Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. COVID Symposium: At What Cost? A Quality of Life Discussion

 

In my work world, I work with families who are caring for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s and similar dementias. Also in my work world and in my personal life, I am connected with persons with intellectual disabilities including my twin sister and a Sunday School class I teach for adults with special needs. In my charity life, I am on the executive board of a local non-profit that serves children and adults with special needs, including managing multiple group homes for the adults and providing life skills and therapies at our facility for the adults and children we serve. Finally, I have a grandmother, Memaw, that is 89 and lives in an independent retirement community. Let me relay some of the results of the COVID lockdown:

  •  I sat with a client yesterday who was in tears that she has not been able to see her mom with dementia for 10 weeks who lives in a secured dementia care unit. The staff has helped her Facetime, but mom doesn’t understand or recognize her daughter on the iPad. The facility is required to keep masks on the residents if they are out of their room for any reason. The masks are distressing for the residents and the staff is on edge that a health inspector could walk in and find a dementia resident having pulled off their mask and be cited for a violation. Other clients have reported that, once they have been able to visit their loved one in-person, Mom or Dad no longer knows who they are. These families feel like the remaining precious moments they may have had with their family members have been stolen. Other clients have reported that their more cogent family members beg them to come to see them, but they don’t understand the restrictions and what is going on in the outside world with the virus and the facility residents are crying on the phone asking why the family has abandoned them.
  • My twin sister lives at a group home. The adults have not been allowed to leave their homes since the second week of March. No life skills classes at the center, no trips to the park, no outside entertainment brought in. We have done our best to bring in arts and crafts, games, send care packages, etc, but the residents are bored and also have limited capacity to understand the situation. I had planned a trip in March (prior to COVID) for my sister to come to visit with me for a few days – on the day she was supposed to come, the state went on lockdown. My sister was prohibited from coming because the trip would cross state lines and she would lose her spot in her home if she left. When the trip was canceled, she cried herself hoarse and didn’t understand. Now, we talk on the phone about “when this mess is over” she will come and visit again. But she loves her calendar and I can’t even give her a date to look forward to because the state has not lifted the quarantine for group homes.
  • My non-profit has not been able to deliver PT, OT or Speech Therapy in person to our children. We can now do teletherapy with iPads, but it is not the same. Also, the state Medicaid program wants us to do welfare-checks on our child clients at their homes (the whole potential increase in abuse because everyone is at home fear), but our employees were citing the county stay-at-home order as a basis to not come to work and further, didn’t want to enter other people’s homes due to virus fears. We were recently allowed to re-open our campus on a limited basis, but only 1/3 of our clients indicate an intent to return in the short term and several employees are flush with stimulus checks and hefty unemployment compensation from our closure and have indicated that they will not be returning to work in the short term either. This means hiring new employees and absorbing the cost of “on-boarding” them with CPR training, behavior training for our clients, drug testing, etc. We have intense regulations on staff ratios and training, that, if we can’t meet, we can’t re-open. Also, to re-open, we have to have additional cleaning teams that are constantly on the move in our campus facility throughout the day. We anticipate that this requirement will necessitate the hiring of 6 additional staff, but, there is no increase in funding from the State to pay for the additional staff to meet the state requirements. Most of our programs lose money as we already deliver higher quality services than what the State will pay for. The few programs that eke out a profit help us plug the funding gap for our other programs. COVID, and the inability for us to deliver services and therefore charge for them, has blown a huge hole in our funding, even taking into account the PPP program. Just like businesses, I anticipate the closure of a number of non-profits. The closure of such programs just creates another deficiency in the quality of life for populations in our communities in need of services.
  • My Sunday School class of four people has not met since March. Two of my students live in a group home which is locked down anyway and of course, the church has been closed for services. This removes another community “touch” that these adults have to be engaged with others.
  • My grandmother has been quarantined in her suite at independent living since March. She used to walk the halls and in the gardens, but that has been prohibited during the quarantine. She is frailer and certainly weaker than she was at the start of this. She is terribly lonesome without the activities she was able to participate in (bean bag baseball slugger!) and on-site visitors.

