Five Things: July 13, 2020

What’s on my brain today? I mean, besides my cranium?

Trump goes after Dr. Fauci: Because Trump genuinely thinks it’s more important to make him look good than it is for the CDC and its people to provide accurate and useful information to the United States public, which is why we are currently a plague nation when most every other Western nation has gotten its act together with regard to the coronavirus. I don’t imagine this is going to turn out very well for Trump, since everyone is aware he’s a narcissistic ignoramus, and Dr. Fauci is… not, but cult of personality is gonna cult of personality, I suppose. Suffice to say that between these two men, I know which one is more likely to give me forthright answers to the best of his knowledge and ability, and it’s not the loutish ignoramus. Wear your masks, folks.

Los Angeles and San Diego decide against in-person school, possibly because there’s a virulently infectious disease going about that, even if it statistically harms children less (although less is cold comfort for dead and sick children), is still something those kids can then take home, where parents and grandparents, who will get sick, will get it. Oh, and, let’s not forget teachers and school staff, who are all also older. I understand Betsy DeVos spent yesterday repeating “kids should be in school” like the heartless mantra of an evil puppet that it is, but it’s nice to see people on the ground in education being, ohhh I don’t think so.

Here in Bradford, where I live, they’re still discussing whether school starts (in a month!) with kids in classes or at home. I suspect they’re going to try to split the baby here — so to speak — and I’ll be interested to see how that turns out. Athena’s graduated so we’re not directly in the line of fire for that one.

Shocked, shocked I was that racist fucknugget Tucker Carlson’s chief writer is also a racist fucknugget: This was from Friday, when I was away from the internet, but I understand Carlson is going to address it on his broadcast today, so a) it’s still topical, b) what a shammily meretricious bit of theater that is going to be. Carlson is going to sit there like the human boat shoe he is (I didn’t make up that description of him, but, oh my, does it fit), stare into the camera and gravely intone how he himself is the least racist person he knows and would never in a million years condone such things as his lead writer for the last few years wrote on the internet. Which is an absolute lie — Carlson is racist as shit, he’s just also preppy, which assures the Kohl’s-shopping Fox News audience that their racism is somehow hidden, too (surprise! It’s not!). And it’s a certainty that whoever is elevated into the lead writer slot on Carlson’s show will be no less racist than their boss or the former holder of that gig. They’ll just be told to ixnay the acismray for a couple of weeks. And then we’ll be back to it.

Speaking of racism: Washington’s NFL franchise is indeed officially retiring it’s suuuuuuper racist name, and again, let’s note that decades of actual Native Americans complaining it did nothing, but a couple weeks of sponsors going “yeah, could you not,” worked just fine. Capitalism! Truly the best and most justice-seeking of all possible systems! My money is on “Redtails” being the new name, but honestly, as long as the new name is not suuuuuuper racist we’ll be ahead of the game.

Star Trek: Lower Decks: I noted this on Twitter yesterday after a couple of people observed that it felt like the show was riffing off Redshirts. My response was basically, I mean, I was riffing off Star Trek, now, wasn’t I, so to the extent they were riffing back, fair game, yes? Also, I know a couple of people who are working on the show, at least tangentially. I’m happy for them and hope it’s successful. Because that’s the thing: If this works, it’s going to make a show or film of Redshirts more likely, not less.

78 Comments on “Five Things: July 13, 2020”

  1. “the Kohl’s-shopping Fox News audience”?

    Did I miss a memo? Is Kohl’s one of the baddies now?

  2. Re: Schools – they’re trying a hybrid approach in the big system next to us; they were approved last week for two “virtual schools”, which will let them cut down on numbers in the classroom, being aware that there are people who have to have kids in school to work, have spotty/no internet access, etc. Since March, to the end of the last school year, they were getting Chromebooks out to all kids who didn’t already have one, and having hotspots in school parking lots for downloading/uploading assignments. (I don’t know what the system we’re in is intending to do – like you, ours are graduated already.)

  3. I teach 5th grade. Our school district is making the decision tonight at a school board meeting, but they have already telegraphed that they want kids in school so I expect that their decision will be reckless and put everyone at risk. And this happened after almost all of them signed a letter saying they put children first.

    I am very worried people are going to die.

  4. “My money is on “Redtails” being the new name, but honestly, as long as the new name is not suuuuuuper racist we’ll be ahead of the game.”

    Redtails is fine as long as the logo isn’t a Tuskegee Airman.

  5. You say Evil Puppet, my friend said Defective Robot. Either way, Betsy DeVos was an embarrassment all around. She couldn’t answer the simplest question, other than “Schools must open, repeat, Schools must open.”

  6. I would note (regarding the first item) that Anthony Fauci has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one of the NIH institutes, since 1984, whereas the CDC is led by a political appointee and is a branch of HHS.

