Civil Disobedience

I’ll confess – I never thought I’d see the Catholic Church act up against big government.

The Missouri Synod Lutherans? Sure. But Twin Cities catholics? I’d given up hope.

Happy to admit I got that one wrong.

Minnesota’s collection of Bishops have joined with the conservative Missouri Synod Lutherans to defy the Governor’s absurd “10 people in church” order.

So we’re clear on this – to an administration full of people who roil with contempt for business, faith and science, fifty people on a restaurant patio is juuuust fine. Eleven people in a church, whether a tiny United Church of Christ congregation in Eveleth or the Cathedral of Saint Paul, or the Living Word megachurch for that matter? Not.

I’ve been personally pretty cautious and conservative about my own interactions with people – but the Walz Administration has “departed controlled flight”, reason-wise. I’m sure their goal isn’t to actively breed contempt and disrespect for government – but if they were, I’m at a loss for how they’d do it differently.

The Bishops’ letter is below the jump.

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Heroes Walking Among Us

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Went for a walk, saw this sign, having trouble identifying the symbol for “government bureaucrats.”  


Hey, we’re essential, you know.  Those papers aren’t going to shuffle themselves.  
Joe Doakes

Sardonic as Joe is, he knows as well as anyone that government workers of all kinds are the most essential workers there are. They’re public employees union members – the backbone of the DFL.

They’re essential to his and the DFL’s power.

But we all knew this.

A Look Ahead To Government Healthcare…

…with a side helping of “Blue Minnesota always tries to emulate New York”.

City-run nursing homes in NYC became wretched hellscapes during the worst of the pandemic:

“It was just heartbreaking,” said one of the RNs, a mom of four from Wisconsin who spent about 17 days at the Coler Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center.

“Patients were in deplorable conditions — very, very dirty, bed sores, terrible odors,’’ the FEMA-contracted nurse, 38, told The Post.

“During my shift, I was placing my initials on the adult diapers. When I would return the next day, the patients would have an additional adult diaper on over the one with my initials on it, saturated urine through both and through the sheets.’’

She and several other nurses, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they tended to coronavirus patients in the facility’s long-term-care section.

The virus-sickened patients were already living at the site when the nurses arrived and not among the COVID-19 sufferers who were ordered sent to the facility by Mayor Bill de Blasio because of a shortage of hospital beds amid the pandemic. The patients brought in from the outside were put in a separate wing of the site that had been closed.

The conditions were a direct result of Governor “Fredo” Cuomo and Mayor “Ratso” DiBlasio’s bureaucratic d**k-measuring contest back in March – further proof that politics is not just (as Kevin Williamson says) the worst possible way of allocating scarce resources, but in times of crisis, the deadliest as well.

The Good News: Americans Have Learned A Lot About Dealing With Crises

The bad news: they learned it by watching The Walking Dead.

I’ve noticed a serious uptick in incredibly dangerous, reckless driving since the onset of the epidemic.

Now, out on I94 between the Cities is one thing. But this includes a lot of episodes on Saint Paul’s narrow side streets.

Worst example? I was driving down Phalen Parkway, out toward the East Side a few weeks ago. Not long after I passed Olive street, moving about 40MPH, I saw a car way behind me, moving very fast, swerving between the oncoming and right lanes, doing at least 90mph (in a 40mph zone).

Worse yet, I saw a concrete median, and cars in the oncoming lane, Speed Racer was going to have to squeeze into the right lane, along with me, before we got to the median.

Part of me thought “just carry on, and let the moron either jam on the binders or smack into the median – before I remembered that “me and my new-ish used car” were also a viable option. I pulled over – and the moron (a twenty-something of Vibrant descent) swerved into the lane with probably ten feet to spare, jamming on the gas.

I followed him, hoping to get a license or at least be around to call in the crash report, but he swerved onto Frank Street, narrowly missing an oncoming car, and gunned it up the hill into the neighborhood. I lost him. I have to hope he didn’t kill anyone – yet.

So I’d been wondering when we’d start seeing stories like these all over the place.

Timing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Newest Covid statistics.