I recognize that many of these populations described here are likely truly high-risk, even if the virus is less virulent than first thought. My heart breaks for all the missed interactions as well as the degeneration in capacities and abilities that have occurred in these last weeks, some of which may never be recovered. Some of it can’t be helped I guess, but I wonder at what cost?

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. James Mattis Compares Donald Trump to Nazis in Statement to The Atlantic

 

In a statement given to the Leftist magazine The Atlantic, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis compared his former boss President Donald Trump to Nazis. Mattis wrote:

Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that “The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’” We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. LinkedIn and Articulating the Uncomfortable

 

I wrote the following piece as an article to be posted on LinkedIn. The article can theoretically be seen by anyone with a LinkedIn account and yet since I posted it on June 1, it has only received six views and no comments. I don’t know if LinkedIn, like Twitter, engages in shadowbanning but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if it did, since the site, as a general rule, features a large dosage of corporate virtue signaling.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the George Floyd incident, typical LinkedIn corporate virtue signaling about women in leadership roles, LGBTQ promotion and inclusivity, and workforce diversity based in large part on the pigment of one’s skin has taken a back seat. Posts or articles about the looting and destruction of small businesses don’t seem to register any pulse on a social media website devoted to business, business networking, employment, and entrepreneurialism. I’m not sure how to account for that, suffice to say that LinkedIn appears to be quite woke.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Looting as a Form of Protest

 

After his arrest during a protest in Santa Monica, actor Cole Sprouse took to Instagram to declare that “peace, riots, looting, are an absolutely legitimate form of protest.”

Looting would be “legitimate” only if people were not individuals but categories defined by their race, sex, or creed. If Derek Chauvin isn’t “individual police officer who used excessive force and killed George Floyd,” but rather “all white people,” then punishing “all white people” by looting stores owned by “all white people” might be “an absolutely legitimate form of protest.”

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Black Lives Matter: The Ideological Heir to Black Power

 

It’s become customary to refer to the Black Lives Matter movement, without much challenge, as one of the civil rights movements of our time. In other instances, it’s suggested that it’s the progeny of the civil rights movement itself.

But to say or imply that Black Lives Matter is the offspring of the civil rights movement of the 1960s is to misunderstand the history and character of that great moral revolution. It is to also misunderstand, or outright ignore, the intentions of Black Lives Matter while disregarding or rationalizing its tactics, agenda, and its aims. Black Lives Matter is in no way a civil rights movement and it’s certainly not an heir to the civil rights movement. The conduct consistently displayed and condoned by far too many Black Lives Matter members, in combination with the agenda expressed by its leaders, disqualifies Black Lives Matter from any consideration of being an extension of the civil rights movement.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Smoldering Skyline View of Minneapolis

 

Lake Street
Aftermath of the riots on Lake Street in Minneapolis
I waited over a week for the flames to subside before remarking on my city. After the heinous death of George Floyd sparked protests that devolved into violent riots, lawlessness, and absolute terror-inducing chaos, things have become unsettlingly…settled. The eyes of the nation have shifted from Minneapolis to cities from coast to coast. The names of the streets change, but the scenes are shockingly similar: smashed storefronts, roving bands of looters, brutal violence perpetrated on the streets, shooting flames lighting up the night sky. But it’s the aftermath that brings the conclusion into focus. The last three months have proven what the underclass in America has known for decades: the problem is no longer too much government, but too much bad, self-serving government.

The 2016 election echoed resoundingly within the gated communities of the privileged class and shook the ivory towers of pundits and political elites. The rebellion of the ruled against the rule-makers was partly a result of a growing unrest among Americans living under this two-tiered system. Regurgitated platitudes that only benefitted the growing bureaucracy has two effects on citizens: submissive defeat, or acting for change. Much post-election analysis showed working- and lower-class white Americans opted for the latter. Now the rest of the unheard ignored is coming to the same realization.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Music That Sang Me to the Left

 

During the folk boom of the early 1960s, I was practicing on my guitar one day when I thought, “Why don’t I share my talent with the world by rambling around the cities of Europe playing my guitar and singing. Marie would collect the coins that people would throw my way, and we could live off the take. It would be swell. (I can hear you snickering out there. Now just stop it! I was a young man.)