  7. Les M., you must be in Northern Virginia! My kids are in the Loudoun County Public Schools. We were leaning towards hybrid until we got more details and read some commentary on it. We’ll be keeping them home, even if we all go nuts. Because nuts is better than dead. DeVos is really the worst.

  8. Also I am super exited about Lower Decks and thrilled it’s coming out in 2 weeks! Now I feel better about only having 3 eps of Disco left to watch…

  9. I always had a fond spot for the Washington ‘Taters. (Potatoes being the only context in which their previous name would have been ok.)

    Our school district is going to make us decide by the end of the month if we want to do in person or at home and they plan to provide both. I’m worried because DC1 was actually learning things in high school (unlike middle school) so doing a year at home doesn’t seem as useful as in person, but also the research on teenagers seems to indicate that their covid outcomes are more like those of adults than those of children, which is to say as contagious and as dangerous. So really we should keep him at home. It’s so hard. If our prevalence were lower, this would be an easier decision, but it is high and I do not forsee it getting any better once the college students get back in town. So in the end we will probably keep him home. Not an easy decision. We’re supposed to find out more about their plans and our options later this week.

  10. Bruce Arthur kinda beat me to it, but I had this drafted as soon as I saw the original post, and I hate to waste copy.

    Kohl’s-shopping Foxers? Hmph. We shop there (or did, when it wasn’t dangerous to shop), and I can’t stay in the same room with any Fox evening program. If I were going to stereotype the Fox demographic, I’d go for Walmart or maybe J.C. Penney. (Both of which we also patronize when they have something on offer we want. Walmart is currently the only place my wife can find her favorite pierogies.) Come to think of it, our Walmart is much patronized by our Somali population, and I doubt they’d give ol’ Tucker much love.

  11. Dear John,

    Trump’s latest rant seems to be extreme even compared to the usual. Now it’s EVERYBODY in the medical establishment who is lying.

    Expanding upon gottacook’s comment…

    Fauci is a civil servant and not directly under Trump’s authority. Trump could order Azar to fire him (and fire Azar if he didn’t), but even then Fauci would have all the civil service protections, should you choose to exercise them. He has to be given at least 30 days advance written notice, he has to be given at least seven days to respond, the ultimate decision has to be in writing and there have to be specific reasons for the firing, and if he is fired he can appeal it to the Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Circuit.

    Whether Fauci would put himself through all of that, who knows. He seems to be dedicated and committed enough to public health that he might just be willing to.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    ======================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 
    ======================================

  12. I don’t imagine this is going to turn out very well for Trump.

    I keep reading things like this over the past three-plus years. I used to get excited and hopeful. I’ve learned better. Even now when Trump’s narcissism, incompetence, anti-intellectualism, and racism are costing literally tens of thousands of lives, I’ve given up all expectation that anything he says or does will have any consequence to him. I’ve also lost all hope that he won’t be re-elected. I don’t see a path back to the point where logic, science, or reality have any bearing on American society.

  13. My grandkids are in Springfield, Oh. We got them into a STEM school where independent learning was practiced before the smush hit, as soon as the lockdown started they were still required to attend school every day and had classes via Zoom.

    I consider us very lucky. They should end up head and shoulders above the students in the non-STEM high school. The faculty there didn’t get a good handle on remote learning, the students there aren’t disciplined into spending their days on learning and not goofing off. I mean no disrespect to them, but it seems to me my kids have a big leg up.

  14. ::Did I miss a memo? Is Kohl’s one of the baddies now?”::

    I hope not — that’s where I do most of my clothes shopping!

  15. Should be “Red Tails” originally the nickname of WWII’s 332nd Fighter Group, Eventually (like the red markings applied by the aircrews) came to mean all the units manned by the Tuskegee Airmen.

  16. When I was in 5th grade one of the teachers, beloved Ms Cripps, died. We knew she was dying, she knew she was dying (it was something slow and lingering, probably a form of cancer), and yet when she did finally die the school was devastated. And not just the elementary school, but everyone she’d ever taught, up through 12th grade, and all her colleagues.

    That was one teacher. Can you imagine if it was more than one teacher?

  17. Can I say I’m not thrilled that they decided to do STAR TREK: THE LOWER DECKS as an animated comedy of incompetent junior crew? For a long time I’ve wanted a LOWER DECKS-like series as a response to the frankly insane idea that Starfleet sends out its Senior Staff on frequently-lethal away team missions — a world where your leads aren’t encased in Type 85 Dragon Skin Plot Armor, any starship that did that would come back Earth less than a year later with an Ensign in command, b/c he’s the most-qualified and highest-ranked member still breathing!

