedicating 75% of its manufacturing to producing cotton face masks, aiming to get up to 50,000 a day by end of this week. He then said he would read something he wrote “off the cuff.”

“God gave us grace on Nov. 8, 2016, to change the course we were on,” Lindell said, referring to the day Trump was elected. “God had been taken out of our schools and lives. A nation had turned its back on God.”

“And I encourage you to use this time at home to get back in the ‘Word,’ read our Bibles and spend time with our families,” he added, touting “our great president” and “all the great people in this country praying daily” as key to getting through the pandemic.

Did he mean preying? Creeps like the My Pillow Guy and his orange messiah have been preying on our fears for years. If people want to pray, that’s okay with me but there’s a price to be paid for believing in a false prophet; make that profit. They profit and you lose.

The best response to this mishigas came from former Gambit editor Kevin Allman:

I wish I had one with Doris and Rock on it but there’s always this:

A reminder that Pillow Talk was racy for 1959. Here’s one more number from the movie featuring Doris and Perry Blackwell:

It’s Not On Individuals

Guys, I’m about done with posts about individuals who aren’t social distancing properly, stories somebody heard from their cousin who said something to someone else about teenagers coughing on them, and just generally shaming people who are far less to blame for the current situation than literally anyone in power.

CALL THE COPS screams my neighborhood Facebook group (which was until 2 days ago an absolute respite from its usual nice-lady racism and lost-chicken-posting) every time there are four kids on a playground. Sure, call the police, who are equipped with lethal force and empowered to use it, and hope you get a cop who de-escalates a situation instead of making it worse. The virus is not spread by you having to see black kids on the slide, HEATHER.

If you want to congratulate yourself on doing this right, go ahead. If you want to encourage responsible behavior, go ahead. If you want to remind somebody of the rules, hey, you do you. But you can do that without relying on coronavirus clickbait about some one-toothed Cletus in a Wal-Mart licking the produce.

That half this crap isn’t true is beside the point. We are being primed with stories like this about individuals not doing their jobs so that we blame our neighbors and not our government and twas ever thus, loose lips and ships, etc. We are already too prone to turning on each other. Who benefits when we do that? Who do we forget to hold to account?

Stop screaming at stupid people on beaches. Start screaming at the governor of Florida. Start calling your senators. Your Republican senators, who have never missed an opportunity to be gigantic fucksticks and are counting on you continuing to hate Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden for not “fighting harder” after the GOP created the conditions that necessitate a fight they’ve taken away all the tools to win.

Call them, blame them, hold them to account with everything you have. And if you hear about your neighbor’s mom’s gardener’s assistant seeing somebody crowding in too close at the Trader Joe’s, think about if you really need to share that story with the internet in order to reassure yourself.

Maybe there’s some other way you could know you’re okay.

A.

Rising Anxiety

Fear is almost as contagious as the virus. It’s everywhere on social media, which is why I’m rationing my use. I’m also tired of listening to know-nothing amateur epidemiologists who think they know it all. Access to the internet doesn’t make you a scientist, it makes you someone with too much time on their hands. Oops. That’s all of us right now.

The old NOLA Bloggers email list has been resurrected. I’ll explain why in a moment but a comment there gave rise to this post title. Cliff Harris asked if there would be a Rising Tide Social Distance Conference, Karen Gadbois replied that it should be called Rising Anxiety. I have no interest in a conference reboot, but I like the phrase Rising Anxiety, so I stole it.

Back In The Saddle: The OG NOLA bloggers are rising from a protracted slumber. After Maitri the Magnificent announced the return of her VatulBlog, George Loki Williams asked aloud if he should revive Humid City. In response, I quoted this passage from my recent Bayou Brief column Love In The Time Of Coronavirus:

I started blogging a few months after the levees broke. I didn’t expect to still be writing on the internet 15 years later, but I found my voice. I’m glad that I’m still at it: It’s therapeutic and reduces my anxiety level during this unprecedented crisis. I’d hate to be reduced to venting on social media like some other OG NOLA bloggers. I wish more of them would resume writing. Consider that an invitation, y’all. If you do, I’ll spread the word hither and yon.