10% of the people tested got the virus.  1.5% of those who got the virus, needed hospitalization. One-half of one percent of those who got the virus, died from it.  80% of the deaths are in nursing homes.  No child has died from it.
 
The computer model estimates from the press conference in March, when the Governor imposed the lock down, were that 2.5 million Minnesotans would get it, of all ages, from 6 months to 91 years; that 15% of those who get it would require hospitalization; 5% of them would require ICU care; 1% would die. 
 
Testing proves the computer model was wrong.  Can we abandon the model, now?  Focus our efforts on those who need them, liberate the rest to go back to work so we can pay for it all?
 
Joe Doakes

I’m not going to say “nothing about Govenor Walz’s response has anything to do with public health.

But nearly every part of the response – especially last week’s luke-warm reopening announcement – is driven by political expedience.

In this case, most notably, as defiance of the state of emergency burgeons, the expedience of appearing to still be in charge.

Densely Packed People

“Politics is the least effective possible way to get things done” is a tight paraphrase of one of my favorite Kevin Williamson quotes. And it may as well be the theme in this piece, from far-from-right Pro Publica,

Pullquote from among many contenders:

[San Francisco Mayor London] Breed, it turns out, had sent de Blasio a copy of her detailed shelter-in-place order. She thought New York might benefit from it.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, however, reacted to de Blasio’s idea for closing down New York City with derision. It was dangerous, he said, and served only to scare people. Language mattered, Cuomo said, and “shelter-in-place” sounded like it was a response to a nuclear apocalypse.

Moreover, Cuomo said, he alone had the power to order such a measure.

For years, Cuomo and de Blasio, each of whom has harbored national political ambitions, had engaged in a kind of intrastate cold war, a rivalry that to many often felt childish and counterproductive. When de Blasio finally decided to close the city’s schools, it was Cuomo who rushed to make the public announcement, claiming it as his decision.

“No city in the state can quarantine itself without state approval,” Cuomo said of de Blasio’s call for a shelter-in-place order. “I have no plan whatsoever to quarantine any city.”

Cuomo’s conviction didn’t last. On March 22, he, too, shuttered his state. The action came six days after San Francisco had shut down, five days after de Blasio suggested doing similarly and three days after all of California had been closed by Newsom. By then, New York faced a raging epidemic, with the number of confirmed cases at 15,000 doubling every three or four days.

Being a leftist publication, the elephant in the room – population density is a key vector of transmission – got skipped.

But tinhorn imperial personality poiltics? That just plain killec.

Tone Deaf

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

600,000 Minnesotans lost their jobs this Spring. The $1.5 billion surplus is now a $2.5 billion deficit.  DFL legislators want to give 50,000 state employees a 2% raise in July.
 
My thought: there are 50,000 state employees?  That’s a lot of bureaucrats.  And it does not include all government employees – teachers, county or city – only state government.  Are we sure that’s as lean as we can get?  No fat to trim?  None?
 
The Republicans are holding strong, for now.  Let the state employees strike.  Give them a taste of their own medicine, going without pay like so many others.  
 
State employee unions hold Walz’ leash.  Time to give it a yank.  
 
Joe Doakes

Being a public employee union makes you not only “essential”, but more valuable to Tim Walz’s Minnesota than the people who are paying the taxes to support them.

If Daudt and the House GOP give up their cards on the bonding bill, I may go back to the Libertarians after all.

Government By Slogan

Gym class is one of few parts of high school – mostly junior high – that I’ve actively tried to blot from my mind. Don’t get me wrong – some of the gym teachers at my high school might not have been sadistic sociopaths. Some of them may have grown as human beings. I’ll leave it to divine judgment.

I do remember that many of ’em, when they weren’t articulating the humor they found in making the less team-sports-inclined kids feel like fish out of water, communicated primarily in slogans, to the depth of “no pain no gain” and “loooong slow distance” and other such repositories of the wisdom of Western Civilization. I don’t remember much, but I remember the slogans.

I thought about that when Governor Walz explained his new testing policy on Friday. Emphasis added by me:

Gov. Tim Walz coined the phrase “Minnesota moonshot” to refer to his goal for COVID-19 testing in the coming weeks.