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Tragic Mistakes in Minneapolis

 

I am a retired paramedic who worked 36 years for the EMS agency that responded to the George Floyd call. While still involved with that agency doing occasional quality assurance work, I have purposely not used my access to review this case. All information I have comes from training, experience, and public news reports.

This is my take.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Tale of Two Camps

 

Some time ago, Russ Roberts hosted Richard Davies, the author of Extreme Economies, on EconTalk. One of the stories that Davies told was of two UN-run Syrian refugee camps in Jordan.

Zaatari, the first camp, was built quickly in response to the Syrian refugee crisis and before the UN was able to “get it right” by their lights. The camp was built near a Jordanian town, allowing trade to occur. In addition, the Syrians were able to buy goods at the camp’s UN stores with their UN-issued debit cards and sell those goods to Jordanians for cash. The currency enabled them to create a thriving, monetary-based economy in the camp. All sorts of businesses sprang up: food, hardware, and even wedding dress stores. Over 60% of working-age adults were employed and the community was vibrant and growing.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Chris Sununu’s Stay at Home Hypocrisy in New Hampshire

 
Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) looting the ice cream aisle in April

I wrote a piece for National Review on New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s hypocritical application of his stay-at-home order here in the “Live Free or Die” state:

Last Friday, Sununu extended his stay-at-home order for a third time, guaranteeing more people will lose their jobs. He also threatened legal action against Riverside Speedway and Adventure Park in Groveton, N.H., forcing the track to remain closed. His stay-at-home order carries a potential $20,000 fine for businesses that defy him and possible arrest and criminal prosecution for anyone else failing to follow the various micromanaged edicts he has issued. (You can use equipment at the gym if you pay for a personal trainer to follow you around, but not on your own. Out-of-staters must quarantine for 14 days before staying in a hotel. Hair-cutting is OK, but dye jobs are not. Golf-course employees must wear masks at all times even when eating lunch alone in a break room. Etc.)

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. It’s Always Easier. . .

 

When I joined in 1981, the Albuquerque Police Department had a technique for restraining unruly suspects called “Total Appendage Restraint Procedure” or TARP. Despite the grandiose name, it simply meant cuffing one ankle with a set of leg irons, looping the chain around the chain of the handcuffs the arrestee had on (behind their back, of course) and cuffing the other ankle. The prisoner was thus trussed with bent knees, unable punch or kick and with limited mobility to bite or head-butt. We were taught how to do this in the police academy, but I don’t recall any instruction on the policy for monitoring the person so restrained. We were told to call it TARP and not “hogtie” or “suitcase.”

All was well until the late ’90s. An officer put a TARPed prisoner into the back of his car, face-down. When he got to the jail, the suspect was dead. It turns out that if you lay someone prone who has vascular or lung problems or is obese, is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and/or is agitated, they may die. The cause is something called “positional asphyxia.”

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Murdering People in the Third World

 

The broken windows fallacy of economics has often been discussed in these pages, but it does not go far enough. First, for those who are new to Ricochet or only read the funny stuff, the broken windows fallacy is the thought that all types of economic activity are equal. So, a restaurateur who has a brick thrown through his window has to hire people to replace the window. This is good, because he is spending money, right? Except that this is spending money that would have otherwise gone into the economy in higher value ways. Maybe he could have hired an executive chef to make his food better. Maybe he could have afforded to buy higher-quality meats. Maybe he would have used that money as a down payment on a delivery truck. Maybe he could have invested in stocks for a start-up that would have invented and marketed the next great thing. Whatever the restaurateur would have done with his money, it’s not going to happen now, because he is buying a new window and paying to have it installed. Besides his costs, that window and work installing it could have gone into a new commercial building instead of to repairing his building. Everything cascades from there. Windows may cost more because of higher demand. Installation may cost more because of higher demand. What we see of lost opportunity costs is merely the tip of the iceberg in what is lost to the overall economy because someone decided to throw a brick through a window. And we recognize that all types of economic activity are decidedly not equal.

