Nails, Pencils, and Chains by Vicki


Nails, Pencils, and Chains by Vicki

For want of a nail, a shoe was lost;
For want of a shoe, a horse was lost;
For want of a horse, a rider was lost;
For want of a rider, a message was lost;
For want of a message, a battle was lost;
For want of a battle, a kingdom was lost;
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Wikipedia says that
is many centuries old. It’s usually repeated as a
cautionary tale. Do all your tasks well, keep everything clean and
neat and well-maintained, don’t get sloppy, or bad things will happen.
But it can also be read another way: a little problem that no one
noticed, that very few people even could have noticed, leads to a big
problem for everyone.

That’s a metaphor for coronavirus, of course: a tiny particle causing
a worldwide disaster. But it’s also a metaphor for any other
obscure or invisible problem with a big future impact.

Hold that thought; we’ll come back to it.

Leonard Read wrote a marvelous little
essay  entitled, “I, Pencil” which explains that nobody on this planet knows
how to make a pencil. Such a simple thing, an ordinary yellow Number
2 pencil, and nobody knows how to make it? Indeed, as the essay
explains, it’s true. Someone knows how to select the right tree for
the wood body of the pencil, and then chop it down and haul it to the
mill. Someone else knows how to saw the tree into planks of the right
size to make pencils from, and then cure them so they lie straight.
Another someone knows how to find the right plant to tap for the
rubber to make the eraser. Another someone knows how to find the ore
to make the steel to make the sheet metal to make the little clip that
holds the eraser on the end of the pencil, but by the time you
actually get that clip you’ve gone through several more someones.
Another chain of someones mines the clay and graphite, mixes them
together, extrudes them into little rods and bakes them in a kiln to
make the pencil leads. Yet another someone knows how to mix all the
chemicals to make the yellow paint, and a bunch more someones know how
to make all those chemicals.

Someone knows how to drive all the trucks that bring all these parts
to the pencil factory, and someone else knows how to schedule them so
the right parts arrive at the right times in the right numbers. And
finally, someone knows how to run the machine that puts all these
parts together and pushes out finished pencils. This is all
simplified, of course — there are thousands of people involved, if
not millions — but you get the idea. Everybody involved knows his
little piece of the process, but nobody actually knows everything it
takes to make a pencil.

Leonard Read wrote this essay to explain how a centrally planned
economy could not possibly work: if no one even knew how to make a
pencil, then certainly no one knew how to make all the goods and
services for an entire society. My point is slightly different: there
are “horseshoe nails” all through the supply chain, and it’s
impossible to know where they all are.

The “supply chain” is the name that’s been given to the whole system
of industrial production. For every product on the shelf in a store,
there’s a long chain of inputs and processes required to make it.
This is a bit misleading, because it’s not just a linear chain. For
any given product, it’s more like a funnel. For the economy as a
whole, it’s a web. You can think of a certain bolt as an end product,
with a supply chain that produced it. But that bolt is itself part of
the supply chain for thousands of other products, from golf carts to
gene sequencers.

The supply chain handles small disruptions all the time. If one
distributor can’t ship bolts when you need them, you can call another
distributor with a different stocking strategy. If nobody has those
particular bolts, perhaps you can use a longer bolt, or one made of
stainless steel rather than galvanized. Someone may have an emergency
stock that they’ll let you have for a price. It may cost more, but it
may be worth it to you. If it’s not worth it, you’ll just have to
wait until the right bolts are in stock again.

Larger disruptions are harder to handle. Sometimes these are caused
by supply constraints. When OPEC restricted shipments of crude oil in
the early 1970’s, it caused a worldwide economic slowdown. A few
years ago, floods in Thailand wrecked most of the world’s factories
that produced disk drives for computers, and sales of new computers
basically halted for months.

Other disruptions are caused by changes in demand. Many American
readers will be aware of recent shortages of personal weapons and
ammunition. The production rates for these items are relatively
constant, but fluctuations in demand due to various events have caused
dramatic changes in availability. More recently, the worldwide demand
for N95 masks and similar medical supplies rose drastically almost
overnight, causing global shortages.

Factories are marvelously efficient at mass production, but factories
take years to build. Even minor changes take months. If someone with
a spare injection molding machine had decided in February to start
making N95 masks, the molding dies to make the masks might be ready
right about now. And those dies themselves are a product with their
own complex supply chain required to make them. The molding machine
will eventually need spare parts, each of which has it own supply
chain. The trucks that bring the raw materials and take away the
finished masks need their own spare parts, each with its own supply
chain. Without all of that and more, the masks won’t get made.

What concerns me is the complex, overlapping, interlocking, unknowable
nature of the supply chain. It’s robust, up to a certain point, but
if enough links are broken, the whole chain will fall apart. And,
just like nobody knows how to make a pencil, nobody knows which links
are critical. To mix metaphors, those links in the supply chain are
the horseshoe nails.

There are a lot of jobs that have been deemed “essential” in the
current situation, and a lot more that have been deemed
“non-essential.” Some of those non-essential jobs are in factories,
which are shut down and not making more stuff. Any stuff we’re using
from those factories is coming from inventory.

Ever since we started practicing “just-in-time” and “lean production”,
inventories have been thin. We’re burning through them now. Nobody
knows when we’ll run out of something that’s absolutely essential for
something else, which in turn is key to making something everyone
needs, five or ten links down the chain. Nobody knows because nobody
can know. It’s the pencil problem. And because it takes time to
start up each factory in the chain, by the time anyone notices the
missing horseshoe nail, it will be too late. The whole supply chain
will crash, like a human body going into shock, and more people will
die than would ever have died of Wuhan fever.

It turns out that, on a long enough timescale, almost every legal job
that touches “stuff” is essential, and that timescale is not as long
as some politicians seem to think. Most of the jobs that touch money
are essential, too, because stuff doesn’t move without matching moves
of money. Most of the rest are essential as well, if only for the
mental health of the workers in the first two categories. People are
people, not molding machines.

The authorities who are making decisions about “essential jobs” don’t
understand this. The doctors may have the best available
understanding of the effects of the virus, and the best will in the
world, but they also have tunnel vision. Their recommendations show
how to keep the most people from dying of coronavirus, but don’t take
into account that their recommendations could cause more people to die
from something else. The politicians giving the orders generally
don’t understand the pencil problem, much less the problem of
horseshoe nails in the supply chain. And if things don’t change
before the inventories start running out, the missing horseshoe nails
might end up being the nails in our coffins.


448 thoughts on “Nails, Pencils, and Chains by Vicki

  1. Oh, hell yes! That whole just-in-time inventory management arrangement got started because of a Federal tax decision – it became much more expensive to keep a deep inventory so of course, companies stopped keeping unsold stock and started working out how to produce as close to exactly as much as they needed as they could manage.

    Unforeseen consequences bite hard. The foreseeable ones are bad enough: it doesn’t take much thought to see that if there’s no encouragement to maintain a reasonable inventory, sufficient supply disruption will cause much more disruption at the far end of the line, and potentially take out critical services. Not to mention any disruption that stops enough people buying things in their usual pattern will cascade through the system, because if they’re not buying, the places that sell won’t make enough to stay open, which will cause more people to be unable to buy, which… You get the picture.

    If there’s one policy decision I’d cheer it would be one to require every law to be introduced on an evaluation basis, with a mandatory review after 1 – 2 years to check whether the unforeseen consequences are causing more problems than can be justified by the benefits the law gives. Not that I’m holding my breath. These laws are being written by people who have difficulty understanding that you always get more of whatever you actually reward, and not of what you say you’re rewarding.

    1. For some reason, I am flashing back to my first assignment to a broadcasting detachment in the Far East – and our station engineers prepping for an inspection of the activity by our higher-ups. Mostly, it involved clearing out all the bench stock and spare parts which they shouldn’t have on hand (per orders of the higher ups) because reasons, and hiding them in the chief engineers’ van until the inspection was concluded.
      I was told by the chief engineer that if something happened – and they didn’t have those illegal spares on hand – that it could take as long as six months to replace them, and get back on the air.

      1. This reminds me of a hospital I worked at, where when JCAHO, hospital inspectors, came around, they had a special locked cabinet to put your drinks and food in. Apparently you aren’t allowed to have food or drink in your workstation. Which is a great idea for nurses and docs who work 12 hours at a pop, and almost never get breaks for meals.