    A potential idea I’d considered for my “Writing the TV Pilot” class was “STAR TREK: AWAY TEAM ONE”, about a six-person crew of very junior officers and Enlistees that went on Away Teams every week, and got themselves into danger instead of jeopardizing the Senior Staff. The idea I’d had was to set it aboard Picard’s ENTERPRISE, with Riker as a recurring character who gave them their missions, and Picard himself only showing up once or twice a season if somebody got promoted, died, or was in REAL Deep Doodoo! It would have probably been set on another ship, though, if it went beyond a first draft….

  18. You are all being entirely too nice to Mrs. De Vos. She makes Cruella de Ville look like a cupcake with icing on top nice in comparison. I’m not so much concerned about the children, but their families, teachers, and custodians and cafeteria workers. Especially the last 2 groups, as they are likely among the people greatest at risk.

  19. 1) I’m all in on “Redshirts”!, but I think that “Redtails” would be better … ex-USAF, so make it happen!
    2) John, interested in your thoughts on the Harper’s Weekly Open Letter from so many authors (https://harpers.org/a-letter-on-justice-and-open-debate/) and then one of the responses from The Atlantic (https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/07/harpers-letter-free-speech/614080/)
    3) I kind of wish Trump would go after Fauci. It would suck because Fauci certainly doesn’t deserve the pain or heartbreak, but the protections that ctein mentions above are literally, explicitly, built to protect a civil servant from this sort of political assassination. Because make no mistake, that is EXACTLY what it would be.

  20. The thing about DeVos’ comments is that she blissfully ignores the inevitable results — the first time someone tests positive, the entire class, including teacher, and probably a number of other teachers (because, you know, teacher’s lounge) will be quarantined for at least two weeks. And that means a need for a LOT of subs. But since most subs are retired teachers trying to keep busy and so, you know, old, they aren’t going to want to participate. That’s where my wife is right now — she wants to sub but not under these circumstances.

  21. Oh, also I think the new name for the Redskins should be the Unindicted Co-conspirators.

    It’s very timely.

  22. I don’t think we’re well-prepared here in Mid-OH. I don’t think my district wants to go full remote, but they probably will at least to start (because there’s too many viruses and sick people running around). My kids did not do well in remote learning (because I have to work and didn’t have a handle on their homework and they don’t yet have the internal positive feedback loops from doing well), but not being dead is a requirement for learning stuff and at least i can work at home. I’m not sure how sane I will be, but it’s 2020; sanity is probably not a reasonable expectation.

    At this point, every time I see one of the Ben Franklin quotes about necessary liberty and temporary security (kindly left in my area by concerned citizens), I am reminded that the problem with the GOP is that (eventually) you run out of other people’s lives to pay for your liberty.

  23. Regarding names, I don’t get the Lady A legal suite thing. The could have maybe, perhaps, said Lady novabellum” to truly be distanced from the old days. The Dixie Chicks are to be known as the Chicks. I’m surprised they didn’t call themselves Delta Chicks. Maybe they don’t like the land of the delta blues.

    The above ideas, perhaps creative to a fault, came from a mind at rest and able to think. The less good alternative, to me, is to try for a new name in an emotional crowd. Better to send people out to think in peace, before the big crowd/big committee convenes. There are lots of names the Washington team could use.

    In Canada they have the NDP, on the left, standing for the “New Democratic Party.” I remember two big Canadian idealistic federal parties, on the right, meeting as a group. The successful Reform party was to merge with the “Progressive Conservative” party. In the end, the less creative name of “Conservative” party was chosen, and rightly so. Before that, for their weekend convention, everyone was happy with the new name proposed. Only at the very last hour did people calm down enough to realize there was an unfortunate acronym if they idealistically named it the “Canadian Reform Alliance Party.”

  24. timeliebe: “the frankly insane idea that Starfleet sends out its Senior Staff on frequently-lethal away team missions”

    Warp drive seems pretty insane.
    So do teleporters.
    But they make space stories more interesting.
    Also nearly every planet has a breathable atmosphere?
    Nearly every alien races lives in approximately 1 gee gravity
    Breathing an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere, living on land?

    Nearly everyone has universal translators?
    Replicators make food, medicine, guns, anything you need
    and replicators fit in a suitcase?

    The Hiroshima bomb converted less than a gram of matter to energy. A replicator needs to convert tons from mass to energy and back to mass again. The shielding alone would require something the size of a small moon.

    The fact that all these Star Trek races have apparently unlimited energy sources for hyperdrives, teleporters, and replicators, but still have scarcity-based wars is the most absurd thing I have ever seen.

    Also, if the Enterprise were any sort of actual ship of that size, with its given mission of going into dangerous situations every episode, it would likely be modeled more like a battleship, surrounded by a fleet of smaller vessels. Or multiple vessels that could operate independently and each act as backup if one vessel was damaged or destroyed. Not a single vessel.