I’m a man of my word. Loki announced the comeback at Zuckerville:

Good luck, y’all. Not sure about that whole blame thing but it gives me an excuse to post this Del Amitri song:

The Fantastic Florida Flim Flam: Trumper Governor Ron DeSantis followed the lead of his hero President* Pennywise and announced his state “borders” were closed to cars from New Orleans. Too many people took this illegal, unenforceable, and unconstitutional order seriously. It’s a clumsy attempt to divert attention from this:

The flap is based on a “blame New Orleans for having Mardi Gras” controversy that raged online. I’ll let my friends Stephanie Grace and Clancy DuBos shoot it down. I prefer to save my ammo for higher hanging fruit.

I do, however, agree with the parade route book signer and Herriman biographer:

The Tweet Heard Round The World: Athenae’s boyfriend John Kerry is obviously not planning to run for office again:

I’ve always heard that Big John could be salty in private. Glad he’s shown off his “out of fucks to give” side in public.

That reminds me of a song. I know what you’re thinking: everything reminds me of a song.

Unimaginable: Gal Gadot and some other celebrities have collaborated on a quarantine version of John Lennon’s Imagine. I hate Imagine. It’s one of Lennon’s worst songs.

Here’s a better tune for these trying times:

Bored Boris: The British Prime Minister’s anti-pandemic efforts were just as feeble and late as those of the Impeached Insult Comedian. Adding insult to the injury he inflicted on his country, Bozza is afflicted with the 21st Century plague. Karma is a bitch.

I hadn’t planned to write about the oafish PM until I got a text from my good friend and Spank krewe mate, Greg Hackenberg: “If you aren’t working on a post about Boris Johnson that does not include Peter Gabriel’s I Have The Touch, I’m not sure I know you anymore.”

You still know me, Greg:

Shake those hands, shake those hands…

Finally, Project Novel will begin in earnest at 3 PM today. There’s enough interest in my legal murder mystery, Tongue In The Mail, for me to proceed. I’ll be posting two chapters at a time on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It even has its own category, Project Novel: TITM.

Pondering Boris Johnson’s bad karma gave me an instant earworm. The last word goes to Warren Zevon and John Lennon with another song that’s much better than Imagine:

Thank You

It’s been a whirlwind since Chef’s Brigade NOLA launched and I began soliciting donations. I’d like to thank everyone in the First Draft community who helped this worthy cause. Your generosity does not surprise me, but it still moves me.

As of this writing, they have raised $31,000+ at their GoFundMe site. The work continues as does the need for funds. I will revisit this subject again as it’s close to my heart. Thank you again.

Special thanks to Chef’s Brigade NOLA organizers Troy Gilbert and Robert Peyton for their passion, dedication, and hard work.

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Fox on the run edition

Morning, all! Still not up to the 3+ hours it takes to crank out a standard 5 or 6-thread “Obsession” post just yet, but if it had to be just one, let it be this one:

Fox Business Benches Trish Regan After Outcry Over Coronavirus Comments
nytimes ^ | 3/13/2020 | Michael M. Grynbaum

Posted on 3/14/2020, 7:26:03 PM by bitt

The host of “Trish Regan Primetime” told viewers this week that concerns about the coronavirus were “yet another attempt to impeach the president.”

The Fox Business anchor Trish Regan, whose on-air dismissal of the coronavirus as “another attempt to impeach the president” left her cable network facing a firestorm of criticism this week, has been removed from her prime-time slot for the foreseeable future, the network said on Friday.

Ms. Regan’s 8 p.m. program, “Trish Regan Primetime,” is “on hiatus until further notice,” Fox Business said in a statement. The network declined to say if Ms. Regan would continue to appear on its other programs, saying that its coverage plans for the coronavirus crisis remained in flux.