      2. I was on the other side of that once. Another unit had a backup (note, backup, secondary or even tertiary) comm link go down. By policy they could not keep extras on hand (apparently their senior supply folks had spent too much time at a HQ and too little in the field) and had to order from a depot in Japan, said part being there in a day or so.

        So, to keep their mission capable stats up, they pulled the part from one of our links (inactive at the O-dark thirty time this happened) for their (did I mention back up) link. Which happened to be our primary link for a real world nationally tasked mission going up in 4 hours. I spoke to their Lieutenant on duty who nicely explained the situation and they would have us back up in a day or to, but no, they did not have authority to bring our link back up at the expense of their (backup) link.

        I thanked them nicely for their explanation, hung up and went nuclear. I had my NCOIC roust the CMSGT NCOIC of our maintenance section out of bed. He then rousted the other unit’s CMSGT Maintenance unit NCOIC out of bed, and we had our link back up with an hour to spare before the bird launched. (Even as a young Lieutenant myself, I was smart enough to leave the other Officer types out this until after the fact).

        I found out later that our maintenance unit ,supposedly, they have heard rumors, might have had, some spares of that particular part, stored somewhere not covered in the official inventory, which would have come out of hiding if it had meant scrubbing the mission. But our Chief was not in the mood to be helpful to the other unit and rewarding them for being administrative, not mission oriented, unless he had to .

        1. sounds like stories i’ve heard about folks from the MOS i was trained for…

        2. When DadRed was in the Navy/Marines, he made it a point whenever possible to go to the senior NCO in charge of whatever was needed and let him (NCO) know of the problem and proposed solution. Then DadRed got out of the way. It made life happier for everyone.

      1. I finally got around to looking up the decision. The money quote (triggering a combination of WTF and Grrr) is:

        “There is no presumption that an inventory practice conformable to ‘generally accepted accounting principles’ is valid for tax purposes. Such a presumption is insupportable in light of the statute, this Court’s past decisions, and the differing objectives of tax and financial accounting.”

        Talk about using an axe to split hairs (and destroying business practices along the way…)

      2. Amen! We should not have to rely upon eBay to provide spares to keep older machines running.

        I seem to recall writing a vignette a while back in which a character was talking about checking eBay for spares.

        1. Heh, I think I wrote somewhere where my main character was tracking down someone and figured out that they were ordering filters for the space station they were on via eBay-because nobody made those spec of filter anymore and most places had upgraded their air handling systems.

      3. Thor’s power tools were a hammer, a pair of gloves, a belt, and a dinky golf cart pull by a pair of regenerating goats.

      1. It had a devastating effect on scholarly publications; it used to be that a scholar such as my Father could count on the University that published a scholarly work to have a copy or two squirreled away somewhere. It might take them a week or two to FIND, but it was there somewhere. This eventually got smoothed over by the gradual integration online of a wide assortment of digital card-catalogues. But it took decades.

    2. The point that most annoys me is that Congress could have overturned that IRS regulation in any of the tax reform bills it had passed in the 40 years since then – but hasn’t.

      1. That inventory is taxable assets! That’s cash money for the Congressional budget every year. No tax=no money.

        It’s like those Asian monkey traps. You put a piece of candy or a nut inside a jar with a neck just big enough for the monkey to get its hand in, but its fist is too big to pass back through the opening. It won’t let go of the nut long enough to get its hand out of the jar. [maybe it’s a myth, but it still applied]

        No, they’re *not* smart enough to see that passing on a few dribs and drabs of inventory – really, how much of it is there, taxable, since they passed that law? – would unlock a myriad of taxable transactions down the road, boosting the economy and making more taxable revenue.

        Frankly, the average Congressman doesn’t seem to be that much smarter than the average monkey…

          1. Yeah, most of us evolved from monkeys, but it would seem that some specimens DEvolved.
            Londo: “My darling wife. You haven’t changed a bit.”
            Timov: “You’ve changed. You’ve devolved.”

          1. I’d say taxing at sale price or original price, whichever is greater.

            Still a pain in the paperwork, but there can be inventory.

          2. Alright you humans… you guys invented SAWS. Let go, and cut. Damnit, ox slow. Be smarter!
            (NOT accusing you, Shadowdancer – that IS a neat immediate expedient.)
            Hell, you guys ALSO came up with *explosives* and then went on making ever better ones.
            There’s a damn good reason us Mino’s generally hide – we’re slow, but we know when we’re woefully outclassed!

    3. my whole situation comes from that, and the willingness of the company’s previous owner to sit on inventory.
      Chemicals used in firefighting, printing ink, epoxies etc.
      Red Chinese decide prices need to be higher so they pull an ingredient or two from the chain to drive the price higher. Our personal chain wirks like this, Raw, make product and “waste” stream is actually high in one of the raws (Iodine) so it gets sold to a company who pulls it from the water and sells it to the raw manufacturer, and additional needs come from outside (CCP basically) as some gets lost as it is being processed (NOTHING is 100% recyclable) so the circle was fine for a long time, and suddenly “Hey we need X to make stuff!” Recycler- “Hey, we need water to make Iodines” well tell your buddies down the road we need X to make stuff and the water to sell you!
      Xmaker – “We need their Iodine to make the stuff to sell you . . . this is not good”
      “Hey, we found Z and they will sell us their version of X but we have to buy it by the 20 foot container load (A bit over a year supply).
      Boss, Do it.
      We get stuff, make goods. Sell to Company T so they can make stuff although they violated contract with us once so Boss blew them off, but we were only stuff makers making the stuff.
      Also Company T says no inventory but has contract saying “Must have 26,500 gallons on hand in case of emergency” with Company W. T keeps trying to weasel out and lets numbers drop, then the great dry-up, amd pants around ankles time . . . W gets fed up and takes bids for the contract.
      Boss bids and wins, but during this decided to buy W (and W tried to buy us. Why? Egos)
      Buys W and we keep the needed goods on the ground, but buying W now makes him big enough the EPA and DEQ show up every other week sniffing around.
      T gets idea to prevent the first issue from happening to them and tried to buy just my department.
      Boss – “Buy it all or buy nothing”
      Bought all. dammit.
      Boss buys winery and moves to Cali.
      T- “Why is there all this inventory laying around?”
      Some time later T is begging for a “Merger” (come buy us please!) and “Merges” with J who wants an HQ in low Taxland, where T just moved Corporate HQ.
      clear as mud, I know.

    4. The switch to small inventory wasn’t just due to tax law changes (although that’s a big part of it). It was also due to competition forcing factories and other businesses to reduce unnecessary expenses. I remember reading, a few decades back, about a Harley-Davidson factory that had literally a year’s worth of motorcycle handlebars suspended from racks in the ceiling and feeding into the production line. When the handlebar design needed to be changed, that year’s worth of the earlier design had to be scrapped.

      I agree with the evaluation period for new laws. A couple of years might not be enough, but 5 certainly ought to be. The only recent example I can think of was the assault weapons ban which had a 10 year sunset, and it was obvious years before that time that the ban had had no effect on crime or firearm death rates. So 5 years or less should be worth it. I would make it clear that the law expires after that time unless renewed, not that the law must merely be reviewed within that time. We would also have to make it so that law renewals must be in their own, individual, bill – no omnibus renewal bills that renew every law passed 5 years ago. And at that point I think it has to be a Constitutional amendment, since there’s no other way to force the legislature to include a time limit on every bill.

      1. “When the handlebar design needed to be changed, that year’s worth of the earlier design had to be scrapped.”

        If they actually scrapped ’em, rather than selling ’em to a dealer in new old stock (where parts for repairs often come from) ….that would be dumb.

        1. This.

          The power supply is the weak point on the PowerMac G3 and G4 towers. I’m constantly seeing them listed “for parts or repair” on eBay as “won’t turn on, probably dead PS.” I’m sure Apple made a lot more PS’s than they ever installed in machines, but finding a spare is a bear. Most of the “spares” on eBay are in fact pulled from running machines that someone decided to strip for parts — which means they’ve got an unknown amount of wear and tear on them, unlike an OEM spare in shrink wrap.