Now, let’s multiply that by a million times by having riots across the nation. While we are at it, let’s deliver pallets of bricks to shopping areas to ensure the rioters have plenty of ammunition for breaking windows. Let’s also deliver supplies of Molotov cocktails to those same areas to ensure stores can be burned after being looted. (This is seriously happening.) Many of the businesses are not going to replace the window and move forward, because it’s not just one broken window they have. Some have been looted and others have been burned to the ground. While some may rebuild, many will not bother. Keep a store in a bad neighborhood that is prone to riots? No, thanks; it costs too much. Insurance rates will be up. Jobs are lost. It costs more for people in the riot-torn neighborhoods to reach the stores that are in another neighborhood, either until stores are rebuilt in their neighborhoods or until West Texas freezes over.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Is There an Addiction to ‘Racism?’

 

Have we reached a state where there is a pervasive need for “racism?” Not the actual negative mental and social phenomenon but an unshakable belief that it is widely present even if it has largely dissipated?

Twenty years ago, I recall Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton often both rushing to the same scene of a reported incident of hiring discrimination or disrespect to African-American customers. There seemed to be a growing shortage of actionable, newsworthy instances of racial injustice such that they had to compete like predators at a shrinking waterhole. Twenty years before that, you could walk in any direction in almost any town and find evidence of overt racism. The progress in one lifetime is truly stunning.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Book Burning in Minneapolis

 

As the line goes in Death of a Salesman, “Attention must be paid.” On Friday one of the great institutions in Minneapolis and one of the best independent bookstores in the country was burned to the ground by rioters. For decades Uncle Hugo’s and its co-located operation Uncle Edgar’s have been The independent bookstore for science fiction and mysteries, especially rare books and signed first editions. There are probably less than a handful of bookstores in the entire country promoting science fiction the way Uncle Hugo’s did.

It’s all gone. The owner, Don Blyly, got the alert from his alarm service at 3:30 a.m. He drove to his store to see storefronts on both sides of Chicago Avenue engulfed in flames, including his. The arsonists were dancing in the streets. Since his fire insurance is sure to have an exclusion for “civil disturbances” the chance of any insurance coverage on the loss is practically nil.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: A Woman’s Function

 

To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes. and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.” — G.K. Chesterton

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Gimme Some of That Hydroxychloriquine!

 

One of the oddest and most fascinating debates about this whole COVID thing is the battle of studies over the 60-year-old anti-malaria drug, Hydroxychloriquine (treatment often also includes Zythromax, a commonly-used, broad-spectrum anti-biotic, and Zinc supplements) being used “off label.” Its use for such off-label purposes has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Ever since President Trump lauded early reports of its successful use to treat some COVID patients, it seems a lot of “experts” have been on a quest to disprove its reported effectiveness. You would think people would be interested in any potential treatment until a vaccine is successfully developed.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. “You Don’t Need a Gun” … Remember That?

 

All over the country, Americans are learning the truism that Second Amendment supporters have known: When you have seconds, police are minutes away. And this week, they aren’t just minutes away, they’re probably not coming and you’re on your own. And so, how have Americans reacted?

From sea …

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. My Sheriff Makes Me Proud

 

We live in Polk County, Florida. No one messes with Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. He’s been following the rioting that’s occurring across the country, and he’s taken a stand in Polk County:

Judd said there were rumblings on social media that rioters planned to bring violence into the neighborhoods of Polk County.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Texting with My Son

 

My oldest (20) is very suspicious of Dad’s opinions. After all, if you’re under 30 and not a liberal, yadda, yadda… I forwarded him an article written by a couple of his college professors (well worth your time): Mandatory social distancing: The greatest theft of all time.