It’s a “moonshot” because the level of testing he says is necessary is hard to imagine in current conditions.

Over the past six weeks, Minnesota labs have run more than 39,000 total tests statewide. Before the state begins returning to normal, Walz said he was aiming for some 5,000 tests per day or 40,000 a week.

And another story came out Friday as well, spelling out the details. I’ve added some emphasis:

Walz has said that a massive increase in testing — both tests that diagnose people who have the virus and tests that determine whether someone has developed antibodies to fight the virus — is necessary to restart parts of the economy.

Walz is planning to use $36 million from a state COVID-19 fund for the first phase of a several-step process: A three- to four-week period in which Mayo Clinic and the U of M will create a central lab to accommodate the expanded testing. Clinics and hospitals around the state will also be ramping up their efforts to take samples from potentially infected patients, which they will then send to that new central lab

The state is also planning to establish a virtual command center, to coordinate the state’s response with health care systems across Minnesota. The center would help determine where the tests are needed most on a given day, and how best to quickly address outbreaks that occur.

A new website, in which patients can see exactly where all the testing sites are among other resources, is also in the works.

Well, I”m glad there’s a plan.

Or was, anyway.

The sharp-eyed among you, and those that still pay attention to the Minnesota media, may have noticed something – the first story, announcing the Governor’s “moon shot”, was a month ago, and the bit with the “details” – really, a list of aspirations fit entirely for public relations use, which is all it takes for most Twin Cities media to run the story – came out a week later. A month after the “moonshot”, after the “three to four weeks” the governor called out for getting the state – with its formidable concentration of hospitals and immense public health bureaucracy – up to 20K tests a day, we’re noodling along around 5,000, on a good day, and that’s pretty recent.

And you can scan the Twin Cities media every day looking for any sign that a single reporter is going to follow up on the complete flop that Walz’s slogan turned into.

Not only are we testing at 3/4 the rate of South Dakota, and 1/3 the rate of North Dakota – we’re lagging every Minnesota “progressive’s” rhetorical punching bag, Mississippi, by a solid quarter.

Governor Walz is a gym teacher. God love gym teachers – but chanting “no pain, no gain” isn’t going to move any needles.

Not outside of Twin Cities newsrooms, anyway.

Representative Karen

Tina LIebling, representative from…

…well, it might as well be Eastasia, given her attitude about, well, the role of the elected legislature, especially the part that’s in opposition., But I digress.

Here’s the representative, talking about GOP Senators who were doing the – let me make sure I’m perfectly clear oh this – actual job they were elected to do, standing up for their constituents’ interests.

No matter, to Rep. Karen:

Hey, at least state rules forced her to unblock me!

Confidence

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

When people have confidence in the ability and willingness of the government to protect them, they don’t buy guns to protect themselves.

Second straight month of record gun sales.  Forget what they tell the poll takers on the phone – what does that sales figure tell us about the public’s confidence in the local officials they formerly trusted?

Joe Doakes

But…I’m toldthe polling numbers are stellar…

Yeah, We’re In The Best Of Hands

About a month or so ago, I wondered – why is the Minnesota Department of Health treating its “model” like the plans for a nuclear submarine?

One guess – because it was cobbled together over the weekend by a couple of graduate students.

Before Friday, March 20, Marina Kirkeide was a part-time research assistant at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health (SPH), working on human papillomavirus transmission for associate professor Shalini Kulasingam. On a gap year before starting medical school at the University in fall 2020, the College of Science and Engineering alumna also had a second job as a lab tech at St. Paul’s Regions Hospital.

That Friday, Kulasingam called her and two other research assistants to ask if anyone could “work through the day and night” to get a COVID-19 model to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz the following Monday. They all jumped at the chance.

“I don’t think a lot of researchers get to work on something over the weekend and have public figures talk about it and make decisions based on it three days later,” said Kirkeide, a four-year recipient of the Patrick F. Flynn Scholarship.

Oddly, no grad students in economics seem to have been similarly engaged.

Personally I’m less concerned that it was produced by grad students in a weekend.