    Not every single egg all jammed into one very fat basket.

    Besides, 200 years in the future, space travel will be likely a lot more boring. Most likely the entire crew will be robots. And we will be lucky if we get a robot ship to alpha centari by then let alone visit the entire galatic quadrant and terraform a bunch of it.

    Flag officers on the away team seems like the last thing to break suspension of disbelief.

    But thats the thing about SF. It is less often a story about the future based on the future, and much more often a story about present day issues and present day humans but with fishbowls for helmets and cars that somehow fly.

  25. How about the Washington Insurrection? The Bureaucrats? Bureaucraps? Foggy Bottoms? Mallrats? Lobbyists? InspectorGenerals? Smithsonians? Memorials?

    No matter what name they get (and none of mine can be taken seriously), they’re going to be made fun of.

  26. I was asked to ‘wordsmith’ (like blacksmith only words not iron) something short enough for twittering amongst NYC school teachers and parents and (clueless) bureaucrats that captured the essence of stupidity of re-opening schools without a vaccine… feel free to pass it to any teachers you know…
    Howard Werten (KoolerHandLuke@gmnail.com)

    start with bitter NYC joke: life insurance not paying out for dead nurses because obviously suicidal behavior working in hospitals…

    now swap “nurse” for “teacher” or “student”… USA going need lots of small coffins… will cities buy coffins for dead teachers? dead students? will life insurance policies pay out for reckless behavior by dead teachers?

    new school board motto: no such thing as ‘acceptable losses’ if it is children or teachers or parents

  27. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t understand the “human boat shoe” description. I know what a boat shoe is. Good, practical footwear, in my experience. But I’m not sure how that’s an insult. (Maybe it’s just because I’m 70 and I’m not hep to the jive. ;-) Can you clarify?

  28. I was also puzzled about the boat shoe reference–I’m a late convert to some models of Topsiders and Rockports–but I figured if I mentioned it, somebody would notice that I also wear Dockers and start calling me “Karen.” Which would be very confusing on a number of levels.

    (Cut me a little slack–I have clothes that have come into fashion twice. Some of the shirts still fit.)

  29. Even the UK, which is run by another narcissist, is doing better than the US (although BoJo is smarter than a concussed rock that was too close to the dynamite, unlike iDJT). We’re under more lockdown here in San Diego, mainly due to the incompetence of Trump (where is the PPE? where are the tests?) but also Newsom (same question) and the “but mah FreeDumb” crowd – I saw several dick noses in the supermarket this morning.
    Ah well, I’m doing OK working from home, but as a country, the US completely squandered the initial lockdown, and the two months Turnip spent going “lalalala what pandemic?”, which is ironic, because if he’d actually got off his gargantuan ass and done something, he’d be more likely to get re-elected (and then I’d be back off to the UK. Well, actually, not, probably to Ireland or Italy as my wife has a useful passport (Ireland) and not a useless one (UK, thanks Brexit)).

  30. (1) I’ve heard suggestions the Washington area football team’s new name will have a military connection. Which, while an improvement on a racist moniker, still is perhaps concerning given that the degree to which the NFL wrapped itself in the American flag and a rah-rah-US-military attitude more than any other major US (and/or North American) sports league certainly contributed to what happened with Colin Kapernick.

    (2) I’ve started commenting that, assuming Biden wins in November, either “Surgeon-General Fauci” or “HHS Secretary Fauci” has a nice ring to it.

  31. (1) I vote for Washington Ruskies. Same color scheme and acknowledges who has really been in charge for the last three years. Oh, what’s that? My voter registration is invalid because I didn’t mark a party affiliation, so I don’t get to vote?

    (2) The real reason that Betsy DeVos wants schools to open is so the parents of the great unwashed “good factory jobs!” workers who can’t send their kids to private schools won’t miss too many shifts doing childcare to keep making widgets and packing face cream for Amway… and will be so strung out by the homework that they can’t work up enough energy to unionize. (She’s already done her best to lower standards enough that those nonexistant “great factory jobs” are the highest achievement within reach. Unless your family somehow sent you to a private school, which is not any criticism regarding Mr Scalzi Himself.)

  32. Star Trek Lower Decks riffs on Redshirts? Are they even on the same tangent? lol

  33. Q: was I ‘lovingly malleted’? if so, please tell me what I did wrong; if not, this repost now includes link to injustice which was until now a bitter joke…

    I was asked by a friend (who is a teacher) to ‘wordsmith’ (like blacksmith only words not iron) something short enough for twittering amongst NYC school teachers and parents and (clueless) bureaucrats that captured the essence of stupidity of re-opening schools without a vaccine… feel free to pass it to any teachers you know…

    Howard

    start with bitter NYC joke: life insurance not paying out for dead nurses because obviously suicidal behavior working in hospitals…

    now swap “nurse” for “teacher” or “student”… USA going need lots of small coffins… will cities buy coffins for dead teachers? dead students? will life insurance policies pay out for reckless behavior by dead teachers?