Son: “Just by the first paragraph I can tell where they are politically. Describing it as theft is ridiculous, not allowing certain industries to reopen is theft. If you can have a business adapt to guidelines made by people who have devoted their lives to science, then you should reopen. Not allowing business to do so is theft. Social distancing should not be political but unfortunately has become political, along with wearing a mask? I understand people’s needs and desires to go back to normal but prioritizing ones “freedom” is not worth the death of a loved one. People don’t seem to understand that unless is happens to them which is unfortunate.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Discipline of Riots

 

I went to the drug store on an errand and saw her: A very obvious member of a riot cadre. Well-polished Doc Martens, all black clothes, a red rat tattoo on her arm, and she told the store clerk the rat tattoo signified that life is a rat race. When she left, the store clerk and manager both gasped and told me that she scared them. She was alone and not really big enough to personally scare me, but there’s no doubt in my mind what she is.

I remember back in 1999 or so, a lady moved into the apartment below mine. She was a transplant from California’s Bay Area. She introduced me to her daughter, who over the course of several months bragged how she was in a movement. She emphasized their discipline. She lamented that the new ones didn’t understand the discipline of shining their boots and wearing their clothes properly. She bragged how they had burned an animal testing lab in California and other acts I can’t recall today. She gave enough detail to convince me her tales were true. She was a naive fool, clinging to belong to something.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Your Strategy and Tactics Must Be Appropriate to the Enemy You Face

 

We have all heard the aphorism of “hitting a fly with a baseball bat.” The idea is simple. The baseball bat is overkill, ineffective, and liable to produce unintended collateral damage. A fly swatter is less impressive but much more effective against the fly and without the side effects.

We understand the overkill aphorism but maybe now we need an underkill aphorism. How about, “Offering a saucer of milk to a man-eating tiger.” For a harmless house cat, the saucer of milk would be welcome and might even establish a bond of trust. For a tiger that has already killed and eaten human beings, the saucer of milk probably won’t interest the tiger as much as consuming the he (or she) who is providing the milk.

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Daniel Knauf began in health insurance and wrote his way onto HBO with his groundbreaking series, Carnivàle. Since then he has written and produced The Blacklist and Spartacus: Blood and Sand among other projects. His latest creation is The Astronauts for Nickelodeon, working with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment. Jon and Daniel discuss the writing process, the entertainment business, and his hopes for the new series.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Hiroshima and Mitsuo Fuchida

 

I mentioned in another conversation that I’ve been reading the new Jeff Sharra book on Pearl Harbor. In the process of looking up some of the people in critical positions, I came across this quote from Mitsuo Fuchida, who actually led the attack. He was speaking to Enola Gay commander Paul Tibbets after the war.

“You did the right thing. You know the Japanese attitude at that time, how fanatic they were, they’d die for the Emperor … Every man, woman, and child would have resisted that invasion with sticks and stones if necessary … Can you imagine what a slaughter it would be to invade Japan? It would have been terrible. The Japanese people know more about that than the American public will ever know.”

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. This Is a Communist Rebellion

 

I write articles on war. I have spent the last ten years studying revolution and rebellion cause I find it interesting and it pays. So imagine my surprise this weekend, when I saw a straight-up Communist Rebellion break out on the streets of the USA.

People in the media, on Ricochet, and my friends on Facebook just think this more of the same that we have seen in recent years. No, that was Stage 1. We are at the beginning of Stage 2. What Stages am I talking about?

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Gee, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

 

The Sun reports that China’s leaders are pondering breeding genetically modified soldiers who will be exceptionally strong and smart, will have superior vision and hearing, and won’t feel any pain.

Hmm. Not being able to feel pain is one of the terrible symptoms of Hansen’s Disease (aka leprosy). People can hurt themselves terribly when they put their hand on a hot stove and don’t know it until they smell their own flesh burning. It would be difficult for people who have lost the sense of touch to survive, much less be able to operate military equipment.

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