Fox Business attributed the move to “the demands of the evolving pandemic crisis coverage,” saying it was shifting resources toward daytime coverage of the pandemic and global markets. Both “Trish Regan Primetime” and its follow-up at 9, “Kennedy,” will be replaced by general-interest programs.

1 posted on 3/14/2020, 7:26:03 PM by bitt
TheHorror
C’mon, Freepers – this is from “The New York Slimes” – surely you’re not buying into it?

To: bitt

Regan is probably fired.

Wait for it….

She might go to CNN or something.

3 posted on 3/14/2020, 7:27:34 PM by GuavaCheesePuff (I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee-Old Yankee Stadium (1923-2008))

Bwahahaha
To: bitt

Time for folks to boycott faux news!! We made them we can break them!!!

5 posted on 3/14/2020, 7:27:56 PM by RoseofTexas

Of course you can.
.
Cookie?
To: bitt

She was a “It’s just the flu!” cheerleader.(Those sneaky Italians are just pretending to die by the 100s per day to hurt Trump.)

9 posted on 3/14/2020, 7:31:00 PM by Travis McGee (EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)

Are you Freepers gonna let him talk about your eye candy like that???
To: Travis McGee

Can you take a minute from your “let’s panic over the Coronavirus” jihad and give me YOUR estimate of deaths in America from the Coronavirus that will occur for the full 2020 calendar year?

19 posted on 3/14/2020, 7:39:15 PM by House Atreides (Boycott the NFL 100% — PERMANENTLY)

Oooh – that’ll show him!
.
Maths are hard!
.
They’re even harder when “solve for Z” is dependent on “Y” being “People even dumber then Rand Paul”.
To: bitt
Funny how the NYT, et al. can lie, lie and lie some more and absolutely nothing happens to them.
21 posted on 3/14/2020, 7:40:26 PM by Chgogal (Never underestimate the stupidity of a DummycRAT voter. Proof: California, New York, Illinois.)
Hey! Maybe they didn’t even shitcan her?
To: bitt

Just yesterday it was read both Trish and Kennedy were to be put on hiatus (due to the crew needing to work on the CV coverage.) The two women will be returning at some time in the future.

101 posted on 3/14/2020, 10:13:29 PM by V K Lee (“VICTORY FOR THE RIGHTEOUS IS JUDGMENT FOR THE WICKED”)

SEE??   THERE’S STILL HOPE FOR THE HORNY!!!

To: bitt

Fox is trying to impeach Trump?

Um – he’s already BEEN impeached – just so ya know.

Should FOX foxes be put on the endangered species list?

8 posted on 3/14/2020, 7:30:52 PM by Paladin2

Bombshell
More after the jump, as the “It’s just the flu!” forces have it out with the “Exactly how stupid ARE you?” brigade…

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Safe Passage

This is the thing that worries me: 

Mr. Trump, when he said he was considering a quarantine for the region, offered no details about how his administration would enforce it. Speaking to CNN, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York criticized the idea, calling it “a declaration of war on states.”

He also questioned the logistical challenges, as well as the message, that such an order would present. “If you start walling off areas all across the country, it would just be totally bizarre, counterproductive, anti-American, antisocial,” he said.

Because: if my state is closed and yours is open, how do I get to you if you are sick? And don’t tell me I can’t, if I love you, if you’re my mother or brother or child, I will tear my way through your barricades, anyone would. We’ve had these walls before and people always find a way to scale them.

We don’t know how long this is going to last. This is why federal action matters, why we’re one country: we have this openness between us, or at least we used to, and it works as long as somebody can make a rule that applies to both you and me.

But “state’s rights,” amirite? The feds are always the enemy until you need them.