I’m more concerned by who reviewed it, how, and via what standard. Because science is about questioning hypotheses. Who questioned this model? How?

More than that? I want to know why the Walz Administration treated this model like a state military secret for the past two months.

Science Fiction

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Pretend Covid is a Science Fiction/Fantasy story.

***

President Trump is at the table with his senior advisors, discussing how
to deal with Covid.  Suddenly, a being appears in the room.  Eight feet
tall, red, horns and tail, leering.  People scream, Secret Service try
to rush the President out but the doors won’t open.  They shoot but the
bullets fall to the floor without harming the being.  Eventually, the
being flicks his fingers and everyone freezes in place.

“Enough.  I’m here to collect my due.  You – Orange Man – you’re going
to do exactly as I tell you.  Understand?”

The Orange Man does nothing.  “Oh, my bad,” the being says, flicking his
fingers at the Orange Man, who is suddenly able to move.

“Who are you?  What do you want?”

“I’ve been known by many names but I like the first one, best.  I am the
Light Bringer.  I brought you the opportunity for total power, through
the Covid virus.  And you wasted it!  You idiot – you had the perfect
chance to declare martial law, drain the swamp, clean out the Deep
State, cripple your enemies, restore your country’s greatness and
establish a world-wide empire – but instead you let those morons in the
state capitols run around like idiots ordering people to Stay Home and
now the economy is in such bad shape you’re in danger of losing
everything I gave you.  Well, that’s going to change.  You’re going on
television.  You’re going to announce that you can cure Covid,
completely.  That nobody will ever die from that virus again, anywhere,
in the whole world.  And all it’s going to take is one small favor.”

“What favor?”

“I want you to sacrifice your son to me.  Kill that one person, and
everyone else is saved.”

“Are you kidding?  That’s ridiculous.  I’m not doing that.”

“Why not?  There’s historical precedent.  Abraham was willing. Ivan the
Terrible and Peter the Great both did it,  Herod killed two of his
sons.  What’s the problem?  Any sacrifice is worth it, if it saves even
one life, right?”

***

If it saves even one life.  Now we know where that idea comes from.

Joe Doakes

After the news about the state’s Covid modelers, it doesn’t even seem all that terribly far-fetched.

Models: Garbage In, Garbage Out

I watched Governor Walz’s presser last night. My impressions (borrowing a bit from David Strom):

Old And In The Way – The data used in this model is 3 weeks old. The pandemic is three months old in Minnesota at this point. That means the model is ignoring a solid quarter, almost a third, of the data available – and, being most recent, very possibly the best data. I hate to throw the word “useless” around willy-nilly – but if this alone doesn’t make the model useless, I’m completely bumfuzzled.

Older And Out Of The Way – The model don’t distinguish between populations in hotspots like Hennepin County and the rest of the state. In Minnesota, at present,99% of the Covid deaths are concentrated in 3% of the population. 80+% of the deaths involve 1% of the state. And yet they apply those percentages to the entire population. This is the sort of thing that’d get sent back for rework in the private sector.

And basing mortality predictions across the entire population on numbers that are so flawed at the concept level is bad math at best, dishonest at worst, and a tool used to deceive the people either way – the equivalent of a Star-Tribune poll that draws statewide conclusions based on a massive oversampling of Minneapolis DFLers.

Under Bus Shoved – And since the overwhelming majority of deaths involve people in long term care, the model tacitly assumes that nursing home residents will do nothing whatsoever to protect their population. Which is possible, although there are a whoooole lot of lawyers out there who will likely impel them to try to do a lot better than they are, sooner than later.

The model banks on long-term incompetence – natural, perhaps, for bureaucrats, but not necessarily representative of the population at large.

Conclusion – the Walz administration is using this model to flim-flam a state that, signs show, is getting tired of being lied, condescended and talked down to.

You Get The Government You Pay For

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Campaign contributions for exemption. Nice.