          There’s a guy on eBay that offers a PS rebuild service for those machines. You have to be able to pull the old PS to send to him, and he disassembles it and not only replaces whatever part gave out, but also replaces a bunch of other typical wear items that are apt to fail soon. I have two G4 towers that were running fine before refusing to start after I shut them down, so I’m seriously considering the possibility of sending one of their PS’s to this guy and seeing how his work is, once i can get some money ahead (and after I can get the money ahead to get the Neji-saurus PZ-60 needle-nose screw-removal pliers to get that blamed screw removed so I can pull the hard drive caddy on my working G4 and get both my hard drives from the last deader installed in it).

          1. I have a PowerMac ‘Quicksilver’ G4, and two more for parts, and the last power supply died a few months ago. Where is that guy?

            I was mostly using it to digitize CDs and DVDs because new computers don’t have the drives.

            1. Um… why not use an external DVD drive with a USB connector? that would work with any system. Or plug in the naked drive to your SATA and power ports, and if you’ve no drive bay to stuff it into, let the wires dangle out the back of the case. Naked DVD-RW drives (SATA) are $20 or less. I like LiteOn for durability.

              You can buy a 5 year old Dell i7 with a DVD drive for under $100, and if you insist on MacOS, the Optiplex line work well as a Hackintosh.

              1. His prices aren’t bad considering you’d be getting effectively a new PSU…. and likely to outlive the original, since by now all the Plague-ridden Capacitors (most likely cause of death) should be out of the pipeline.

                Also, 100% positive feedback with that many feedback points is pretty rare, so I’d say he’s the real deal.

                [Actually, I think I’ve bought a part or two from this guy, tho don’t recall what.]

          2. [goes to Closet, pulls out G4 tower]

            Far as I can tell, this is a standard ATX power supply (albeit a very minimal/cheap one). Certainly has the same rails and voltage, and the same plug. Might have different pinouts. Here’s a guy who dinked with a G4 to get it working with an off-the-shelf ATX power supply:


            I would do any needful rewiring on an ATX extender cable, rather than on either end of the original.

            Side note: I buy used Enermax power supplies by preference. My oldest one in everyday service is now 22 years old, and I’ve never seen one fail. Get a PSU tester with the LCD voltage display; $12 and will save a lot of nuisance (and ID spiking units that appear to work but are damaging whatever they’re attached to).

            1. Maybe, but it’s a completely different form-factor. And, I think the power-on circuit is, shall we say, unique to Apple.

              1. The MDD does have a weird form factor. The Graphite case ones (I have two Gigabit Ethernet G4’s, one dead and one working, and one Digital Audio) seem to have had a pretty standard form factor, from the ones I’ve seen images of on eBay. I might pull out one of the two hangar queens and see if I could get an ATX PSU to work in it. They both have dead PSU’s, so I’m not risking a lot. OTOH, I might need to get a solder gun and learn how to solder first.

                I have a feeling that a lot of us may end up learning a lot of hardware hacking skills we never expected to need, just to keep our existing boxen running when replacing them is impossible or not feasible.

              2. Dunno about yours, but mine is that silver-and-purple tower (the one that shipped with an utterly useless DVD-RAM drive that only reads 2.4GB disks, and cannot read burned CDs), and its PSU form factor is bog-standard ATX, just in there sideways. Standard ATX connecter does fit, I checked. Looks like *maybe* one pair of wires are different… depends which other PSU you compare, but the specs printed on the PSU are completely standard. ATX PSU responds to power circuit, it doesn’t control it.

                The RAM, hard drive, optical drive, and video card are all off-the-shelf PC parts, completely interchangeable with PC salvage. (Supposedly Apple made the G4 so it can’t see a normal DVD drive, but turns out it CAN see a LiteOn DVD, without any hoop jumping.) Which is why mine now has 1GB RAM and an SSD. It’s still not a useful machine (it just lives here), but at least now it’s not painfully laggy.

      2. Opt in. All laws, and all regs automatically sunset in 5 years.

        Renewing gives you another five.

        Even if the laws and regs were good ones, thin how busy it would keep the bureaucracy!

        1. One year. And it has to be approved by Congress. And, of course, no omnibus bills.

          1. If every bill was limited to one subject, everything would be vastly more transparent, as it would suddenly be impossible to hide crap legislation under the veneer of the good and necessary. And sunset provisions would be far less necessary, since most utter crap couldn’t get passed (at least by legiscritters who want to be re-elected).

            1. Unforeseen consequences. Far too many of our “laws” are already regulations “having the force of law.” This would encourage even more such regulations as an end-run around the one-subject limit and the sunset provisions.

              The big pile of toxic waste is the regulatory pile. Priority should go to fixing that, first.

              1. Agreed. Cutting out bloated agencies next. Strip their funding, the firings will follow. Once the regulations are gone, you don’t need so many regulators.

                1. Starting with Jimmy Carter’s Department Of Education. 40 years, TWO TRILLION DOLLARS, and what have we got to show for it? Are public schools doing a better job of teaching today than they did in the 1960’s and 1970’s? Or are they turning out a generation of mathematically incompetent illiterates? ROAD SIGNS don’t have words on them any more, because it’s ‘too hard’ for recent high school graduates to read them.

                  1. I can see a *small* justification for a *tiny* sub-department that only acts when requested by the states. Trim down the Dept of Ag, too. The BLM.

                    If we could have unemployment in state and federal agencies reach and exceed the rate of unemployment recently? Good start.

              2. Good point, tho fewer laws creating new agencies who in turn create their own little regulatory hells would be a start…

                As to how toxic, while back I saw some figurin’ by an economist type, who by way of adding up all the regulatory-related costs he could locate, concluded that absent the regulatory state, the median U.S. income would be (are you sitting down?) $310,000.

                Cascade County, Montana… about ten years ago decided to throw out all needless and redundant regs. (Only know about this cuz I was involved with chucking out one segment.) Reduced the pile by ~90%.

              3. “This would encourage even more such regulations as an end-run around the one-subject limit and the sunset provisions.”

                Not if you make regulations valid only if approved by specific bills.

    5. Foreseeable, heck, actual problem that was observed happening but hadn’t yet gotten big enough to make anybody notice.

      Just this winter there was a big study on how the ordering algorithms were actually costing some stores money, because they didn’t recognize variations in buying patterns! (Say, a highly Catholic area having issues selling candy and steaks once Lent is over, or there being no fish-sticks when Lent STARTS and tons when it’s over.)

      1. When I worked at a Big Box store in Florida we had to fight with the buyers every August when they discontinued all the pool chemicals in our sku list because “swimming season is over”.
        Maybe it was where the buyers worked…

        1. When Lowes first opened out here, it took a visit from the guys at HQ ordering to understand that Texas=/= the Gulf Coast. Azaleas, et al do not do well in high desert conditions.

          1. I didn’t work on the system so I got to watch it from afar. Here is the song/dance the programmers in charge of the western region log accounting system had to do, oh, about every 18 to 24 months … Hey no complaints here. They took so long repeatably going over it, they never got around to what I was doing, relating the the tree nursery, and the various timberland, systems I was responsible for. But back to the tale. The question corporate IT had why the corporate wood system couldn’t be used instead? After all both systems stored the cubic feet needed. Well yes both did. However the southern based system stored entire sale cubic footage by species. The western system stored entire LOG log tag, species, gross length, small diameter, large diameter, deductions for length and diameter, and net board and cubic feet, latter two being superfluous, as given the other information these are calculable. Every single time they had to take reports for units and sales and prove the the southern version, the cubic foot field overflowed by unit by species, not to mention by entire sale (multiple units). That the log tag was used because logs went to different destinations (lot of it overseas) and were sold by the log (thus the tags). The short version “Trees, even second growth, are bigger out west than they are in the south”, wasn’t enough.

            Worst I had to deal with was “Foresters don’t need individual computers.” Sigh. Not in the office they don’t they can share one or two. But in the field they needed their Intermec, no scanner, no GPS, immersion waterproof handheld data collectors, and they needed two each (one for backup, which they never got). It was so much fun to see a Forester come in after their unit had died in the field. Worked when they left. Worked when they got out of their rig (bad enough at this point after driving for two or 3 hours). Then either didn’t work once they’d hiked into their sample/cruise area, or died sometime into the day. If they were lucky, when they got back to the office, got the unit working, they could salvage the data they did get. Next day append the remaining sample data to the prior day. Otherwise, they got to start over. It was 50/50. These were what corporate were complaining about. Foresters did not work together, they worked alone, all day with these units. These units were easily 5 or 6 times the cost of a desktop computer at the time. Now they are still 5 or 6 times, and include scanners & GPS.