If some states are cut off and others aren’t, then you’ll start seeing the shortages people initially worried about when supplies were plentiful and shipping was open. It’s not like we make things everywhere; we depend on trucking, on rail lines, on airplanes still flying. Commercial air travel, okay, shut it down, but you ground cargo planes and suddenly that decision to buy 500 packs of toilet paper looks only sensible and right.

(I have told Mr. A he is no longer allowed to make fun of my propensity to hoard flour and yeast, and he will no longer suffer my mocking him for buying hand soap no matter how much we have in the house.)

We used to hear this every six months or so, what happens if Texas or South Carolina or Maine or somebody secedes, travel and treaties and repercussions for anyone on the borders, but with Dickhead L’Orange shooting his mouth off while his feet are up on the Resolute desk it goes from being hysterical to horrifying with a quickness.

Scout and I were joking on Twitter the other day: the Midwest needs to have a non-aggression pact. Can we open shipping lines across the Great Lakes? Who owns enough barges and paper factories to make this stuff work? We don’t grow everything everywhere; hydroponic farms and the window herb gardens aside we ain’t growing much for the next 4 months anyway.

I have a freezer full of food and this is the kind of talk that has me browsing for basement chest freezers and looking up deer hunting season. You barely have to hunt the ones in our forest preserve, they’ll come right up to you for some Cheez-Its. The plans for the garden gets more elaborate every time he opens his mouth. I’m not joking, this is what causes people to panic. To flee.

Are we going to stop them at the border? What happens when they don’t stop? I wish we didn’t know. 

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Time To Kill

The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins.

This week’s featured image is one of the most famous American paintings of the 19th Century. I’ve posted it to honor all the medical professionals who are fighting the good fight against COVID-19 but who wear masks and gloves unlike Dr. Gross and his cohort. Thanks, y’all.

I prefer to keep this weekly feature light but it’s hard to do in these tough times. The second act is kind of heavy, but the jokes return in our third act. Laughs are precious right now when fear is abroad in the world and our government in the hands of an evil clown, President* Pennywise. Oy just oy.

At the risk of being a pest, a reminder to support Chef’s Brigade NOLA for all the reasons set forth in this post. Thanks again, y’all.

This week’s theme song was written by Robbie Robertson in 1970 for The Band’s third album Stage Fright. It’s a joyful tune with a somewhat dark lyrical subtext.

We have two versions of Time To Kill for your listening pleasure:  the Todd Rundgren produced studio original and a live version from the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen: a 1973 festival starring The Band, The Dead, and the Allman Brothers Band.

The title certainly resonates in our era:, we all have time to kill. One of my mottos as a blogger is: When in doubt, post a Kinks song:

Now that we’ve killed time, let’s jump to the break. It won’t kill you.

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Bayou Brief: Love In The Time Of Coronavirus

The title of my latest 13th Ward Rambler column for the Bayou Brief was inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love In The Time Of Coronavirus. I’m particularly fond of the tag line:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has Peter Athas thinking about Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood. We’ve gone from “heckuva job, Brownie” to “heckuva job, Trumpy.”

Since the column is, in part, an extended flashback to 2005, the last word goes to John Fogerty:

“Brownie’s in the outhouse
Katrina on the line
Government’s a disaster
But Georgie, he says it’s fine”

We’re All Milo Minderbinder Now

A brief update from the contagion belt. You may have seen this last night on The Rachel Maddow Show:

We’re sixth in the nation BUT we’re the lone non-New York state hotspot in the top 11 with Jefferson Parish chiming in at #15. Believe me, that’s not where we want to be. Apologies for using one of the Impeached Insult Comedian’s tells: believe me = I am lying like a cheap flea market rug.

My latest at the Bayou Brief will be published either today or tomorrow. It’s, in part, inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez but I prefer to keep it shrouded in mystery. Suffice it to say that every day feels surreal; like a chapter out of a magic realist novel.