    “Families of healthcare workers sickened by Covid-19 denied compensation”
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/13/healthcare-workers-families-covid-19-compensation

  34. Washington Racists? Washington Rednecks? Beltway Bandits?

    And Betsy DeVos, who’s always been in favor of homeschooling, wants the kids back in school NOW.

    One of the things I really enjoyed about Redshirts, which I doubt we’ll see from Star Trek: Lower Decks, is that while it started off doing something obvious (and doing it well, and I’m not sure anybody had done it before), but then you took it in different directions and then in really different directions. If you’d just done the obvious part, it would have been fun, but probably not Hugo material. (It did also remind me of Jay and Silent Bob doing the Clerks on the Death Star bit.)

  35. Fucknuggets. I tip my hat to you Good Sir for every now and then when you write ‘LOL’ you actually have indeed LOL’d. I may even have to ROFL for a bit once the family leaves later for good measure.

  36. “Because Trump genuinely thinks it’s more important to make him look good than it is for the CDC and its people to provide accurate and useful information to the United States public”
    And President Tiny Brain just doesn’t grasp that the way to look good is take effective action against the Trump Virus. He’s fixated on the idea that denying there is a problem is a better path.
    @Steve Nicholson, while I doubt Trump will suffer any personal consequences beyond feeling miserable (he’s been so perfect, how can everyone criticize him?), this isn’t playing out like it might have two years ago. The media are treating his attacks on Fauci as “Trump tries to smear Fauci” rather than a legitimate debate on the merits. While Trump certainly could be re-elected, it’s also very possible he won’t be.

  37. It may take the Redskins a little bit longer to come up with a new moniker as a DC realtor is squatting on about a dozen names or so.

    In re: to schools opening, I’m on the fence about it. On one hand, I have a child who is eager to return to the college campus of her choice and is tired of remote learning (plus it will be better for her mental health as well). I also figure that it would good for most young children’s mental health as well, plus the added bonus of not losing another year of education.

    Then I read some moronic nonsense spewed by the unions saying that they’ll only reopen (in La-La land and San Diego I believe) if charter schools are closed and defunding the police accelerates.

    I kind of expect the idiocy of the former, since minorities are often the recipient of the quality education offered and heaven forbid that the non-whites are offered a chance to be someone and get somewhere in life with a quality education. As for the latter, I wonder if their tune will change once school crime starts rising to levels previously unseen before.

  38. “If this works, it’s going to make a show or film of Redshirts more likely, not less.”

    This! I know nothing about “ST: Lower Decks” but if it really does riff off Redshirts, it would be ungracious to be upset about something that practically turns Redshirts into Star Trek canon!

    @twentyminutesintothefuture: “Also nearly every planet has a breathable atmosphere?

    Breathing an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere, living on land?”

    Well, no. But why would we visit many planets _without_ breathable atmosphere’s, and what would we have in common with those species that didn’t breathe oxygen and live on land?

    One of Cherryh’s great inventions was a region of space with 3 or 4 humanoid species and about the same number of methane breathers. They shared trading stations, but only marginally. Stations had an oxygen side and a methane side, with no physical interaction and not even any real communication. iirc, one of the methane species paid so little attention to the O2 breathers that their ships had to scatter every time one arrived at a station.

  39. “I understand Betsy DeVos spent yesterday repeating “kids should be in school” like the heartless mantra of an evil puppet that it is, but it’s nice to see people on the ground in education being, ohhh I don’t think so.”

    Anything that DeVos is instructed to say and that Trump endorses is not designed to be taken seriously by anyone directly involved in making education-related decisions. It’s about downplaying the pandemic disaster to Trump’s mouthbreather base, who don’t care about education anyway, or see it as evil.

    Plus, you know, it’s a welcome distraction from 138,000 deaths and an economy deep in the shitter.

  40. pointerstop: “But why would we visit many planets _without_ breathable atmosphere’s” … “They shared trading stations”

    If you have all the energy you want to power warp drives, teleporters, and replicators, then you dont need trading stations. You dont -need- anything at all. You arent exploring space looking for resources because your replicstors can make literally anything. If you have replicators then you arent exploring space for mining rights. If you have replicator tech then external resources arent needed and the point of “trading posts” is moot.

    The most ludicrous thing about star trek isnt flag officers beaming down to an alien planet. The most ludicrous thing is that they have tech that could only create a post-scarcity world but most of the plots and story lines are still scarcity based. Like the world is now.

