A reader emails:

Several months ago, when white, urbanist homeowners were busy advocating for rental housing for everyone else, I would ask why. Why would we advocate for renting over ownership? I never got a good answer- it was determined to be mostly racist to ask the question, which to me seems to be more of a racist answer than the question is.

Anyway, now with COVID-19 shutdowns, I started to see this hashtag pop up- #cancelrent

I searched the hashtag on Twitter. More than 80 within the last hour.

The biggest complaint seems to be that it is now suddenly wrong for someone else to earn money by “doing no more than allowing you to have a place to live.

Great, then it’s settled. Can we stop building luxury $2000 per month apartments and go back to building single family homes or at least make the apartments that are being built condos or both?

I’m a little concerned that the generation that thought milk came from cartons, now thinks housing, healthcare, and benefits descend from the skies in velveteen treasure chests on the backs of unicorns.  

Closed To Business

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Does this infringe on Second Amendment rights? 

Churches are closed – did that infringe on First Amendment rights?

Do we believe the Founders intended God-given, inalienable rights to be subject to the whims of the Chief Executive declaring an “emergency?”

Joe Doakes

I can’t speak for the collective “we”, but this blog does not.

I’ll point out that the statement (from Oakdale Gun Club) has at least a whiff of private property owner’s discretion – which this blog supports.

That being said, think about this for a moment: until 2015, it would have been perfectly legal for a Governor to order the confiscation of firearms in a state of emergency; see New Orleans after Katrina. Minnesota’s gun rights groups fought and won that battle in the 2015 legislature. If you think things couldn’t be worse than they are now, you’ve not been paying attention.

If you’re a gun owner, and not involved in your area’s 2nd Amendment group (like this group in Minnesota), you need to be. Now.

Lessons Learned

As the Covid pandemic, and its attendant panic-buying, started, I noted that there was a good news, bad news thing going on.

The good news? Americans had learned a thing or two about disaster preparedness.

The bad news? They learned it from The Walking Dead.

Tangentially related? Everyone whose idea of “preparedness” involves some variation of “bugging out for the boonies” might wanna rethink that, before a real emergency hits.

Rhode Island wants to start going door to door looking for New Yorkers fleeing the pandemic’s hot spot.

It’s probably unconstitutional, and it’s probably going to get shot down in court…

…long after the pandemic has retreated into the past.

But be advised – the locals are not amused.

New, Miserable Regime

The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence led “Protect” MN for four gloriously inept years.

In those years, she never – not once – made a statement about guns, gun owners, gun crime, self-defense, gun hardware, gun laws, the Second Amendment, its history, its jurisprudence or its application that was simultaneously substantial, original and true.

This blog spent four years calling our her constant prevarication and fabulism. The content never ended

…well, until she “left” PM last month.

And now, we’re moving on. At least for a while. “Protect” MN has an “interim” director:

Lest anyone was in doubt about “P”M’s place in the Minnesota Non-Profit/Industrial Complex, Mueller was an executive at “Planned Parenthood” for ten years. She’s got a background in “Public Health”, although apparently not the kind of pubic health that’s of any use during epidemics.

Welcome, Ms. Mueller. When you start lying, we’ll be right here waiting for you.

By the way – about that “if you’re in a home with guns and feel unsafe, reach out…” bit?

What if you’re in a home without ’em and feel unsafe? Or feel safe because you have ’em? Can I call?

I’ll try to invite her on the NARN.

Get The Pitchforks

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Is “ICU bed” a technological term, a medical definition, or a billing code?

I’m beginning to wonder if it’s not something like: “In order to receive reimbursement at ICU rate, the facility must pass a Level Three inspection and be certified as having X equipment and Y level of dedicated staff holding Z certificates, and located in a licensed facility.”

If that’s the reason there’s a hard limit in ICU beds – Medicare reimbursement rules instead of medical treatment requirements – then the politicians better hope word never gets out to the people laid off under this fake-martial law, or the next shortage will be pitchforks and torches.