Spring has sprung but we will not be sprung from our internal exile any time soon. Let President* Pennywise rant: I’m staying home, staying put, staying out of mischief. I will not be swayed, which reminds me of a song:

In case you were wondering about the post title. Dr. A went to three groceries and CVS to piece together our supply chain yesterday. Milo Minderbinder was the mess officer and master scrounger in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, which is one of the books that most impressed my young, impressionable self. If you’ve never read it, there’s no time like the present. It was magic realism before the term was coined.

Life is not a Cabaret old chum, it’s an extended Catch-22 situation. Here’s how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes Catch-22:

The original catch-22 was a governmental loophole involved in Joseph Heller’s satirical novel Catch-22. Heller’s novel follows the exploits of a bombardier in World War II, and in doing so shines a light on the relentless and circular bureaucracy of war and wartime governments. The term is introduced to describe the apparent loophole, or catch, that prevents a pilot from asking for a mental evaluation to determine if he’s fit to fly:

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to, he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.”

The second paragraph was Joseph Heller speaking. We’re all more or less in a Catch-22 situation in 2020. We’re all Yossarian. We’re all Major Major Major. We’re all Milo Minderbinder now; forever refighting the Toilet Paper Apocalypse. Heaven help us.

That concludes the inaugural edition of Life Imitates Catch-22.

The last word goes to Talking Heads; a song in which “heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.” Sounds a lot like social distancing to me, y’all.

New Orleans Needs Your Help

Dear First Draft Readers:

New Orleans needs your help again. The situation here is dire and getting worse. We have the 6th highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita in the country. It’s hard not to feel helpless in these terrible times but there are people trying to make a difference.

My friend and fellow Bayou Brief writer Troy Gilbert and local food writer Robert Peyton have a great idea about how to help our beleaguered restaurant industry. (Troy is one of the OG NOLA bloggers as well as one of the founders of Rising Tide.) Last week, Troy ran their idea by me, I was immediately impressed and urged them to go for it. Last weekend, Chef’s Brigade NOLA was born.

I’ll let them explain the details to you via two Facebook posts:

There’s a GoFundMe link at the bottom of the second post. Please join me in donating to help our restaurants survive and do what they do best: feed people.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE.

Thanks in advance,

Adrastos who is trying to keep the Spirit of ’05 alive.

Updates can be found after the break.

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People Have This

This is great:

“I thought, ‘Tyler, you always wanted to feed people. That’s what you wanted to do, so keep doing that,’” he said. “There is good in this world. We will work together to feed people.”

So Sailsbery and The Black Sheep staff set up a free breakfast and lunch giveaway for those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

The plan is to give away meals from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 until 9 p.m. every Tuesday through Friday “for as long as we can or until the schools reopen,” according to the restaurant’s website.

I just keep thinking about how good people are. Not just in this crisis but always. Everybody can share some dumb moral panic story about a kid being an idiot, or tell the tale of this one guy their cousin knows, but people are so, so good.

We want to help. We want to make things better. We want to do right and we have to be told at every turn by a propaganda machine run 24-7 for GOP money that help and better and right are fictions and STILL after 20 years of that drumbeat two-thirds of this country will, when the floor drops out, try to help the people on either side of them.

We have had leadership that has harnessed that capacity, and leadership that hasn’t, and we see how all of that plays out every single day. People have always fought back, don’t get me wrong, this is and always will be up to only us, one man alone who has had enough, etc, but sometimes we need a push to get out there. We need a direction for all our directionless energy.

I get so mad about George W. Bush and his creatures, still, because for about 20 minutes after 9/11 there was, in fact, a moment when people would have done ANYTHING. He had 90 percent approval for a few days, he could have told people to enlist en masse and they would have, everybody thought this was World War II again and we were all Captain America.

He told us to go shopping. We went to war with Iraq. Everybody working at Ground Zero started dying of cancer. We’ve been paying for that frustrated, stymied, miserable moment when all our good intentions and capacities were thwarted, ever since.

If you tell people this is the crisis of their time, you’d better be able to tell them what to do next. Otherwise you’re just riling them up and sealing them in, no one to listen or talk back, no work to put their hands into.