There is speculation that the revelation that the “World’s Largest Candy Store”‘s getting rated as “essential” because their owner is friends with and a donor to Waltz created optics that were starting to hurt Walz, and between that and the fact that Minnesotans are actually acting less sociallyi-distant than Georgians (who opened up to great calumny a few weeks back, and aren’t dying off in droves) led to yesterday’s modest, token relaxation of the shutdown.

We certainly see what it takes to get the governor’s attention.

Techno Peasants, Arise!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There’s definite technological and age bias in the Governor’s Stay Home order.
Sure, curbside and drive-thru are open. But to pick up at the curbside, you must place an online order, and I can never make their menu website work. Old people are less tech-savvy. The order is age discrimination.

And to go through the drive-thru takes a million years because all the people who formerly parked to go inside and talk to one of the three order-takers at the counter, are now waiting to talk to the one order-taker on the tinny box. Cars at Chick-fil-A are backed up all around the parking lot, out across the driving lane, all the way to Barnes & Noble. I can never understand what the order-taker is squawking. Probably slight loss of hearing, what with being old and all. Again, more age discrimination.

What was wrong with going to Keys, sitting in a booth where the nice lady would take my order for meatloaf, bring me some water and bread, I could relax and read a book until my order came?

Joe Doakes

I’m thinking about building a replica of Mickey’s Diner (the one on West 7th, not downtown) in my basement.

Pass This Around

Jax is sort of a family tradition.

Not my family, per se -but my ex in-laws and their side of the family has celebrated their major milestones, including my kids’ major milestones, there for 50-60 years.

And so I watched this:

To continue one of Mr. Kozlak’s point – he may be able to make it at 50% capacity in the short term. The long term is more dubious.

So – do the people in the “shut it down until there’s a vaccine” crowd think that a government can survive with half its taxpayers any more than a business can survive with half its customers?

I’d love some “prog” to explain that in terms that don’t involve “unicorns descending from the skies with chests of gold coins on their backs”.

I’m still waiting.

Shot In The Dark: Today’s News, Over A Month Ago

With all due respect to Professor Glenn Reynolds – who may have done more than any single person to launch this blog, a third of a lifetime ago – I was observing that three of the biggest killers of the Covid plague, density, transit, bureaucracy and censorship, well over a month back.

But they all deserve repeating.

Density:

The coronavirus has been much more deadly in places like New York City or Boston than in rural settings. As demographer Joel Kotkin notes, Los Angeles has done much better than other big cities, because it’s less dense. “L.A.’s sprawling, multi-polar urban form, by its nature, results in far less ‘exposure density’ to the contagion than more densely packed urban areas, particularly those where large, crowded workplaces are common and workers are mass-transit-dependent…

Transit:

Kotkin mentions mass transit, and an MIT study found that NYC subways were a ”major disseminator” of the coronavirus in New York. This is unsurprising: New York City subways are crowded, poorly ventilated and filthy. The city is only just now starting to clean them every night. (A bit late.) Cars come with built-in social-distancing: With a car, you’re riding in a metal and glass bubble with filtered air. Subways and buses, not so much. Whether this virus sounds the ”death knell” for mass transit or not, people will be far more reluctant to ride packed vehicles in the future.

Minnesota’s favorite, Bureaucracy:

Early on, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared COVID-19 a public health emergency, which raised the bar for testing requirements. As a result, hospitals and universities faced significant barriers to getting alternative tests approved by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Censorship:

The Chinese government censored reports of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, punished doctors who talked about it and lied to the world for weeks — while allowing flights from the infected area to carry people from Wuhan all over the world. Now some authoritarian types are claiming that the spread of virus misinformation on social media offers a new justification for censorship of ordinary people.

And let’s not forget perhaps the most insidious form of censorship of all – the notion that “science” is is an orthodox canon of knowledge bestowed upon the proles by high priests of knowledge, more like the medieval Catholic Church than a framework for relentless questioning and skepticism. That – and the media and social media establishment’s efforts to stymie dissent – could wind up being the biggest killers of people and destroyers of freedom of all.

Surprising Nobody (Who’s Been Paying Attention At All)

“Unexpectedly”, Minnesota’s neighbors – well, at least the ones run by people who came up through the world of business, rather than public employment or the non-profit/industrial complex – are kicking Minnesota’s passive-aggressive tush at dealing with Coronavirus.