    Its like how the sci fi of old had space ships made out of rivets. And scif fi of the 80’s made time machines out of deloreans. And sci fi today is concerned about AI but still can only frame it in terms of the three laws of robotics from the previous century.

    As the saying goes: Generals are always prepared to fight the last war.

    Most sf stories arent about the future based on thr future. Most sf stories are about the present based on our past with a thin veneer to make it look futuristic.

  41. Regarding your first item, there are many people who, unironically, feel the same way in the opposite direction.

    I used to be a bit political, but after 2004, I concluded that too many of my species are deluded, or at least easily led into iniquity. Yet the complete abandon with which people follow you-know-who and, unironically, second his every motion, is unbearably heartbreaking. They will follow him over the cliff, and never regret it, because they want to believe everything is somebody else’s fault, they are victims, and the Troll they elected emperor will save them. Fauci, in their view, the media, everyone who tells them otherwise is apparently a liar. They are lost.

    Also:
    I did not think I would live to see the DC football team drop their nickname. It’s too late for me to derive any satisfaction from it; maybe it will cheer someone.

  42. Our school district in Indianapolis went merrily on planning to re-open until the last moment when parents and teachers demanded a special meeting and it was decided not to re-open. The district leans a little to the right so contrary to what the GOP says this was NOT a political decision, nor was the vote particularly close. Too many unknowns at the moment along with an out-of-control coronavirus suggested to the great majority that we did not want to be the guinea pigs for opening. If things go well in other area schools we can re-open after fall break.

  43. While the name change is good, and overdue, it wasn’t the quality of the name that drove me away from watching the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons on Sunday afternoons.

    On cancel culture. Ross Douthat has a nice piece in today’s NYT about that.

    Schools. Two problems with not opening. One is that without schools who looks after the kids when the parents are at work? Unless the parents stay home, and then get evicted due to not paying rent, which is not particularly good for the kids either. Kids in middle-school and later can cope with parents not being home (remember “latchkey kids”?) but it’s problematic for, say, first graders.

    The other is that kids really do seem to need to be in class, with other kids, and supervised by a teacher, to learn. Yes, yes, not all kids. But most. And it’s more important for the younger ones. And of course you can only do remote learning if you have a good internet connection. Mr. Scalzi here can tell you how widely available those are.

    Adding the botching of reopening the schools to the Things I Will Never Forgive the GOP For list.

  44. It would be really good to have the kids in school – it’s just a cost-benefit thing; if they come home and spread the virus to others (and themselves) then there’s going to be lots of costs we can’t ever recover (and not an insignificant amount of them).

    Trump is a professional narcissist with delusions of competence and humanity. The problem with us as a nation is that that is sufficient to be President and to be an active role model for a lot of people. It’s like someone decided that what we really need is a society based on the converse of Wheaton’s First Law – not just that we forgot how to think (which is bad enough with team-based politics) but that we are actively forgetting how to care. I’m not sure who thinks this will end well, or if (worse) that that’s the point.

  45. How about the Washington Redshirts? Currently they generally get killed when they take the field.

  46. One could consider that Trump, DeVos,and the other ‘leaders’ pushing for in-person school opening are conspiring to destroy the US educational system. The end result will be a population easier to fool into believing their lies. Oh; and a bunch of dead children and teachers.

  47. Some bright spark at CBS decided to region lock a trailer, but the Star Trek Lower Decks trailer’s thumbnail looks nice at least.

  48. I’m currently reading one of your pre-Trump eras “lowest difficulty setting” offshoots (see linkage below) and, let me tell you, the more things change…

    The truly horrifying part is that some of the same rationales for systemic racism are made manifest through certain approaches, or the lack there of, to police brutality and covid and their disproportionate impact on marginalized communities.

    The racists there employ everything from tone policing to “it’s not white peoples’ fault blacks are inherently (insert biologically essentialist generalization)” and “bootstrapping is a panacea for the negative consequences of systemic racism” arguments in an effort to invalidate the negative experiences upon which their much, much easier and safer lifestyles depend.

    https://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/07/14/the-lowest-difficulty-setting-in-action/

    Also, speaking of things with racist roots/backstories, check out this gem:

  49. Hey, just because DeVos is riding out the pandemic on one of her 10 yachts gnawing on the bones of newborn infants doesn’t mean she’s ALL bad!!

  50. I’m currently voting for the Washington Red Ink, but I don’t have a clue what sort of mascot to design for that name.

    My local school district is planning a “3-2” reopening — the kids would be split into two groups by last name, odd numbered weeks Group 1 would have three days in the classroom and Group 2 two days, swap on even numbered weeks. No one’s happy with it, though I’ll admit we’ve got the largest school district in the state and there’s no way to social distance if all the kids are in class at the same time.