Yesterday one of my neighbors hung a sheet out his window, the words WE GOT THIS EVERYBODY painted on it in brilliant colors. Our local Facebook group, which a month ago was suspicious and vaguely racist in response to every loud noise, is organizing scavenger hunts: Go put this, that, the other thing in your window for kids to find on walks. People are donating supplies and materials, who needs this, I’m going out, do you need something delivered. We are a small country, my neighborhood, and we are caring for each other.

It could be like that everywhere. We could all be like that. Why don’t we see it? Why don’t we connect it, the caring you do for your neighbors, with what we are asked to do for each other when it’s roads and schools and healthcare? You’d share your food with the family next door, wouldn’t you? Some of you already do. The family next door is everybody.

From the story linked above:

Sailsbery got emotional when he recalled some of the messages he has received. Some families apologized for their need, and he said they shouldn’t feel bad.

“It’s hard,” he said. “You get messages like, ‘I need four meals for my kids. And is this just for kids because we don’t have any food either.’”

We have been in social isolation, as a country, for so goddamn long.

A.

The Day I Get Home

The post title is my feeble attempt to prove that irony isn’t dead, it’s just on lockdown. I awakened with a start yesterday with these lyrics in my head:

“The news is on, it isn’t good. I see the trees but not the wood.”

Those prescient words come from the 1991  Difford and Tilbrook song The Day I Get Home. Short-term thinking and failure to understand the big picture have characterized the entire Trump regime, particularly its pitiful response to this pandemic. We’ve all been worried about what would happen in a crisis and it’s as bad as feared.

Before moving on, here’s today’s theme song:

First, a hearty welcome back to Tommy T. I was up way too late last night and was relieved to see that Freeper madness had driven him to write. I’d give him a virtual slap on the back but social distancing, man; not to mention his back surgery. Get well, my friend. We need you.

Let’s stir the potpourri, if such a thing is possible.

Don’t Watch Trump’s Pressers Live: I’ve had a hard time watching President* Pennywise live for several years. He is incapable of telling the truth even when it’s imperative. There’s little information to be gleaned from watching a mentally ill man meltdown on live teevee. Read about it, watch the clips, but don’t watch it live. I agree with Rachel Maddow and Charlie Pierce who have urged the networks to pull the plug on the briefings. Things are scary enough without listening to the Impeached Insult Comedian brag.

Trump is beginning to remind me of former Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez who would commandeer hours of teevee time for his own amusement. This is not a comparison anyone should welcome. After a few days of trying to be normal, Trump is back to his old tricks of demonizing the media, dismissing expert advice, and telling the world how smart he is. If he were really that smart he’d STFU and get the fuck out of the way. Enough already.

Senator Aqua Buddha Can Go Fuck Himself: Rand Paul is the first Senator to test positive for the 21st Century plague. Since he’s a libertarian, he carried on with his normal routine; spreading the virus on Capitol Hill by going to the gym and swimming in the pool. Freedom, man.

Thanks to Aqua Buddha, Willard Mittbot Romney has been obliged to self-isolate. It’s a loss when one of the few sane Republican office holders will be out of action for 2 weeks. I never thought I’d say that. Pandemics have a way of altering the way you think.

I hope that Aqua Buddha’s illness will convince wingnuts that this is some serious shit, not a beer virus. Freedom, man.

Speaking of Freedom, man:

Of course, Richie’s notion of Freedom was radically different from that of Aqua Buddha who can go fuck himself. Freedom, man.

I got all riled up by that segment. Time to take a musical chill pill, Traffic-style:

Let’s all go to the lobby; six feet apart, of course.

Movie Corner: I’d always heard 1953’s Battle Circus derided as minor Bogart. We’re on kinda sorta lockdown so when it popped up on TCM, I recorded it. It was a pleasant surprise.

First some lobby cards:

Love In Hell? I like the Spanish language title too.