Joe Doakes

I suspect an awful lot of people will be looking for pitchforks and torches when the word gets out about the bureaucracy’s bungling.

If it ever gets out.

Fortunately, as Treacher notes, media’s job is to cover the important stories – with a pillow, until the struggling stops, if the story affects the Democrat establishment.

Like “We Didn’t Start The Fire”, …

…only by a musician that hasn’t been a complete waste of time for most of his career:

NPR does what journalists actually should, and provides the needful – a list (and playlist) of all the songs referenced in “Murder Most Foul”.

(And before all the Billy Joel fans start beefing – Joel’s had two good moments in his career – and “Piano Man” was neither of them. There’s this song – which he wrote for Ronnie Spector, who covered it with the E Street Band in the background…

…and one whole, glorious album where I managed to mostly forget it was Billy Joel doing the singing.

And with that, I return to this blog’s official status quo: Bob Dylan is an eccentric genius, and Billy Joel is a talented douchebag.

Distillation

From the American Heritage dictionatry, the word “Distillation”

  • n.The evaporation and subsequent collection of a liquid by condensation as a means of purification.
  • n.The extraction of the volatile components of a mixture by the condensation and collection of the vapors that are produced as the mixture is heated.
  • n.A distillate.

With that definition in mind: this article in the Atlantic is as pure a distillation of Berg’s Seventh Law as rhetorical chemistry will allow.

Responses

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Governor Walz explained that we must shut down Minnesota to avoid overwhelming our 235 ICU beds with Covid-19 patients.  Apparently, if the 236th patient showed up, we’d have no choice.  We’d wheel her to the parking lot and leave her to die – there’s simply no way to treat her without an ICU bed.
So why do we have a hard limit on ICU beds?  Why not get more of them?  This is a serious question that maybe some SITDers can answer: what does an ICU bed to treat Covid-19 require?
Not talking about Minnesota luxury standard where you put one ICU bed in a hospital with sandwich bar in the cafeteria, talking about what Hawkeye Pierce would do.  The governor is invoking martial law powers because fighting the virus is the equivalent of war.  So what would a battlefield ICU bed for Covid-19 need?
Let’s say I want to double the number of Covid-19 treatment beds available. Is there anything special about the bed, itself, or can we call Original Mattress Factory to deliver a couple hundred beds?  If the patients need to sit up to breathe, does the bed need electric tilt or could we call that pillow guy to bring us a few hundred of his fancy pillows to stuff behind them?  Space – we’ve got high school gyms sitting empty.  Dividers – call the cubicle people to slap up free-standing cubicle walls between beds.
Ventilator?  That’s a fancy word for fan.  Any leaf blower could push air into your lungs. Speed controller?  Dimmer switch.  Regulator valve?  SCUBA dive shop.  Fan, vacuum cleaner hose, mask, duct tape, let’s get creative.  A CPAP doesn’t push hard enough but is that because the fan isn’t strong enough, or because the software limits it?  Can we overclock the fan to blow harder? 
Not medical grade?  That woman in the parking lot is dying, does ‘medical grade’ really matter to her?  Besides, there’s a machine shop in North Branch making aluminium AR-15 parts on state-of-the-art computer-controlled milling machines.  Give them the software code for ventilator parts, offer them $10,000 per unit, I bet they could pound them out in a week.  
Trained personnel to staff the bed?  Rosie the Riveter learned a new job.  You saying college kids today can’t?  $50 an hour, you’re out of school anyway, sign up here.
Seriously – why is the existing number of ICU beds sufficient justification to impose martial law?  Why not just build more ICU beds?  
Joe Doakes

Seventy years ago, they figured out a way to build antisubmarine patrol boats in Shakopee. Submarines in Wisconsin.

We can figure this out – provided “figuring it out” is the real goal.

I’m not entirely sure it is, for everyone.