You could look at it in terms of deaths per million (South Dakota is 1/3 Minnesota’s rate; North Dakota, half). You could look at it in terms of ICU utilization (all are doing all right, but it’s interesting to imagine how much better the lower-density states would be doing but for the ravages of Obamacare on rural healthcare).

Oh, yeah – and testing?

Which Governor Walz, for about the tenth time in six weeks put out there as the dispositive factor in re-opening, notwithstanding the fact that Minnesota’s bureaucracy is no better at un-flattening the curve with tests than it is at managing its budget?

Oh, what do you think? Numbers as of yesterday.

North Dakota 54,330
South Dakota 22,009
Nebraska 21,253
Iowa 21,206
Wisconsin 17,695
Minnesota 17,625

Bear in mind, progs in the audience – this is in terms of tests per million.

The businesspeople – who largely happen to be Republicans, but that’s more an effect than a cause – are doing the job better.

Suppose Minnesota will learn the lesson?

Just One Life

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Governor Walz killed a man today.  He won’t be prosecuted for it. He’s
safe behind papers and attorneys and statutes.  But the man is dead by
Governor Walz’ act, same as if he’d done the deed in person.

Governor Walz killed a health care worker today.  The dead man was laid
off from a hospital.  They couldn’t afford to keep him. They were losing
too much money since the Governor banned non-emergency medical treatment
to keep hospital beds open for the surge of Covid patients that never
came.  But for the shut-down, the dead man would have been at work,
caring for patients, doing what he loved.

Governor Walz killed a father today.  The dead man was married, with
children ranging from 3 to 9 years old.  His wife is still in shock.
Family is staying with her.  The older ones are quiet, trying to
understand.  The little ones hear: “Daddy’s gone to Heaven” and ask:
“Yes, but when is he coming home?”  They don’t understand why he’s never
coming home.  None of us do. There will be no visitation, no memorial. 
They are illegal.

Governor Walz killed a son today.  The dead man’s parents still live in
the house he grew up in.  The father, in his 90’s, crying, asking, “Why
him, Lord?  Why not me? He had so much to live for.” The Governor claims
he had to shut down everything to save lives. But the lives saved are
those like the father – old, sitting at home, waiting to die – which are
never weighed against the lives lost.

Governor Walz killed a brother today. He was the smartest of us all: honors graduate, advanced degrees, quick with a quip but heart as big as the world. He was my baby brother.

Joe Doakes

My condolences to Joe’s family – to say the least.

Pass it around.

The Turning Point?

The media and the Walz administration – pardon, largely, the redundancy – is waving around a bunch of polls by a bunch of left-leaning pollsters showing overwhelming support for keeping the state’s economy shut down until…um, they’ll get back to you on that.

I’ve noticed that an awful lot of those supporting a vapor-tight lockdown until (insert yet another set of Walz Administration goals – I have a hard time keeping up with ’em) have steady incomes that aren’t going anywhere. State workers, employees of schools and universities, non-profiteers in sectors with revenues that aren’t going anywhere.

But all that might change soon. From yesterday’s Governor’s presser:

Gov. Tim Walz says he’s not ready to rule anything out _ including layoffs and furloughs of state employees.

I’m gonna suspect that starts some DFLers thinking critically about risk aversion.

Civil Disobedience

Saint Paul barbershop, facing a life-or-death business decision, chooses life:

In the shadows of the State Capitol, King Milan Barbershop had, for the first time in seven weeks, its lights on. Milan Dennie is the owner.

“It’s my livelihood,” Dennie said. “I’ve been sitting here coming up with strategies and plans on how to open up and do it correctly.”

His customers outside had at least two things in common: The plea to reopen businesses, and the need for a haircut.

For two hours, Dennie enforced social distancing and sanitizing as a way to prove he’s serious for the 16 clients he served.

Government chooses…

…well, not “death”.  

Let’s go for “mindless, unquestioning acquiescence to even the most arbitrary decision of The State”

The 17th person to walk in was St. Paul police.