Battle Circus tells the story of a Korean War era MASH unit. Sound familiar? Bogie plays a grizzled, cynical, and horny surgeon who’s tired of the war and the pressures of surgery. Sound familiar? Dr. A and I are huge MASH fans so the comparisons were flying as we watched. Bogart as Hawkeye? It’s easy to imagine. Here’s looking at you, Hot Lips.

There’s also a beautiful blonde nurse played by June Allyson. She stole the movie. Bogie was in his prima donna phase at that point so he rarely allowed that to happen. Perhaps it was mutual respect shown by one Philip Marlowe to the spouse of another: Allyson was married to Dick Powell who played Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet. Allyson was stuck in thankless roles for most of her acting career: ingenue, wife, mother. It was good to see her have a meaty role for a change.

Battle Circus was a big budget film with two major movie stars. So, they had the co-operation of the Army and showed us *how* a Korean War era MASH unit “bugged out.” The scenes in which they took down and reassembled the tents were spectacular. They gave the movie its title too. The image of a MASH unit as a Battle Circus is a good one.

Here’s the trailer:

Battle Circus is still lurking on several TCM platforms and is available for rent on Amazon Prime. Much to my surprise, I give it 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos grade of B+.

That’s it for today. Remember to stay home. Hunkering down and waiting for this thing to pass is all most of us can do right now. Repeat after me: Better Bored Than Dead.

The last word goes to Talking Heads:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the – WHAT THE ACTUAL FARK???

Still healing up, good people, but of course, I can’t stay away from Freeperville. My curiosity about how the Freeperati were dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed my neurosurgeon’s orders to not sit for more then 30 minutes at a time.

After all, The Darnold did tell them it was all a hoax before he told them it was under control, and then before he told them it was very serious.

Flubros!(vanity thread open to flubros only)
Freerepublic ^ | 18 March 2020 | impimp

Posted on 3/19/2020, 10:06:01 PM by impimp

Flubros! The definition of a flubro is someone who recognizes that this Coronavirus is about the same as a bad flu, and, therefore, realizes this hype is all a bunch of trash to feed the government, health care, and media industrial complexes.

In this thread, which is open to flubros only, we can discuss Corona related topics without fear of being bombarded by hyperbolic speech from the prepper segment of the Freeper community. The “oh-noes” segment of the Freeper community is also, of course, not permitted to post here.

1 posted on 3/19/2020, 10:06:01 PM by impimp
CantEvenLittleTrain
To: impimp

 

Nice! Kinda like the Q thread. Flubro on.

2 posted on 3/19/2020, 10:07:24 PM by CJ Wolf ( #wwg1wga #gin&tonic)

Kinda like?
To: impimp

 

I’m in—and screw the Q threaders, they’re nuts.

3 posted on 3/19/2020, 10:08:52 PM by Fungi

OK – that’s funny.
To: impimp
.
The panic-stricken corona cult members at FR are the ones that should be confined to a single thread. Within a couple of weeks, FR has gone from a site that believes in freedom and limited government, to a site that seems to hang on every word uttered/posted by MSN, CNN, NYT, WaPo, etc. Some of these people are RINO Never Trumpers, I’m sure, so they are probably secretly enjoying this nonsense.
.
35 posted on 3/19/2020, 10:58:12 PM by Major Matt Mason (Q = Quidam = Fraud.)
I make fun of you idiots on a regular basis, and I’M not even enjoying YOUR nonsense.
To: impimp

 

One of the girls that was in my daughter in-laws wedding had a brother that just died of coronavirus here in socal. He was only 34.

Is that real enough for you?

9 posted on 3/19/2020, 10:17:58 PM by Bullish (Covfefe Happens)

Details, details…..
To: impimp

 

Now, is a woman who wants to be on this thread a flubra?

41 posted on 3/19/2020, 11:25:48 PM by smvoice (I WILL NOT WEAR THE RIBBON.)

