Crisis Doesn’t Change Some Things

There is an old saying that difficult times bring out the best in people. I believe this is true in the general sense, but for some people, a crisis like we are facing makes no difference at all to them. My extended family is a shining example of the latter scenario.

For most of my life, I’ve known that my extended family on my Mom’s side are some rather unpleasant pieces of work. Long story, but Mom was orphaned as a child and wasn’t found by her older siblings until she was well into adulthood. The result is that there has never been a true familial bond. Mom was always the “outsider” and my Dad and myself were shunned as well.

You cannot miss what you never had. This is true in regards to a close relationship with my extended family. There is no surprise at all when I naively attempted to reach out to them last week to see if they were doin ok with the Coronavirus situation. Not surprisingly, I’ve had no response from any of them. I officially give up on them. They have no regard for, nor interest in me. I’m done trying to be the nice one. I don’t wish them I’ll, I simply just don’t care anymore.

This decision wasn’t arrived at in a hurry, or with any rush to judgement. I hoped that facing this common adversary called Coronavirus might enable us to finally connect and start to build some bridges over the chasms that have separated us for our entire lives. We know that each other exists, but that will remain the extent of our contact from this day forward.

I say all of this calmly and without emotion because there has never been a time to feel bad about the situation, at least in my life. I can’t miss what I never had.

Shortages

We have all heard about shortages over the last week. We have a shortage of kits to test for the Coronavirus, and that means we can’t get a truly accurate picture of just how widespread the problem is.

We have a shortage of respirators, and that means we can’t treat everyone properly who might or might not actually have the Coronavirus because we have a shortage of test kits.

We have a shortage of leadership from our allegedly elected officials. The Orange Nazi also has a shortage of personal responsibility because nothing is ever his fault.

There are some things that we don’t have a shortage of. Information and infoporn are all too available to us. This overwhelms our inputs and creates a sense of hopelessness and despair. We also have no shortage of those feelings.

As for feelings, I know that we have no shortage of compassion and kindness. That is something we make for ourselves in such quantities that we can always manage to spare some for those people in need.

With My Extended Family, I’m Already Well-Versed In Social Distancing And Social Isolation

The other day I wrote about social distancing and social isolation. I didn’t intend to write about it again so soon, but earlier today I felt the need to reach out to my cousin to see how she and her family were doing with all the coronavirus shit going down. When I pulled up the Messages app on my iPhone and started to compose my message, I noticed that it has been nearly a month since I last texted her. At that time I asked about her and her family, but particularly about her Dad who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

With that initial gap just between my attempting to reach her without success established, I then looked further back and discovered that she hasn’t contacted me in over 6 months. I realized that I was wasting my time by attempting to contact her. Why bother?

I now see that when it comes to social distancing and social isolation, that I’m already well-equipped to deal with it thanks to my extended family.

Ways To Ruin A Weekend


Normally, the very idea that a weekend could be anything but wonderful would be absurd to me. I love weekends and the time to rest and enjoy myself.

Now, I’m planning my weekend around a trip to the pharmacy and grocery store and then coming back home to find things to do that won’t involve watching any canceled sporting events such as March a Madness.

The Real March Madness Begins

A State of Emergency has been declared by president Dumbshit, which is ironic when we consider that every second he has been in office represents a National Emergency. Now we’ll start to see what happens to everyday life on a national scale. Because this is something that we’ve never encountered before, no one can accurately predict what will happen next.

I finished work just as Dumbshit made his announcement, I refuse to actually watch or listen to him. I’ll find out about the relevant points later. Besides, I had to take Hal (person) to the vet so Hal The Cat and Stevie Nicks could get their shots to have them up to date when we move. I’m sitting in the car waiting because I’m in one of the high-risk groups (diabetic) and I want to avoid enclosed spaces where people might be sick.

I did go to get my new glasses adjusted for the first time while waiting on Hal, but that took less than 5 minutes. Hal came back with both of the cats, and we returned home. We have no plans to go anywhere tonight, we’ll stay in and watch TV together and cuddle up on the couch. Knowing that we’ll be together gives me comfort.

Dinner was early. It was simple and delicious as we finished the spaghetti I made a few days ago. I got another package of ground beef from the freezer so I can make more spaghetti tomorrow. I hope that I can sleep well tonight and we’ll do our very best to enjoy the weekend.

When Does “Social Distancing” become “Social Isolation”?