          2. The window AC in the computer room died. August. Arkansas, 109F and muggy. Went to Lowes to get another. The week before there had been a dozen pallets of window AC units on pallets just inside the door. There were at least 250 of them right there on the floor.

            Now, three lonely boxes off to one side, all of them the teeny-tiny size suitable only for closets. I asked the manager when they’d get another shipment of window air conditioners.

            “That’s a summer item. We’re stocking fall items now. We’ll have some more next year.”

            “You sold all the air conditioners you had last week?”

            “No, we sent them back.”

            It might be fall up in Yankeeland, but we were looking at another couple of months with temps around 100F.

            Some years before I needed a spray nozzle once, the kind you put on a garden hose. I went to a department store to get another. There were none in the “garden department.” I asked, and got essentially the same answer then.

            They fail at basic inventory management. This is why “the internet” is eating their lunch.

            1. Season nonsense can be useful, if you think ahead far enough for minot things. Here in the Frozen North (some months) ice-melting salt is useful. Right now? It’s priced at “Get this outta here!!” Guess what I’m buying up for cheap today. I can store it for a few months until needed. Years, if need be.

              1. “Season nonsense can be useful, if you think ahead far enough for ***** minot****** things. Here in the Frozen North (some months) ice-melting salt is useful.”
                Have you been to Minot, N.D?? I have. “Why not Minot FREEZIN’S the REASON?

            2. One of the things that Lowes does that I like is that yeah, they follow the “it is fall, we are not stocking those anymore” thing– even when it’s silly, unless someone changes it– but they do NOT ship the stuff they already got back. It’s in the “end of season” section, and then in the “discount” section, which saves them the shipping and handling as well as getting butts in the store to look at what’s in the discount section.

              1. He said they shipped them back. And if my local Lowes has a “discount” or “end of season” section I’ve never noticed it.

                1. It’s usually on the endcaps, and it’s also if you see something you like pick it up right away because it will probably be gone next time.

      2. Finding cinnamon-raisin mini-bagels. Everybody buys them when they come in, and then the shelves sit empty until the rest of the “variety pack” they seem to come as sells out. Thing is, nobody around here likes onion bagels, so it can be a month before the ones people want are back in!

        1. Bulk T-shirts are often sold the same way; in packages of “standard assortments” of sizes, something like 1 XXL, 1 XL, 1 L, 10 M, 5 S, 5 XS. The XXL and XL stell almost instantly, the Ls and Ms sell slowly, and the S and XS are often returned or discarded because nobody wants them.

        2. No one like the onion bagels? WTH? I’d eat those LONG before anything raisin-contaminated.

          Raisin are fine – by themselves. But they do NOT belong IN things, except MAYBE bran cereals.

          1. The ones I love are the french toast bagels. They go amazingly with a fried egg and bacon and Tillamook cheese.

            On the subject of raisins: they belong in no food that I eat. The worst is right about St Pat’s, the stores start selling “Irish Soda Bread” and it’s bloody full of currants. Blech. That’s not soda bread. That’s spotted dog.You don’t eat that with stew!

            1. Raisins are dandy in oatmeal-raisin cookies! They are also a crucial component of one of my favorite childhood sandwiches! Take two slices of raisin bread (the kind with the icing on top), put a slice of Swiss cheese on each, then add a layer of bread & butter pickle slices between the two sides.

              Guaranteed to make parents grimace.

              1. My Doctor recommended I increase the amount of fruit I eat and start eating oatmeal.

                Hence the oatmeal raisin cookies I pick up from the bakery department every week.

              2. …I use raisins in savory mince meat dishes and some rice mixes. (Arroz a la Cubana uses ground beef with mixed veg and raisins, which is layered thus: steamed rice, beef mix, fried bananas, sunny side up egg. I miss that…)

                1. Years ago Beloved Spouse & I had the great pleasure of being “adopted” by the Argentinian owner of a local Mexican restaurant and his empanadas were heavenly! Flaky crust surrounding a delicious blend of seasoned ground beef, olives, diced hard-boiled egg, raisins, onion, garlic and I forget what else more. They were offered as appetizers but I could make a meal of them happily.

              3. Thus do I avoid oatmeal cookies. They (almost) all have raisins in them. PFUI! PTOOEY!
                And, for once, Garfield (cat) has it right: Swiss Toast. (pick the raisins out).

                1. This is why I make my own oatmeal cookies. I put chocolate chips in them, and sometimes nuts, but not raisins. Never raisins. But yeah, raisins are the reason I avoid other people’s oatmeal cookies.

          2. Onion bagels > raisin anything. I can tolerate them by themselves, but agreed, they are not an ingredient in things that are good to eat. Personally speaking of course.

            1. OK, so what we need to do is get you and Orvan to clean out the onion bagels so Foxfier’s store will restock sooner….

          3. Raisin are fine – by themselves. But they do NOT belong IN things, except MAYBE bran cereals.

            And GORP (Trail mix).

            Most especially raisins do not belong in CINNAMON ROLLS! Raisins make cinnamon rolls SUCK! Do you have any idea how hard it is to make CINNAMON ROLLS SUCK?

            Kind of like cinnamon in French toast. I like cinnamon. I like French toast. Put ’em together and BLECCHH!!

    6. It IS NOT simply Thor Power Tools (1979) — that merely happened at about the same time as a number of philosophical revolutions in manufacturing. In that same time frame it became clear that the Japanese manufacturers were eating America’s lunch and the best part of our dinners. One of their advantages was a system reliant on “Just-In-Time production and a revolution in the way producers viewed costs: considering systemic costs instead of per-item cost.

      You can get a good sense of this revolution from The Goal (1984), a management-oriented novel by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. This book affected manufacturing as profoundly as the concepts underlying Moneyball re-shaped Major League Baseball.

      It is mainly coincidental that Thor Power Tools coincided with this rethinking of manufacturing procedures, and the problems are not comparable across all manufacture. For example, the strictures of Publishing are significantly different from those of Computers or Automobiles. Moreover, the circumstances in Japan, where Just-in-Time manufacturing was perfected, are very different from those in America and any attempt to transfer the process was bound to be vastly more complicated that proponents (who often did not fully understand the methodology) anticipated.

      1. Just in time Systems

        There is a company locally (Eugene) called “Just In Time Systems”, or used to be. Google skills have failed.

    7. Every new law is, in effect, a sociological experiment. “Does society work better with this law than without it?” Anyone who’s ever done experiments knows that they don’t always turn out the way you want. It should be standard practice to terminate the experiment after 5 years or so, unless it was clearly successful. And if every law sunsets each five years, then re-passing all the good ones ought to be enough busy work to keep Congress from doing real mischief (a dream, I know).

      1. Even if that’s an incorrect dream, it does look to be a serious improvement. If nothing else, some stupidity will fall through the crack rather than be enshrined in stone.

      2. The issue with lawmakers (and policy makers and fecking red-tape vomiting rule makers) is that I think they are all contaminated with the idea that people need to be moulded into what the ideal Citizen IS in their minds.

        1. I think they are all contaminated with the idea that people need to be moulded into what the ideal Citizen IS

          Nonsense. Not all! Some of them simply follow the cultural path taken by Scottisch Lairds who’d settle into a mountain pass and charge a fee of all seeking to traverse the ridge.

      3. Patch from prior sunset clauses:
        At the start of year 5, all the laws that are expiring are listed.

        There’s been a few cases where nobody checked….

  2. Environmentalist-supporting leftist types will issue and echo dire warnings about the massive horrible unforeseen disruptions and disasters that will result from this or that human intervention into the natural environment. Sometimes their warnings even have a point. But when it comes to interventions into the economic environment, the idea of such disruptions and disasters occurring suddenly becomes completely invisible to them.

      1. Beavers build dams, that are part of the natural world. Sometimes cutting down the trees kills the beaver itself. Other times the beaver pond most definitely disrupts the environment.

        Seriously, sometimes I want to dump these guys in the middle of Nature and see which of ’em makes it out alive. If any. (Win-win, that….)

        Side note – I can’t for the life of me seem to find out how to “like” a comment on here that isn’t a direct reply to one of mine. (Tried googling it, only came up with “how to put like buttons on your own WordPress blog.) Can anyone point me to where to find out?