A Conservative Is A Liberal That’s Been Mugged (By Reality)

A few years ago, when The Walking Dead was dominating the cable schedule, I noted – maybe here, but probably on Facebook – that the message was hard to miss, for everyone but, I suspect, the show’s creators; crisis breeds conservatism.

When one has to focus on finding toilet paper and eggs, and is silently eyeing the property and violent crime rates in the neighborhood, hectoring people about pronouns and carbon footprints, at least for the moderately sane, slides down the priority list

And gun control?

Gun shops on the outskirts of Blue America report a surge of new purchases more brisk than the Obama years – and heavily comprising first-time, often left-of center, gun owners.

I caught this piece, in BearingArms.com.

Pull quote:

At noon, a woman in her sixties came in. She wore plastic gloves and had a scarf wrapped around her face, and she traced a wide arc around the only other non-employee in the store. “I’ve been doing this since the beginning of March,” she said, referring to her protective gear. “I don’t feel sick at all. I’m self-quarantining.” She left her house only for essential activities. This was one. “I’m buying a gun,” she said. “I can’t believe it.”

She went on, “My son was a little upset about it.” (He preferred his bow and arrow.) “I’m old and I live alone, and we don’t know if there’s going to be civil unrest. The world is not the same.” She added, “It didn’t have to be this way.” Unlike many of the shop’s regulars, she was no fan of Trump: “He’s a divider all the way. First he said, ‘Five people have died, big deal.’ Now he’s saying, ‘I always knew it’d be dangerous.’ ” Talk turned to Portland. “It’s a ghost town,” a young woman said. Her name was Rosemary, and she was helping Bales out, since the restaurant where she waited tables had closed.

“I don’t like to go in cities anymore, anyway,” the customer said…Bales helped her customer choose a weapon. (“Pick three,” the customer told her.) As Bales rummaged around, the customer said, “I’m going to have a soldier train me. A friend of my son’s.” Bales returned with the first option. “A .22 Mag,” she said. “Holds thirty rounds.”…“I like the color of it,” the customer said. “It’s not black.” She picked it up. “It feels good. And it’s got a safety…This is just going to be for close range,” the customer said. “In my house. If it happens.” (Asked what “it” was, she said, “In two months, if the cities are starving, they’re gonna come out. And I understand that.”) …

“I think she’s a liberal,” Bales said, once the door closed. “There’s so many coming in. First-time-gun-owner liberals. I’ve probably seen ten this week. It’s so funny, because I hope it just turns them on to liking the Second Amendment. I mean, the Constitution was created for a reason. To protect us.”

Whoops. Did I say Bearing Arms? I meant The New Yorker.

If you are a new gun owner? Perhaps coming from the left?

On behalf of everyone who’s spent decades fighting to keep the right to keep and bear arms safe, you’re welcome.

Hope you remember this when the crisis lifts.

Fearless Prediction

Americas public school kids are in the middle of the biggest snow day in national history.

In-school classes in much, perhaps most, of the country are canceled for the rest of the year.. While schools are switching frantically to non-traditional, largely online instruction, it’s safe to say the apple cart has been completely upturned.

A former education bureaucrat and current consultant to the educational/industrial complex, writing in the Washington post, is very, very worried about What It All Means:

There is no research to measure what the effect of this massive break will be. In our lifetimes, Americans have never canceled so much school for so many children. But we know one thing for sure: The impact will not simply disappear. It will linger into next school year and beyond. Indeed, Hanushek and others have found that the effects of a single great teacher or a single substandard teacher can be measured into adulthood. And the negative effects of chronic absenteeism(typically defined as missing at least 15 to 18 days in a school year) on student achievement are clear — and dire.

My prediction: the only “dire” results, assuming the truth ever is let out by a media that is completely in bed with the establishment, will be to the establishment of the educational/industrial complex.; I predict it will be showing that the vast majority of children thrive, learning at their own pace, more or less, from home, and not being jammed into uniform desks in airless classrooms, having material presented to them in assembly line fashion as if they are widgets on an assembly line – which, cynical as it sounds, is the model for the vast majority of education, public and private, today.