The latest advice about avoiding the Coronavirus involves the new term “Social Distancing”, which is another way of saying to”‘keep your ass at home if you don’t feel well.” I don’t understand the need to invent a new catchphrase for this action, but I gave up trying to understand the media many years ago.

Some of the advice does make sense. I am diabetic and I know that affects my immune system to a degree. This makes me more vulnerable to something like the Coronavirus, although I hate to admit that I am just a mere mortal after all. Therefore, it makes sense for me to limit what I do and where I go while this virus is running rampant. Neither Hal not myself will be eating out for the foreseeable future because being in a closed environment is exactly what I need to avoid. The same goes for attending the movies. We can watch most things at home.

The real reason I started to write this post is because there are so many people who are already “Socially Distant” and live in an insular world. I fear that many of these people will withdraw even further from the outside and create “Social Isolation”. We all know someone like this, the people who seem to cringe at any social interaction on a face to face basis. Try starting a conversation with someone on a bus or train or in an elevator even without the Coronavirus threat, and see how many people will visibly shrink away. These are the people who are at risk for “social isolation” and they might never recover from this shock caused by the Coronavirus.

Is there anything that we can do? I would suggest using your phone to actually call someone and speak to them rather than email or text. If at all possible, get out when you can and meet with other people in a safe and responsible manner until the crisis has passed. After that, keep on fighting “social isolation”. The worst thing that can happen is that you will be rejected. This is something that happens to us all, perhaps you aren’t the right person to reach out to that individual. Perhaps that person is just an asshole that no one can reach. At least you will have tried, and your conscience will be at ease moving forward.

Profit$ over People

POLITICS 03/11/2020 01:34PM EDT

Senate GOP Blocks Emergency Paid Sick Leave Bill From Moving Forward

The legislation put forth by Democrats would guarantee 14 days of paid leave for workers affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Democrats hoping to pass an emergency paid sick leave bill to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus were stymied by Senate Republicans on Wednesday.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) tried to speed the measure up for a vote on the Senate floor through a procedural maneuver, but an objection from Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) prevented the bill from bypassing the Republican-controlled health committee.

Murray noted that many people who don’t have paid leave through their jobs will inevitably miss work due to being sick or quarantined in the coming weeks. She argued that guaranteed paid leave was important both for public health and the good of the broader economy.

“For many of our workers ― restaurant workers, truck drivers, service industry workers ― they may not have an option to take a day off without losing their pay or losing their job,” Murray said. “That’s not a choice we should be asking anyone to make in the United States in the 21st century.”

Alexander said that paid sick leave is a “good idea.” But if lawmakers want to require employers to provide it, then the federal government should have to foot the bill, he argued.

“Employees are struggling, our employers are struggling, and it’s not a cure for the coronavirus to put a big new expensive federal mandate on employers who are struggling in the middle of this matter,” Alexander said.

Although the bill is bottled up for now, Democrats could try to attach the measure to another legislative package aimed at dealing with the virus.

Democrats proposed the emergency legislation in both chambers last week. The bill sponsored by Murray in the Senate and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) in the House would immediately guarantee workers 14 days of paid sick leave in the event of a public health emergency like the current one. Workers would separately accrue up to seven sick days over the course of a year under the bill.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised people stay home from work if they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Under the Democratic bill, workers could use the 14 emergency sick days if their workplace or their child’s school is closed, or if they or a family member ends up quarantined.

Many states already have sick leave mandates on the books, including California and Murray’s home state of Washington, both of which have been hit hard by the novel coronavirus. But unlike in most other developed countries, there is no federal law requiring employers to give workers paid time off when they’re sick.

The outbreak has brought unprecedented public attention to the lack of a mandate in the U.S. Seventy-three percent of private sector workers have paid sick leave, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the remaining 27% who don’t have it, many are concentrated in lower-wage service jobs like retail and fast food.

– Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

Some companies have moved to institute more generous policies amid the criticism stirred up by the coronavirus emergency. Darden Restaurants, which owns the Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse chains, recently announced that all its hourly employees would now start accruing sick leave. The company has previously opposed legislative mandates on sick days.

Democrats have been trying to pass sick leave measures for years and have succeeded in the House. But the GOP majority in the Senate has prevented such bills from coming up for a vote, arguing that small businesses cannot withstand the cost increases of sick leave.

Murray’s emergency bill was all but certain to die in the Senate, but the measure still afforded Democrats an opportunity to put Republicans on the record in opposing it. Polling shows that the idea of a sick leave mandate tends to be extremely popular, with even a strong majority of Republican voters supporting it.

This post has been updated with Alexander’s remarks.

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