        1. If I go to this post through the WordPress site, there is a ‘Like’ star on every comment. If I go direct through Sarah’s web page, there are no ‘Like’ buttons at all. I don’t know how you could get them only on some comments.

          1. Some Word Press sites have “like” buttons but for the Diner you have to access the “Word Press” “site”.

            1. Go to your own WP site, and look in the upper right corner for a bell symbol and start from there? Wait, that’s for your own comments and related. Try the line at the top and to the left is ‘My Sites’ ‘Reader’ AMP’ (What’s that?). Reader will most easily (least uneasily?) access ‘followed’ (subscribed) sites. Others… might get.. interesting.

        2. Even better dump them in the Outback (the real Outback, not the “fake” one as Paul Hogan dubbed it that was used for Survivor Outback. Hogan” Nah, that’s not the real Outback; none of them would ever come out alive out of the real Outback”). That after all is nature as well.,

          1. Or the South Texas brush country. If it doesn’t have thorns, poison, or yes, it will sting, bite, and/or poison you.

          2. Our ancestors spend millennia getting us out of nature for a reason.

    1. In this line, it has been calculated that the current shutdown is just what the world needs in order to reach our 2050 end of greenhouse gasses goal. So imagine this particular economic boot in our faces for the next thirty years.

      The COVID-19 Economy and a Taste of ‘Net Zero’
      From a BBC report on the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on CO2 emissions:

      To keep the world on track to stay under 1.5C this century, the world needs similar cuts for the foreseeable future to keep this target in view.

      “If Covid-19 leads to a drop in emissions of around 5% in 2020, then that is the sort of reduction we need every year until net-zero emissions are reached around 2050,” said Glen Peters… from Cicero.

      [Cicero is the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research]

      1.5C is the target that emerged from the Paris Agreement on climate change. … If something akin to the COVID-19 economy for decades is what you want, going for ‘net zero’ by 2050 may be a way to achieve it. …

  3. It seems the Progs are only interested in their stated causes to the extent that the solution gives them more power.
    Totalitarianism, to whatever degree it is practiced, suffers from ignorance of, or disregard of the fact that it has to be applied to people, who are neither ants, nor are they fungible.
    The ability to ignore inconvenient facts is a prerequisite to being a Prog. See, for example, women and gays supporting Islamic society and legal standards.
    They hate us so much that they are ignoring the fact that the enemy of their enemy (us), is not their friend.
    They also refuse to look beyond their narrow subjective interests to see what the cumulative effect of their policies are.
    As an example, electric and hybrid cars. Not only are they uneconomic at the point of sale, requiring subsidies to reach the market, they require additional electricity, generated from fossil fuels, to operate, and have huge environmental impacts both in the extraction of the rare earths they require, and in the disposal of the remnants at the end of their useful life.
    On these subjects, as on many others, I have found that I can not communicate with most Progs.
    This gives me little hope that our nation can find a mutually agreeable way through the economic and political mess that the WuFlu shutdown has caused.
    Stay safe. We here, and those like us, are the best hope Westetn Civilization has at this point.
    John in Indy

    1. Of course. Look at how fast “metoo” got dumped as soon as it got inconvenient because of Biden and how even this week Biden himself objected to the same due process and presumption of innocence he insists he get for himself being given to accused college men.

    2. Hybrids neither require subsidies nor additional power from another source.

      1. True, but it is generally not economical to replace a hybrid’s battery when it reaches EOL so, as nice as they can be to drive, Hybrids have a shorter useful life than conventional IC engine vehicles.
        If the catalyst poisoning problem in fuel cells is ever overcome then electric vehicles will become a good option. I like electric drivetrains, it’s the battery (always has been) that’s the sticking point.

  4. Hear, hear! I could only wish that electorates at the next general election could remember who set things up for this mess, and punish them. Not the ones being accused of it. Maybe some of the more egregious screw ups of the last few decades can be resolved.

    1. I misread that as “electrolytes at the next general election” and was variously gratified and confused about Gatorade voting or being elected (okay, improvement over some of what’s in office…)

      1. I remain convinced that we would get a better government if we simply picked people at random.

        On bad days, I’m certain we would get better government by picking people at random from mental hospitals.
        A politician is worse than a toilet. They’re both full of shit — but at least you can flush the toilet.

          1. They would have to be either stupid or crazy enough to take the job…

        1. Pick people at random, fire the bottom performing 10% and ban them from ever working for the government or under government contract or lobby for the rest of their lives.

          1. fire the bottom performing 10%

            This runs into a problem of definition: how do you identify the bottom performers?

            Are they the ones passing the most or the fewest regulations? Is a regulator who spends working hours surfing [naughty] web sites a poorer performer than one who spends working hours imposing absurd demands upon the productive?

          2. Problem with that. Who decides what the performance standards are? I can see me carefully working my way to *exactly* the bottom 9% in some cases, in others firing everyone under me before terminating my own job, in still others spending twenty one hours a day filing paperwork to remove nearly every regulation put in place in the last hundred years, or if in the right place, mandating that all laws, regulations, and rules must be in plain language understandable by any random 12 year old.

            Officially though, I would not vote for me. If nominated I would not run. If elected even at random I would not serve. I don’t trust my own judgement enough to make such serious decisions for other people than myself.

            1. “Who’re you hiding from?”

              “Got elected vice mayor. Now I gotta hide out in this storm drain until my term is up.”

                1. “Me? I’m the new sheriff. Haven’t seen my wife in five days. She’s leading the deputies on a wild goose chase.”

                  “No kidding?”


                  “That’s love, is what that is. My secretary would rat me out in a hearbeat. She got caught in her first day. I heard they won’t even let her go to the range until she clears two days worth of paperwork.”



                  “I hear they send the Guard out to bring you in for state positions.”

                  “Glad I’m just a sheriff for two years.”

                  “Could be worse.”

                  “Could be.”

                    1. There’s always the system in deCamp’s ‘The Unbeheaded King’

                      King reigns for five years. At the end, they chop off his head and throw it into the crowd; whoever catches the head is King for the next five years.

                      King Jorian is not a fan, and escapes. They have to catch him, because without his head they can’t pick the next King.

                    2. *Nod* Haven’t read, but yep. Something less fatal, hopefully – after all, if someone’s smart enough to run and keep running, we ought to encourage their survival! Add to the overall sanity of the population.

            2. I actually wrote something like that, which could be condensed to:

              Prince, to distant relation: I’m appointing you regent for while I’m out of the palace..
              Distant Relation: What did I ever do to you??

              1. It is a continuing element of Miles’ and Ivan’s motivation to protect Gregor.

        2. I’m still promoting my Presidential election system: run the Powerball until a valid Social Security Number comes up for someone of the required age and not already adjudicated mentally incompetent, and that’s the President.

          Yes, I’m aware there are potential problems, but considering how many problems the current system has…

        3. There’s a part of the system that already works by picking people at random: Juries. But the rest of the system tries to void this by (a) cheating on the random part (voir dire) and (b) shutting juries out of most of the actual decision-making they’re intended to perform (plea bargains).

          1. I have had time of being a possible juror (lasted 3 or 4 months…) and got called up 3 or 4 times. And was on exactly ZERO juries without taking any effort at all to remove myself from such. And I was ‘kicked out’ for reason other than species. At least one lawyer decided ox not slow enough.

            1. Chuckle Chuckle

              I know exactly why the lawyer did not want me on the jury.

              The lawyer wanted somebody who might believe that his client suffered a “delayed” injury from an auto accident.

              I had been in an auto accident and my injury had been immediately known. 😀

            2. I’ve received Jury Duty notifications three times in my life. Twice from localities I had lived in but no longer did. Once for Federal Court but the Circuit Judge was under indictment and thus wasn’t presiding over any cases so I just had to call in.
              And in that time I’ve been a registered voter in on locality for 12 years and another for 19 years. I know why I wasn’t getting jury summons from the first – it was later discovered that the programmers had deliberately excluded my zip code from the program that selected jury pool members. The “projects” were also in that zip code, though not near where I lived. But the current 19 year drought has me puzzled. Maybe they exclude those who have registered to vote as Libertarian?

            3. I was selected to be on a murder trial jury panel. I was the first one dismissed. I think it had to do with my answer to “Have you ever carried a firearm on your job?” I said “Yes. Wasn’t asked what my job was. I carried an S&W .38 Special whenever our blast door was open or there were non-crew members down there with us.. There was another one, but the guy’s lawyer was weak, as was the guy himself. We all said “guilty”.