I predict that most kids come out of this episode smarter than they would have had they stayed in school.

As the author notes, there will be exceptions; children of poor families, or whose parents aren’t able to devote as much attention to dealing with the kids needs while they’re quarantined.

Another fearless prediction: for the vast majority of those kids, this will still be the best educational time of their lives. And for the rest, they are the same ones that the public schools are leaving behind when they’re in class.

Prove me wrong.

Bent

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Everybody who was an expert on the Emoluments Clause a while back, is now an expert on epidemiology. Can’t tell you how many people earnestly explained to me how they’re helping “bend the curve” and I should, too.
Which curve? There are two. One is the number of people who have contracted the Corona Virus. That’s the number breathlessly repeated on the news but really, it’s a meaningless number. It’s like asking: “How many Americans had a cold last Winter?” The answer is “All of them” but nobody cares because nobody died from it. In fact, we WANT every American to get the virus, and recover, to build “herd immunity.”
The number we care about is: “How many Americans died from the Corona Virus?” and that’s only meaningful if we have something to compare it to. That’s the curve we’re trying to bend down, so fewer people die. But how many is few enough?

In 2019, influenza killed 50,000 Americans, mostly children and elderly with chronic health problems. The plain old everyday flu. Nobody batted an eye. 50,000 out of 300,000,000 is nothing to get excited about.
In 2019, abortions were down – only 16,500 per week. Last week, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota – one of the state’s largest abortion providers – was still open for business.
COVID-19 has killed about 300 Americans.

For this, we shut down the entire nation? How far down must the curve be bent?
Joe Doakes

Another curve I, and a lot of Americans, keep in mind; how many people in our lives are susceptible to lung problems?

It’s a pretty fair number in my family. That’s a curve I want to keep to zero. And so I’m acting accordingly, as best I can.

Casualties Of Pestilence

Thousands of people have died of Covid19. Thousands more will likely die.

Every one of those deaths is a tragedy, snuffing out a human life of incalculable worth and immense potential.

Well, all of them but one.

One of the casualties is the “Green New Deal”, says Kevin Williamson, as people life with previews of the Green New Deal:

What we are seeing right now is what it looks like when Washington tries to steer the economy. There are times when that is necessary, and this is one of those times. But emergencies do not last forever, and emergency measures should be, by nature, temporary. The attraction of the climate-change crusade is that it creates a permanent state of emergency. The Left wants very much to convince Americans that climate change presents an emergency of the same kind requiring the same “moral equivalent of war” worldwide mobilization.107

One suspects that the people who are missing their paychecks right now, and the ones who worry that they may be missing them soon, are going to need some convincing. The adverse effects of climate change are likely to be significant and may prove severe — as noted, many of our progressive friends insist that they already are. But we have a new point of comparison, and those challenges feel relatively manageable if the alternative is an extended version of the coronavirus shutdown — and no amount of marketing will change the fact that that is precisely what is being advocated.

A couple of months of this is going to be very hard to take. Nobody is signing up for a lifetime of it.

And two trillion dollars of bailout is bad. The Green New Deal is going to cost an order of magnitude and change more. And unlike Covid, it’ll never end.

Tone Deaf

Moments after the president signed the biggest bailout bill in American history – which included tens of millions of dollars for the Kennedy Center – The Center laid off the entire National Symphony Orchestra:

Hours after President Trump signed a stimulus bill that includes $25 million for the Kennedy Center, its president Deborah Rutter told the National Symphony Orchestra that their paychecks would end this week..

In a conference call Friday night, Rutter told orchestra leaders that the 96 musicians would receive their last paycheck on April 3 and that they will not be paid until the arts center reopens. In addition, she said their health care benefits would stop at the end of May if the arts center is still closed at that time. The announcement was characterized by several NSO members as a shock.