  51. Also,
    @G. B. Miller:

    God forbid that, during a pandemic exacerbated by ignorant, cruel and/or incompetent politicians, Parents support their quarantined (here’s something else that didn’t have to be as bad as it is)children via the exploration and employment of adaptive coping mechanisms so that millions of other families don’t have to suffer the profound and far reaching consequences of infection and death.

    I wonder how the “pay no attention to the refrigerated trucks and over-run hospitals and mortuaries behind the curtain” folks would feel if one of their babies came home from school with covid and infected the entire household.

    How would they feel if one of their babies were responsible for the infections and/or deaths of students, faculty and staff?

    How would parents deal with the emotional and psychological impact of an infected or dead teacher or class?

    How would these parents feel if their baby was just one of hundreds of bio-hazardous corpses waiting to be packed up for transport to a busy crematorium?

    One thing these folks seem to want to ignore is that the lives they save could be their own or their kids’.

    It’s pretty to think that covid victims are and will always be other folks’ loved ones.

    Too bad we live in a science-based reality, where the unresponsive shell, the one you can neither visit nor comfort, could be *your* child, especially if they wind up infected by a fellow grocery-shopper who caught it in a crowded classroom, gym, locker-room, parking lot, or cafeteria.

    The rest of your post is bog standard ‘la la land” issue racism and pandemic-denying “Ra Ra Ra” Trumpery.

    @Steve Ross:

    Right you are.

    Add to that the “greatness” of a whiter, economically privileged and more “worthy” American population and you’ve got their agenda.

    Everyone who defends or is indifferent to what they’re up to is complicit. Full stop.

  52. Personally as someone who grew up in Michigan (and on the western side of Michigan way) I cannot stand DeVos and the whole Amway clan and what they have done to Michigan’s public schools and the state’s political landscape (I still have family there but no longer live there myself). I’m not going to pretend that Michigan’s public school system didn’t have problems before DeVos but DeVos made everything worse by throwing her money at Michigan’s GOP politicians to allow “charter” schools; thereby getting around the rules against public funding for religious and private-for-profit schools. She also has consistently lobbied hard and successfully to prevent these charter schools from being held accountable for poor academic performances, failures to address students’ needs, poor allocation of (public) resources, etc.

    Her grand experiment has resulted in Michigan having the largest number of poorest-performing charter schools in the country; many exist solely to skim money from public purse and their students. Often these for-profit schools perform worse than the local severely underfunded public schools from which they have stolen valuable resources. Even people who support charter schools and choice find the Michigan model, championed by DeVos, risible and terrible. (See for example: https://www.freep.com/story/opinion/columnists/stephen-henderson/2016/12/03/betsy-devos-education-donald-trump/94728574/.) So yeah not interest in anything DeVos has to say because she is worse than useless.

    If someone sane and sensible had been in charge of the federal government and you know had actually done the things that were necessary to do during the first few months of crisis (e.g., worked with the states to build up the infrastructure for testing and the production/distribution of PPE, developed, explained, and implemented general public guidelines for dealing with Covid) instead of deciding denying reality was a much better idea, then maybe the USA could have a serious discussion about how and when to open schools. Because you know with a competent government and well-established, carefully communicated public-health guidelines the USA would be like Germany and other countries that are looking at re-opening their schools.

  53. Apropos Steve Ross’ comment. “One could consider that Trump, DeVos,and the other ‘leaders’ pushing for in-person school opening are conspiring to destroy the US educational system.” —Trump did say that he loved the poorly educated …

    I am another who doesn’t see the boat shoe reference. An association with preppies? That would seem harsh. There was an Athenian politician whose nickname was “Old Sock”, the idea being that just as one could put an old sock on either foot, he was so flexible that he could run with any party. Which I mention only because to show that the origin of nicknames can be bizarre.

  54. “If someone sane and sensible had been in charge of the federal government and you know had actually done the things that were necessary to do during the first few months of crisis (e.g., worked with the states to build up the infrastructure for testing and the production/distribution of PPE, developed, explained, and implemented general public guidelines for dealing with Covid) instead of deciding denying reality was a much better idea, then maybe the USA could have a serious discussion about how and when to open schools. Because you know with a competent government and well-established, carefully communicated public-health guidelines the USA would be like Germany and other countries that are looking at re-opening their schools.”

    + 138,000!

    I suspect that among the fundamental differences between the US and those other nations is a desire to protect rather than destroy entire swaths of the population.

    I would only add that the current clusterfuck goes far beyond governmental insanity and incompetence.

    In general, and notwithstanding the many, many examples to the contrary, the United States is a bigoted, patriarchal wasteland, one ruled and maintained by a powerful and deadly coalition of greedy, terrified and unscrupulous social dominance proponents and their gleefully lobotomized accomplices.