            4. Jury: twelve people too dumb to get out of jury duty.

              Not sure that’s a joke.

              [They don’t like me anyway. “Do you have any relationship with anyone in the court system?” “Occasional business partner’s brother is a judge.” “OUT!!”]

              1. Beloved Spouse during voir dire …

                Defense Attorney, “Do you have any relationship with anyone in the court system?”

                Beloved Spouse, “My daddy worked in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office.”

                Defense Attorney, “So would you say you are sympathetic toward the prosecution?”

                Beloved Spouse, “Not particularly. Daddy’s job was developing the appellate cases whenever the police or DA bungled an arrest and/or prosecution.”

                Defense Attorney, “If it please the court, I wish to use one of my peremptory challenges to dismiss this juror.”

              2. They don’t like me, either – retired military NCO, besides which I come off as professional, decisive and impatient.
                Frankly, I believe they prefer the easily confused and indecisive for a juror.

      2. I keep thinking of the solutions used in wet-cell batteries, myself, upon seeing ‘electrolytes’ not obviously in biochemical aspect.

        1. All batteries have electrolytes. That’s what makes them batteries. ‘Dry cell’ batteries should more accurately be called ‘damp cell’. If they dry out, they don’t work.

            1. As a wallaby with bad knees, I extend my sympathies. Have you considered a skateboard with JATO attachments for when it absolutely, positively has to be there on time?

              1. That would have to be a rather large skateboard, and heavily reinforced.

              2. My dear wallaby, as you know I deliver for ACME. Thus I am familiar not only with ACME products, but I see all the reports of the results of their mis-application and abuse. The company newsletter is quite informative, and at times entertaining in a macabre face-palming way.

                That particular combination of devices is, as the doctors say, contra-indicated. I further note that one of the reasons for my hire was the lack of sudden acceleration – in the very early days of explosive transport it was found that horses could start out with something a jerk and this was most unwelcome when the item to be transported was the very touchy nitroglycerin. Oxen did not present this issue, or at least minimized it. While today’s explosives are far less sensitive to jostling than nitroglycerin or picric acid, the concern remains. Further, when that level of.. paranoia.. isn’t demanded (non-explosive items – which, contrary to popular belief, is actually the vast majority of ACME products), I do have motor transport which aids in both speed and carrying capacity.

                1. So, do you know anything about how the Coyote vs ACME case is going? Last I heard it was cycling around the District courts, for one reason or another.

                    1. I heard he’d retained services of an attorney, some big shot rooster name of F. Murray Leghorn, Esq.

      3. That’s Brawndo, it has electrolytes:

        Idiocracy is yet another movie that Democrats think is a “how to” guide

  5. It all starts with 2 white lies …
    #1 Covid19 can kill anyone … and #2 asymptomatic carriers are highly infectious …
    If it can kill anyone we have to stop infections across the entire population …
    which normally would mean isolation of the sick …
    but EVERYONE “could” be sick and not know it …
    therefore we have to isolate everyone …

    from the start, it was known that #1 was a lie
    no other virus with asymptomatic cases has ever seen any real infections caused by the asymptomatic so they suspected #2 was a lie …

    as soon as they studied children who are mostly asymptomatic, they realized the kids aren’t very infectious and the same would apply to asymptomatic adults …

    the lockdowns are based on lies and at this point, they have both been exposed …

    so why are there still lockdowns ?

    1. We now know for a fact that #2 is a lie. The assumption was based on the idea that the virus had just go here, and they couldn’t figure out where people caught it. BUT now we know it was here months before.

    2. Four reasons in no particular order.

      1. they think it gives them political advantage against the orange man.
      2. They believe in magic
      3. They panicked and are now desperately trying to avoid blame or they found they like it.
      4. In NY, NJ and probably others they placed people sick with WuFlu back into nursing homes and sent staff with WuFlu in also. This is best case negligence and worst case murder. The more smoke and pain they can spread the more they can distract people from looking at this and hanging them from lamp posts.

      1. It’s also that they have no clue how any of this actually works. Look at Bloomberg’s statements about farming. They really DO. NOT. HAVE. A. CLUE.

        And the supply chain is very badly frayed already. Have friend working in shipping. Food is rotting in shipping containers and it takes months to resolve because the businesses are going bankrupt, no one is claiming ownership, and it takes months for someone to take responsibility and clean out the container. Meanwhile this was stuff that was meant to be shipped to consumers and wasn’t.

        Companies are rapidly losing use of equipment. It is very bad already and is going to get worse.

        1. No clue, definitely. I try to talk to people about, “you know, the way herd immunity works to protect you is you need to let people with good immune systems catch this so they’ll get over it and then not pass it to you”.

          Crickets. Flat stare. “But you’re not wearing a mask, you want people to die!”


          1. That’s when it would be appropriate to break out the Extinction Rebellion talking points.

            “Yes, you are absolutely right, I do want people to die. After all, everyone knows that the world is overpopulated and the only way we’re going to get our CO2 emissions down to reasonable levels is for a lot of people to die, right? May as well make use of this disease.”

            I mean, if they’re going to accuse a body of being a monster anyway, it should be for a good reason, right?


                    1. Damnit!

                      It’s HARD to (appear to) be this way, really.

                      Think of it as an analog(ue) to Dolly Parton’s quip about how expensive it is to appear that cheap.


                1. And I got one comment on Consent of the Governed that authority in the U.S. no longer derives from the consent of the governed.

                  …Trashed. I am so tired of people who don’t listen.

                  1. They don’t want to listen, they just want you to obey. They don’t need to listen, because they already know everything they want to know.

                    1. Then they can go play a rousing game of “Let’s Lick the Light-Socket.” I suggest a good 480V setup or at least something in the 500V region. }:o)

      2. 1. they think it gives them political advantage against the orange man.

        There has been an “open conspiracy” against Trump since approximately the hour he was elected. An open conspiracy means that “everyone” knows what needs to be done, so there’s no need for discussion. For the last year or so, it was clear that Trump would be elected unless the economy tanked. Therefore, “everyone” is doing their best to tank the economy with all their might. And if they all keep trying as hard as they can, they’ll tank the economy right back to the eighteenth century.

        Some subset of these people may be socialist true believers. The previous Great Depression moved the USA a long way toward socialism in just one decade. The true believers may be hoping that another Great Depression would finish the job and turn the USA into socialist paradise. Unfortunately, what they’ll get is a situation that makes the Great Depression look like a dream of wealth and plenty. Followed, most likely by a Man on Horseback.

        Remember that there are external actors who would love to see the USA go down. Some just because we’re in their way (Russia, China), some because they want to profit from the fall (shady Hungarian financiers). All the bad guys watched the Russians stir the pot in American social media in 2016. All the bad guys learned from that lesson. I don’t suspect anyone in this group, but I really wonder whether someone is feeding subtle “you HAVE to crack down” messages to cops and Karens, and “you HAVE to resist tyranny” messages to other susceptibles.

        1. There has been an “open conspiracy” against Trump since approximately the hour he was elected.

          They were targeting Gen. Flynn, Carter Page and others before the election.

          As evidence now demonstrates.

      3. Their greatest strength is also their greatest weakness: they have the MSM providing close air support. This lets them get away with FAR too much (see: Tara Reade) and provokes a level of arrogance that they assume they can get away with far more. This last is particularly true when the MSM is bleeding credibility faster than a hemophiliac at a vampire convention.

        For example, there is a limit to how long this can be swept under the rug:

        Bad State Decisions about Nursing Homes Are Heavily Driving the Coronavirus Outbreak
        By Jim Geraghty
        Coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes have been particularly deadly in California, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.

        You could make a strong argument that the country’s deadly coronavirus problem is largely a nursing home problem, dangerous everywhere but far more prevalent in a half-dozen or so of the country’s more heavily and densely populated states. What’s more, many of these states enacted coronavirus response policies that likely put nursing and assisted-living home residents at higher risk for infection.

        Notice the California policy described by the San Jose Mercury News:


        Chicago’s WGN reports, “More than 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Illinois have been at nursing homes and long-term care facilities” — more than 1,000 lives.