While the orchestra is out on the streets, does anyone want to place any bets on how many key Democrat party figures and donors will get a boost from the taxpayer bonanza?

Les Deplorábles

I can’t think that this bodes well for Team Blue this fall: residents of communities where wealthy New Yorkers have second/vacation homes have had about enough of the epidemic carpetbagging:

People with second homes in the Catskills region of New York are being warned to stay away in venom-laced Facebook posts and blunt messages from county officials.

Boardwalks and beaches in some Jersey Shore towns are barricaded, and residents are urging the closure of coastal access bridges to outsiders.

In the Hamptons, the famous playground for the rich on the East End of Long Island, locals are angry that an onslaught of visitors has emptied out grocery store shelves.

A backlash has grown on the outskirts of the New York region as wealthy people flee to summer homes to avoid the densely packed city, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis.

This clash between year-round residents and those with the means to retreat to vacation homes intensified Tuesday as White House officials advised those who had passed through or fled New York City to place themselves in a 14-day quarantine.

“They’re pumping gas. They’re stopping at grocery stores,” said Kim Langdon, 48, of Ashland, New York. “If they’re infected and they don’t know it, they’re putting everyone at risk.”

The expletive-filled commentary on a Catskills Facebook page was less subtle.

“The only cases in Greene County were brought here from downstate people so stay down there,” one man wrote. “Just because you have a second home up here doesn’t mean you have the right to put us at risk.”

The paraable of the Ant and the Grasshopper seems, if not appropriate, at least timely.

The Scarlet Letter

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Physical therapy this morning, the receptionist wanted to know if I had come into contact with anyone who is confirmed by medical testing to have coronavirus.

How would I know? Do they wear a big C on their chest?

You don’t have Corona virus unless you’re tested for it. You can’t get tested for it unless you come into contact with someone else who already has been tested for it. I may be infected but without that link, no test for me.

I distrust the official numbers.

Joe Doakes

I’ve long since switched to counting deaths. They’re harder to hide.

Not impossible – I’m more and more convinced the Chinese are hiding something big.

But the number is a lot less subject to the vagaries of bureaucratic competence.

Definitions

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

New bill in the legislature.

Does “knows” mean “has actual knowledge” or does it mean “didn’t have actual knowledge, but under the totality of the circumstances, after reasonable inquiry such as a background check, should have known and therefore is presumed to have known, so it’s okay to punish him as if he had actually known the buyer was prohibited.”

Joe Doakes

I think in this case it means “whatever an ambitious prosecutor with ambitions in the DFL wants it to mean.

Democrats: “Never Waste A Crisis”

Americans are, to say the least, distracted these days. The epidemic, and its economic fallout, are pretty much front and center for most of us.

Perfect cover, if you’re a weasel.

Georgia Democrat Congressman Hank Johnson is a weasel. He’s introducing a bill that doubles as an encyclopedia of all the Democrats true hopes and dreams when it comes to gun control: bans of classes of weapons, “Universal” registraiton, age limits, purchase limits, and pretty much name it.

This is today’s Democrat party – exploiting misery to grab power.

“But Mitch…”

“…why do you oppose cities running munipical utilities for vital services like water, electricity and trash collection?”

Because it gives tinhorn autocrats an excessive amount of coercive power:

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the city is preparing to launch enforcement efforts against nonessential businesses that have remained opened, starting with a warning.

Those that remain open face misdemeanor penalties, citations, fines and the possibility of the city Department of Water and Power shutting off utility service, Garcetti said.

More power. That was really the intention all along.

The Virus

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There are presidential primaries coming, but who’s going to stand in line to vote, risking the virus?
Isn’t this a clear case of foreign interference in the presidential election?  Since it harms Democrats by lowering turnout and complicating the race, Trump benefits.  Isn’t that an emolument, or collusion, or something impeachable? 
Joe Doakes

Reality is what the media says it is.