“We just stepped outside and he talked to me,” Dennie said. “He said he feels what I’m going through, but the order is in place right now.”

Technically, the state can shut him down and fine Dennie up to $25,000. He’s aware he could lose his shop by this decision to reopen. He’s convinced he’d lose it by staying closed.

When the doors did close, donations came in along with support. Some from fellow barbers who are also stressed from not providing.

“Everybody keeps saying, ‘File this, file that.’ You file everything you want to, until your hands hurt,” Burnsville barbershop owner Nile House said. “You can keep typing til your hands are aching, but you’re not going to get it because it’s not coming.”

When people stop respecting what government does, you can expect people to start working around, rather than with, it.

Government Is The Things We Do Together – Stupidly And Arbitrarily

A Long Lake restaurant tries to put on a drive in movie, complete with take-out food with all the socially-distance, plague-aware trimmings.

The state shut them down:

Birch’s On the Lake has lost around 70% of its regular revenue while doing take-out only during the stay at home order.

The owner came up with a plan to do a family night at the drive-in outside the Long Lake restaurant.

“It sold out in a day,” Burton Joseph said.

The plan was to hand out notes to customers explaining the safety rules: stay in their cars, maintain distance, and no alcohol. They would be allowed to call in an order for take-out to eat in their cars.

On Monday state officials told Joseph they could not have the event.

“If we’re coming up with the ideas to keep everyone safe at this point I feel like they deserve to give someone a chance,” Joseph said.

Yet again: we have a government run by a man who’s never had a significant job in the private sector, at the head of an administration that has nothing but contempt for businesspeople…

…telling the people who actually have the interests of not only their business, but the customers and communities that are their livelihood, and who have greatest stake in providing creative solutions to our mutual problems, how to behave.

This is the sort of thing that delegitimizes government authority, and leaves you with a Ukraine, a Belanus, a Venezuela.

Science!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

King Walz the First angrily denounced right-wing kook websites speculating that the newest plan to placate the coronavirus involved sacrificing virgins.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “Our plan is simply to have Joe Biden sniff their hair. It has been amply demonstrated that no person has died from coronavirus while having their hair sniffed by the President-Nearly-Elect. The plan has worked, works perfectly, continues to work, and anyone who questions or criticizes it is a science denier.”

King Walz did not specify how virgins would be selected, or their virginity verified, before being sent to the undisclosed location where Candidate Biden is in self-imposed quarantine with a small harem.

From the Capital, Joe Doskes, reporting.

In related news, the State of Minnesota Heath Economist neither confirmed nor denied that his office uses sheep entrails for “modeling”.

The Real Victim Of This Whole Crisis

New York City – all five boroughs – have been the hardest hit part of the US, and in some ways possibly the free world, by Covid.

The most densely packed city in the country and among the densest in the world, dependent on mass transit, jammed into tightly packed offices and restaurants and bodegas and bars and stacked atop each other at levels of density that send a tingle up the Met Council’s leg, the city would seem to be clear if anecodotal evidence that this plague’s greatest friend is density.

But in a city with 40% of the nation’s Covid deaths, Yahoo News – which is in constant combat with “Buzzfeed” for “most effortlessly left-biased “news” source” – has found the biggest victim of all:

Today, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress — known simply as AOC — owns another distinction, this one far grimmer: She represents the nation’s most devastated hot zone of the coronavirus outbreak.

New York’s 14th Congressional District, which includes the working-class immigrant clusters of the Bronx and Queens, has had 19,200 coronavirus cases as of April 30, more than all of Manhattan, despite having almost 1 million fewer people. Residents of the neighborhoods of Corona and North Corona in her district — the names are an eerie coincidence — have had more coronavirus cases than any ZIP code in the country.

Ocasio-Cortez, 30, knows many who have died, as well as others who were sickened with the virus, or left hungry or jobless. She sends notes and makes calls to as many surviving family members as she can, serving as a kind of legislative first responder. But it can be hard to keep up.

No – it goes downhill from there. I’d pullquote more, but then I’d have that “vomit” taste in my mouth all day at work.

It’s good to know the media’s got its priorities straight.