        Notice the Michigan policy described by Detroit’s WXYZ:


        Notice the Pennsylvania policy described by the Morning Call of Allentown:


        Notice the New Jersey policy described by InsiderNJ:


        Notice the New York state policy described by the New York Post:


        Right now, a lot of people really want to believe that as bad as the coronavirus outbreak is, the consequences have been mitigated by good decisions made by governors like Gavin Newsom, J. D. Pritzker, Gretchen Whitmer, Tom Wolf, Phil Murphy, and Andrew Cuomo. But those governors, whatever their other strengths, all presided over state governments that served their nursing homes and assisted living facilities poorly — either through an inability to provide protective equipment (Illinois), insufficient attention (Pennsylvania), or by sending recovering but still contagious patients back into buildings with lots of other vulnerable elderly (California, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York).

        The national media have paid copious amounts of attention to the risk of spreading the coronavirus in places like the beaches of Florida and the reopening of businesses in Georgia. A refocus of the national media’s attention and criticism upon the nursing homes in states like California, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York is long overdue. A lot of people have relished accusing the anti-lockdown protesters of “killing grandma.” It is time we took a more serious look at what lawmakers’ decisions led most directly to the deaths of so many grandmothers and grandfathers.

        1. In Florida nursing homes and similar facilities instituted a policy of “phone calls only, no personal visits, we’re minimizing all contact”. We’ve had deaths, but given the proportion of over 60 in Florida? Nothing like NYC.

        2. The order to put WuFlu patients back into nursing homes is still in effect. The NY Post has the nursing home and is still running with it. The dumbasses managed to kill the mother’s of several people who have the time, money, and inclination to make their life miserable. Murphy in NJ is already lashing out. I’d like to see them hang or spend 30 to life in Dannemora State Penitentiary where it gets right chilly in winter. We’ll probably re’elect them.

          1. It isn’t hard to imagine a pretty powerful attack add. On screen quote of Executive order – with date – requiring elder-care facilities accept hospital patients who are COVID-19 positive. On screen pictures of patients in that facility who subsequently died from COVID-19, with date of death. Voice over statements of mourning families of those deceased. On screen card reading, “When facilities pleaded for personal protective equipment, what was Governor Cuomo’s response?

            Clip of Cuomo saying, “That isn’t our job.”
            [N.B. – check on exact statement disavowing responsibility to provide nursing homes with PPR]

            Final shot of card (or challenger) asking, “Just whose job is it?”

            1. That might have gotten just a bit harder…..


              “On Sunday, Cuomo reassured New Yorkers that the state would no longer send coronavirus-positive patients to nursing facilities, “revers[ing] his March 25 directive forcing nursing homes to readmit residents who were treated at a hospital for COVID19. Those residents can only come back if the[y] test negative for the virus,” according to reporter Zack Fink.”

              The story also notes that this is in contrast to what Federal regs require of nursing homes. I’m sure someone on Trump’s team can work in a few examples of other Federal laws and regulations New York ignores. Immigration, the Second Amendment, little things like that.

              1. Cuomao is also on the verge of losig control over the “investigation” into those deathe:

                Needed: Truly independent probe of coronavirus devastation in NY nursing homes
                Calls are rising for an independent investigation of the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes amid the coronavirus crisis — and rightly so.

                Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s own investigation, which he handpicked protégé Letitia James to lead, plainly won’t get to the bottom of many key issues: The gov and his team won’t even admit that forcing facilities to take in COVID-positive patients was a mistake. That mandate is still in effect.

                Back on March 10, Cuomo bragged of how the state was protecting residents of New York’s 1,100 nursing homes and adult-care facilities. “You see that in the 22 deaths in Washington compared to New York with no deaths,” he said. “Right? Same number of cases, look how much higher Washington is. Because it’s about senior citizens.”

                es, the elderly are the most virus-vulnerable, with those aged 60 and up accounting for 85 percent of Empire State corona deaths.

                But Cuomo didn’t protect them: Washington state has fewer than 1,000 coronavirus deaths total, while New York lost 5,000 lives in nursing and adult-care homes alone.

                And, two weeks after Cuomo’s big brag, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker ordered nursing homes to take in corona-positive patients. Neither Zucker nor Cuomo explained that March 25 mandate. The gov insists it’s in keeping with federal guidelines, yet they call for no such regulation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised nursing homes: “Keep COVID-19 from entering your facility.”

                How did his team even think up the rule? Did the politically potent hospital lobby push for it?


                … Only in late April, a month after the “must accept” order, did the state begin reaching out to check on homes’ ability to administer tests, officials in several counties told The Post. Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan offered to pick test kits up in Albany himself — and never heard back.

                The James investigation will focus on whether homes are “following the rules” — not on those deadly rules themselves. An independent probe is a must.

                1. Supplemental:

                  Long Island calls for federal probe into coronavirus deaths at nursing homes
                  The latest call for an independent investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic comes from an elected official whose mother is stuck in a facility hit hard by COVID-19.

                  Village of Hempstead trustee LaMont Johnson told The Post on Thursday that he wants the feds to examine the orders issued by the state Health Department that required nursing homes to take coronavirus patients who weren’t sick enough to stay in hospitals — a decision that critics contend helped spread the deadly disease among a highly vulnerable population.

                  “I don’t think enough was being done on the state level to protect the residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities,” he said. “I don’t think there’s enough accountability, enough transparency.”

                  He added: “No one really knows the true answer”

                  Johnson’s mother — 77-year-old Lillian Johnson — lives in one of the hardest-hit nursing homes in Nassau County, the Fulton Commons Care Center.

                  Tallies released by the state Health Department show that 39 residents have died there either after testing positive for COVID-19 or exhibiting the symptoms of the disease.


                  Overall, the coronavirus death toll in nursing homes on Long Island stood at 1,116 as of Wednesday, the latest figures from the state Health Department show. That’s roughly a fifth of the deaths reported in nursing homes across the Empire State — which stands at 5,058. … The Republican lawmaker who used to oversee New York’s regulation of nursing homes in the state Senate also said Thursday that an independent probe is essential — rejecting the investigation by the state Health Department and state Attorney General Letitia James that Cuomo announced in April.

                  “When this order came out that they have to take COVID patients, some of the nursing homes that I deal with said, ‘We can’t take TB [tuberclosis] patients why are being told to take COVID?’,” said state Senator Sue Serino (R-Dutchess). “I think that we need independent, impartial experts to look at it to let us know what’s going on.”
                  [END EXCERPT]

  6. As an example….GE Healthcare, in ramping up production of ventilators, needed some 3-D printing done by an outside small shop. Turned out that the shop had been closed as “non-essential.”

    GE is large and influential enough that they were able to solve the problem quickly…I believe they are actually giving letters to key suppliers, probably along the lines of: “Dear Mr or Ms government official: We know that Johnny’s shop doesn’t look like much, but we certify that we need it for a project of vital national importance.” But how about less-influential companies, doing truly essential work a level or two lower in somebody’s vital supply chain?

    1. That’s when the business owner has do decide if he’s a stallion, or a gelding, and either tell the government to piss off, or capitulate like a good slave.

      1. because bankruptcy due to being shut down is preferable to getting marked essential?

    2. It’s not just supply chains and governments! (Temporarily ignore questions regarding the necessity of shelter-at-home, just take it as the current situation for purposes of this little tale…)

      I work for a Silly Valley media company that is a subsidiary of one of the Baby Bells. Over on the phone company side, they’ve had the linemen dispatching from home instead of the garage. Which means they take their van (or truck, or Truck, or TRUCK!) home with them and park it in the driveway or on the street.

      At this point, in some cases, the homeowners’ association (HOA) gets involved: “You can’t park that thing here! It’s against the association rules!”

      If/when the lineman loses the ensuing argument, they turn to HR. Who email/phone/send letters to the geniuses at the relevant HOA, explaining “critical worker… protect health… etc. etc.” This usually works.

      In cases where it fails, the Senior VP in charge of HR gets on the phone with said geniuses from the HOA. They have a chat regarding the likely effect on property values in the neighborhood if the HOA were to become widely-known as being so stupid & inflexible as to fail to accomodate critical workers in an emergency. So far, that’s always worked.

      According to the Senior VP, there’s one remaining fall-back if that fails: “Who do you think has more lawyers, your HOA or a POd Fortune-50 company?” So far, he’s not yet needed to play that card…

      It’s interesting to note that the SVP is prepared to get on the phone to solve a problem for ONE lineman, when necessary. I definitely didn’t expect that!

