How A Society Can Survive A Pandemic

*Lots* of info but this is the best explainer I’ve seen on how a society can deal with a pandemic. And by “society” I mean a functioning government concerned with prioritizing both minimizing the loss of human lives and preserving its economy.

The Case for Universal Vote-By-Mail

In case it’s not clear to everyone by now, ALL eligible people (Dem, GOP, etc.) should register to vote by mail-in ballot for the general election in November (and the primary, if your state hasn’t had one yet and there’s still time). There is one compelling reason for this that applies to all voters: COVID-19.

Do NOT rely on the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 emergency to be over by November. For the emergency to be over and for social distancing mandates to be relaxed we will require a vaccine — a well-tested and effective vaccine — to be available and administered to all people in the U.S. While at least one candidate vaccine is almost ready to test it will still take months for the test to run and confirm that it is effective and non-harmful. If it passes the testing it’ll take many more months to produce enough vaccine to vaccinate everyone and more months still to administer those vaccinations.

I’m not even talking about voter suppression as demonstrated in Wisconsin and other states. There’s a case to be made there, too, but that would require another, longer analysis and I am not the best person to make that argument. I’ll leave that to Heather Cox Richardson’s post from yesterday that covers the Wisconsin disenfranchisement.

Here’s one note from an article about an article about potential vaccines:

“This virus isn’t going away. It’s going to continue to bounce around the world,” Gottlieb said. “And it’s going to change our lives until we have a therapeutic that can vanquish it or really take the fear away from this virus spreading in the background.”

Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now – Tomas Pueyo – Medium

This article makes a strong case for acting now to create “social distance” to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus and COVID-19.

It’s worth reading even if you’re not a local, regional, corporate, or national decision-maker.

Changing the Structure of Power in the U.S.A.

Two important points in this article:

1) The CDC recommends that the elderly and physically fragile people should not fly on commercial airlines.


2) Trump/Pence don’t want you to know that.

I think the unitary executive branch needs to end. The legislative branch has the Senate and the House of Representatives and neither one can tell the other what to do. The Judicial branch has the Supreme Court at the top and they can choose to override some lower court rulings but they don’t run the various regional circuits. Likewise, I think that the Executive branch should not be in thrall to the whims of one person (no, not even a Democratic president). In California we directly elect the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and several other top posts. If several of the cabinet departments (State, Justice, Treasury, and Defense, for starters) were walled off from direct control of the president and we directly elected people to those posts we could avoid this CDC problem, not to mention the Barr problem!

Yeah, yeah, I know, constitutional convention, ratification, yada, yada. But it can’t ever happen if we don’t start talking about it.

Also, the prospect is very scary because there are people who are pretty well organized who want to consolidate power along more nationalist/supremacist lines.

Glossary: P.C. (Politically Correct or Political Correctness)

What I really wish is that we could redefine political correctness as “not colluding with foreign governments to get elected” and “not starting wars to get re-elected” and “not lying during (or after!) a campaign”. However, that’s not the world we live in, yet.

One definition I like says:

The avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.

This definition is almost neutered by the phrase “…are perceived to…”. Take that out and I’m good with this definition.

NPR’s piece on the shifting history of the phrase says:

So, to review: “Politically correct” means politically wise or invalid or hypersensitive or cowardice.

It’s not just the Republicans or conservatives that use this phrase as a weapon. I hear comedians and pundits of all politics stripes use this as an accusation against their critics (see various forms of “fragility”). The common complaint is that the speaker “can’t say” what they want to say. Actually, they are perfectly free to say whatever they want. They just don’t want to be criticized for it. That turns their free-speech arguments upside-down.

Still, just using the phrase plays into the game. If I replace variations of P.C. with “compassionate and inclusive” my intent is clearer and harder to argue with.

‘High likelihood of human civilisation coming to end’ by 2050, report finds | The Independent

This needs to be part of the discussion.

Question of the Century: Do We Have a Right to a Livable Climate? | The Revelator

This article lays out some of the legal challenges and promises of the Juliana v. United States case. It’s worth reading, I believe, and it gives me simultaneously nervous and hopeful feelings.

Liberal Religion…Where Are You?

I’m not backing a particular presidential candidate yet (though I do have a couple favorites) because I think, at this stage, they should be exercising their ideas, seeing which ones capture and build attention. Additionally, they need to be watching how the ideas of the rest of the field are being perceived. The smart ones will adapt and adjust.

Rev. Adam Dyer’ s point needs to be incorporated into that candidate- and campaign-level conversation.