    They Basque in a blood-tinged glow of their unearned privileges and will stop at nothing to keep it that way, hence the targeting of Dr. Fauci and other vehicles for politically and scientifically inconvenient truths.

    These are your bare-faced, mask-politicizing,” real murican Darwinists who” decry BLM protesting while defending “to the death” *their* right to don white supremacist regalia and gather in the thousands to threaten, with guns, democratic governors for daring to implement anti-covid policies.

    These are the same people who think their bored and isolated children are more important than those for whom Covid could mean chronic illness or death.

    All in all, Trump and his supporters (elected or otherwise) have no one but themselves to blame for the current state of affairs; this includes the economic consequences of the protective measures that have and continue to be necessary to ensuring the survival of millions of people.

    I don’t care what anyone says; hungry and homeless, as deadly as they are, are easier to fix than dead.

    High difficulty settings don’t matter when the game is over; trust me, I know.

  55. @ Kathryn

    “Her grand experiment has resulted in Michigan having the largest number of poorest-performing charter schools in the country; many exist solely to skim money from public purse and their students.”

    Even people I know who work for charter schools think charter schools are a scam.

    But that’s a feature, not a bug. Rich Conservatives push charter schools because they weaken teachers’ unions, and maybe delusional Objectivist views. They don’t care, because their kids go to private schools. Dumb poor people like charter schools because some of them deny basic science, e.g. teach Creationism and climate change denialism. Everybody else gets inferior-quality education and stays in their assigned niche in the social order forever. Just how things should be.

  56. Do they have charter schools in Jacksonville, Florida? I ask because this afternoon someone played on her cell phone for us a Youtube/social media of a young lady saying why they don’t have corona virus there, unlike Miami where they drink corona beer, and told us other crazy things like it’s safe now because it’s hot, and because the salt water ocean has salt, which is good for you, and…

    As Mark Twain would say, I draw a curtain of charity over the video.

    To paraphrase a pilot over Berlin, “People get the school systems they deserve.”

  57. That display of “book learnin” is…indicative of so, so very much.

    I really, really needed that laugh!

    Thanks.:)

  58. A reminder to everyone that when and if you see someone trolling or otherwise acting in a manner you know I will disapprove of, do not engage and leave them to me, I’ll be around eventually.

  59. Today’s rant: https://prospect.org/coronavirus/unsanitized-again-with-the-closures-schools-california/

    The other major announcement yesterday was that L.A. Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest, would not reopen to in-person schooling next month. This is tragic, especially if you’re skeptical of online instruction’s value for kids, who are set further and further behind, and if you know that, absent childcare, working parents are tethered home indefinitely.

    But this was inevitable. The bleating at the White House over how schools “must” open did not accompany an actual method to do so. To test everyone in L.A. Unified once a week, school superintendent Austin Beutner noted, would cost $300 per year per person; L.A. Unified has over 700,000 students alone, and 60,000 teachers and staff. That testing money doesn’t exist and it’s not in any way the only expense. If you need to drop class sizes to keep students distanced, well, the class size debate has played out for decades, with higher class sizes winning. What makes you think that will reverse itself? CDC recommends circulating fresh air through schools. Have you been to a school lately? Where’s the money for retooling air systems? Trump is belatedly discussing school aid, but I don’t think anyone would believe it would be close to sufficient.

    Baby steps, but at least not leaping gloriously off a cliff. Behind the school reopening disaster lurks the flu season vaccine disaster. I’ve seen less about that so far, but I expect we’ll be hearing quite a bit more about that as well. Still, one rant at a time is enough.

  60. Probably President Trump’s posting here. Seems to be at about that level of sophistication.

    I know I certainly feel properly schooled!

    [not]

  61. Dear glc,

    “…flu season vaccine disaster…,” Gracie? I seem to have missed that one. What, is this year’s vaccine testing out poorly?

    Gotta admit that, honestly, I can’t get too involved in what’s going to happen in four months. Four months ago, this month would have been inconceivable. Who knows what it’s gonna look like four from now.

    Icing on the cake: Trump has moved from declaring everyone a liar to controlling the data– he’s pulled the national covid data collection from the CDC and handed it to the HHS. You can imagine how well that’s going over.

    This is a Really Bad Thing.

    Fortunately, John Hopkins is still on it, and that’s where most honest news sources get their stats.

    pax / Ctein

  62. Spots insect, recalls John’s admonition re: troll spoor and oh so reluctantly lowers the electrified swatter.

    Besides, I like a challenge. 😊

  63. Children may be statistically less likely to get COVID-19, but there are a number of nasty syndromes that some chlidren who have COVID-19 get. Kawasaki’s disease, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, etc.