Monday, March 16, 2020

Social Distancing

So begins the first full week of the country trying to keep its distance.  But first we must stock up.

This was the Publix Supermarket in Pinecrest, Florida, yesterday morning at around 7 a.m. That’s when I usually do my shopping — early Sunday morning — and usually I have the place all to myself. Yesterday it was as busy as a Saturday morning at 10, and the shelves in some aisles — specifically the bread aisle — had yet to be restocked.  The shoppers’ carts were full of everything from paper towels to bottled water, and a few people were wearing surgical masks.  It was orderly, but as I was taking my bags out to my car a woman pulled up in a car and asked me what it was like inside.  Pretty crazy, I said, and she laughed.

The CDC is recommending cancelling events for more than fifty people for the next eight weeks, which takes us to the first week of May.  Miami-Dade County Public Schools is closing for spring break a week early starting today, and then will see how it goes after those two weeks before deciding what to do. I spoke with a friend — via text — who still works for the district and was told that management are to come in while administrative staff are off, and teachers are figuring out how to teach via the internet.  I suspect Zoom and Skype are going to get a lot of new subscribers.

What I’m seeing via social media — mainly Facebook — is that we as a nation are coping with this pandemic pretty well.  Yes, there’s the usual amount of rumormongering and bullshit, but so far the people I’ve seen and heard from are taking it in their stride, dealing with family issues, adjusting to this situation with concern but also with humor.  The unifying point seems to be that they’re all pretty disgusted with how the current administration is dealing with it — or not dealing with it — and they’re finding that they can pretty much count on friends, family, and themselves to be ready for what comes.

It’s not like a hurricane where you can get hourly updates and track it as it looms closer.  It’s invisible and undetectable.  In a lot of ways that’s scary, but in one way it shows that we can work together and keep our heads about us while some others are losing theirs.  In a way, all this social distancing is bringing us together, and I don’t man by just fighting over the last roll of Charmin.  We’ll get through this and maybe emerge better for it, assuming we all follow the guidelines and stay healthy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Photo of the Day


Ferguson Police 08-13-14

Josh Marshall:

We can only infer so much from photographs. There’s clearly been looting and an element of crowd violence in Ferguson, Missouri. But there are quite a few photos and videos of heavily armed and armored police facing clearly unarmed civilians who often have their hands in the air to show they are not armed.

I don’t know which agency’s police are depicted in the photo embedded above. I know that there was at least a brief deployment of State Police and the much larger St Louis Police Department is nearby. But even from the images that are clearly of the Ferguson Police, a fairly small suburban police department, the amount of body armor and quasi-military equipment is quite striking.

We take it as a given that most police departments will have a SWAT team, a relatively small group and amount of armament for an active shooter or hostage situation. But the Ferguson PD seems tricked out with a number of armored vehicles and quasi-military type gear. The militarization of local police forces is a story probably most of us are familiar with at some level. There’s also been a lot of counter-terror pork distributed to local police departments around the country, either buying bizarre arsenals to face terrorists they’ll almost certainly never encounter or surplus military supplies being cast off by US deployments abroad. But with all that, WTF?

And yet when the right-wing wackos like the all-white Minutemen or Cliven Bundy and his band of “sovereign citizens” gather with guns, ammo, flack jackets, and enough artillery to prove their tiny manhoods, the law enforcement hang back like frightened deer, afraid to “provoke an incident.”  Tell me that has nothing to do with race.

Thursday, July 10, 2014