Screw this.  I’m going back to bed,
.
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Who the Heroes Have Always Been

Last night I was putting Kick through her evening paces — bathing, teeth-brushing, cat-petting, story-reading, delaying, water-getting, more delaying, singing, one-more-hugging — and I heard my neighbors outside yelling Bon Jovi songs into the air.

My friends and I text each other constantly: You okay? I’m going out, need anything? Skype, chat, check-ins, bitching about small stuff, who said he was going to put the dishes away and didn’t. Whose kids are driving them crazy. Whose dog won’t stop barking.

Who’s still working, day and night, keeping people well or trying to. Teaching in prison. Caring for pets. Delivering food. Do you need a mask, I can make you one. I have extra sanitizer, I can leave it on your porch.

The world has shrunk to the ten, twenty people I love the most. Sometimes, when Kick and Mr. A and I are at the dinner table, the world shrinks to three. The tiniest circle there is. We don’t pray, but sometimes we hold each other’s hands, as if blood is salt and can protect us.

Friends miles away have tested positive. People I admire have tested positive. Loved ones of loved ones won’t stop going out, don’t believe this is real, and we despair: I can’t get on a plane to go see my dying sister, but you are going to the Cracker Barrel?

There’s so much longing for a crisis, in our culture. We fetishize what we do when the chips are down, when the earth is caving in: Then I’ll be in my element. Then I will feel important. Then I will do something that matters.

Then I, I, I, I.

We all think we’re gonna lead the rebellion, rebuild the city, become part of the brave band of heroes who will be lauded forever in history as if that’s a thing that has ever existed, as if we’ve ever been able to choose who gets the headline.

We wait for that moment when we can raise a flag and make a speech and we think that’s how the work gets done. Where are our LEADERS, we lament, and call out for Thai food, and forget to tip the man who brings it. We yell at the checkout girl. We mutter darkly about the boys on the corner.

Where is the crisis? It’s all around us. I interviewed a comedian, after 9/11, in those awful stunted days when nothing felt normal and we didn’t yet know how stupid it was all going to be. I can’t remember his name but I’ll never forget what he said when I asked about laughter, about how even:

“Every day is 9/11 for somebody.”

I am good, in a crisis. I always have been. I am comfortable where the disaster is. Six months later, when things have improved for me (when, goddamnit), a switch will flip, I will stop sleeping, stop eating, stop taking my pills, ask a therapist: why now?

Mental illness loves best the vacuum adrenaline leaves behind.

These things have such a long train, pulling behind them. So many died from Hurricane Katrina, years after Katrina; from Ground Zero, decades after the fire went out. Stress on bodies, skipped treatments or appointments. None of this is worth it to feel like you matter.

Keep your really bitchin’ charter schools and condos. I will take my friends.

I have tons of ideas about what’s to be done. I think every day about writing: A new WPA, for everything from bridge-building to archiving. What leadership is truly worth, why we clamor for Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders to STEP UP AND LEAD when in truth we don’t know whose voice we’ll need til we hear it and we can’t hear it over the sound of Fox. I rage for a moment and then turn away.

We do yoga in the basement, poke things with sticks on long walks. The cats sleep on my feet. I put off drinking til 5, even on weekends. When the sun comes out I run outside and turn my face up to the sky.

We write thank-you cards to firefighters and sanitation workers. Kick and I watch every Disney movie twice while Mr. A snores on the couch.

The phone buzzes; my mother, Mr. A’s cousins, my high school friends: I’m okay. Are you? We joke, we make a time for Google hangouts, we game out future paychecks and toilet paper supplies and who still has cleaning products. We order pizza. We tip as much cash as we can scrounge. We wash our hands.

I would like to say when this is over — as if this is ever going to be over, as if over exists, as if it ever has — we will remember, we will be kinder, but I do remember, from the time before this, and the time before that, and the time before the time before the time before that.

We have always been all that we have.

A.