      1. One card you over-looked.

        “Nice HOA you’ve got there. It’d sure be a shame if your membership lost internet and cable service because our employee assigned to that neighborhood had no truck to use to restore maintain service.”

    3. A few steps farther down that road, and you wind up with what Ayn Rand called “the Aristocracy of Pull.”

      1. Oh, we’ve already got that.
        Biden is guilty!
        Flynn is innocent!
        And Epstein did not commit suicide!

        1. I have a Masters in Urban Planning. I used to help people cope with Planning, translating between “planner” and English.

          I can no longer help people. It used to be what you know, now it is Who you know. Developers send lobbyists to Planning Commission and City Council meetings. “What can you give us?”

  7. I don’t know if some flaw in my nature makes me see things in these terms, but I keep thinking we have many people thinking in absolutes. People SHOULD do so and so, “because it’s the right thing to do, not because they think some god will punish them for not doing it.” People “ought to,” work selflessly for the public good in whatever work they’ve been called to do, not for money or food, but for the sheer joy of helping others. You should censor your every word to avoid saying anything “hurtful,” or “hateful,” about anyone – unless they are “haters,” when you should feel morally uplifted by being as hateful to them as possible. And so forth.
    And in every case, just behind these, “People ought to do X,” sentiments, lies an unspoken. “…and if they don’t, we should FORCE them!”

    1. Yup, it all boils down to, “People must do MY will double-time, and with a happy face and no side comments.” More obedience than the good Lord expects, with plans that are a lot less thought out.

      And of course SJWs expect us to do the same “we have always been at war with Eastasia” stuff that they do.

      1. Add in that far too often they do not seem to feel compelled to follow their own rules.
        For reasons.
        The raft of liberal sexual predators turned a blind eye to for years because they espoused the proper narrative and were a champion of the party. Weinstein, Epstein, Clinton, Biden, and a host of others.
        The current crowd of martinets demanding perfect compliance to inappropriate and ultimately useless virus regulations while violating those self same regulations whenever they become inconvenient.
        Unlike the infamous Doc Holiday, for the typical liberal progressive socialist there really are no limits to their hypocrisy.

        1. Rules for me and rules for three. Why become a politician if you can’t do what you want , punish your enemies and reward your friends?

    2. That’s pretty much communism in a nut-shell, “People should be altruistic and do this for the greater good.” But that’s not how human nature works. They might do this or that thing that helps others rather than themselves immediately because they can see a few steps down the line that they will reap a benefit of some sort eventually.

      But Adam isn’t likely to see the benefit of buying that pencil today that he doesn’t really need right now so that Juan in the Philippines is employed next summer and doesn’t join the local rebel group that attacks Johnny’s truck, which delays a shipment of palm oil from Malaysia, putting Mohammed out of work and can’t pay his son’s tuition to the university back in the US that is employing Adam’s wife.

      There are rarely any winners when government gets involved in picking what’s essential or not, just a bunch of losers of varying degree.

      1. It is notable that even the people advocating for that system do not actually practice altruistic behaviour. They may claim they do, they may even believe they do, but they rarely do. We’re not talking Little Sisters of the Poor here, we’re in Leo DeCaprio and Harrison Ford “Do as I say not as I do” (aka, it’s different when I do it) territory.

        1. It was Obama going after the little sisters of the poor that turned me from thinking the government was useless into thinking it was actually malevolent. It’s been reinforced since

    3. One also notices that the edicts are for *other* people, and that TPTB are mysteriously exempt from the rules that the proletariat must endure. I’m starting to think that the obvious hypocrisy is supposed to be noticed, as a way to ensure that The People must bow down to The Leadership. Or else.

      Have they never contemplated the fate of Mussolini, or the former leader of Romania?

      1. Ah, but the privileges of the nobility (whether you call them counts or commissars) “prove,” their innate superiority over the peasants. The proper response from the peasant is to be awed by the beauty and power of the nobility and submit to their God ( or State) given authority.
        It’s very archetypal and it works…..sometimes, until it doesn’t.

        1. They just can’t believe that so MANY of us “just folks) are slow to anger but are armed and have a lowering tolerance for those who just know THEY’RE “BETTER THAN WE ARE”.

      2. The way some people see it, you don’t *have* power unless you can be see *using* it.

        “You stay home. I send my family to Florida. You wear masks when you’re allowed to scuttled out for what groceries are available, I got to four-Martini luncheons with my sycophants.”

        Far from getting angry, too many people are licking their boots submissively.

            1. Last time the U.S. got A Bit Cross was Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

              1. In fairness, the way I’ve had it explained was that we bombed Dresden as a favor to the Brits.

                So, nothing personal on our side.

                1. So, nothing personal on our side part, on our PART, dammit.

                  Don’t you hate realizing you typed the wrong word right as you hit the Post Comment button? (Is it called that because once you’ve pressed it you are post any edit?)

  8. Last week I posted on my blog about the disruptions seen in the food industry using the ‘want of a nail’ story as well. This week I’m seeing that not just meat is getting sparse on the shelves, but canned soup is almost out as well.

    Things are not going to be good for the next couple of years. And most people don’t even see it yet. A few are starting to wake up, but not enough.

    1. There are a large number of Canadians very surprised this week that >75% of Canadian beef gets processed at three (3) meat packing plants. Which are being closed because COVID-19. Pork and chicken are likewise bottle-necked into a very small number of very large slaughter operations. Which of course all have COVID-19 outbreaks.

      Canadians were also surprised to learn that the people who work in those plants are all MIGRANTS, not even immigrants. Which is why they all caught COVID-19 obviously, because they live in barracks housing next to the plant.

      Next question, how the f- does the government let a pandemic shut down the three factories that feed the whole f-ing country? Because they are Liberals, comes the answer. They are very concerned about race and gender issues, very concerned about the environment, very very concerned about eeevile assault weapons that are going to come and kill us all… but they don’t really have much interest in where food comes from.

      It comes from the store, right? Those icky rural redneck farmer people do it, no need for us policy wonk types to concern ourselves about that. But we better take their guns right away, or there could be trouble.

      Canadian arts groups got $500 million in emergency Corona-funding last month, ALL OF AGRICULTURE got something like $250 million. I’m going from memory off something I saw in passing yesterday, but the point is well made. I think that $250 million bucks wouldn’t build you one new beef processing plant, particularly if the government was involved.

      Just to give an example of how badly government does things, lets use cannabis as an example.

      The Ontario government designated all retail sales of the demon weed would be handled by one (1) government constituted entity, the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation. A monopoly, not to put too fine a point on it. All sales would be by a web site, all delivery would be my mail.

      The OCRC spent $106 MILLION dollars setting up a warehouse and a web site. The web site is a paragon of bad web design, I’m sure the warehouse is very nice. Their delivery happens several weeks after your order is processed and paid for, medical cannabis from the producers usually comes in three or four days.

      They sold $64 million dollars worth of dried-out, over-packaged, too expensive weed. (I’ve heard complaints, I don’t toke the herb myself.)

      So this monopoly setup, the only legal source of recreational (aka without a medical prescription from a physician) weed, in the most populous province of Canada, managed to lose $42 million bucks last year.

      (How does a warehouse and a web site cost that much money you ask? Well, it doesn’t. They stole the money, obviously. They just stole it by specifying things like (I imagine) bullet proof glass for the doors, to be installed by certified bulletproof glass installers, and the only -certified- company in town is Bob’s Bulletproof Glass owned by Mr. Bob who’s somebody’s cousin in the Liberal government. Mr. Bob is always good for a generous donation at election time, know what I mean?)

      But $250 million should be enough for all the farmers in Canada. Okay?

      1. Meanwhile, there are millions of unemployed folks in the Maritimes, at least enough of whom would be happy to replace those migrants, at the same wage, given right now they’re on the dole and slowly rotting away.

        1. The phrase around here is “Whitey won’t work.” You put a white kid on a planting line and he’s walking away after half an hour because he doesn’t need the money that bad. Because thanks to inflation, $15/hr won’t barely buy you lunch. White kid is 100% right to walk away, he’s going to starve. Same with the meat packing plants. They’re horrible, and the pay is shite. I most certainly wouldn’t work in one.

          The Mexican dude is still working. Because back in Guadalajara, the Canadian Peso is still worth ten times the Mexican peso, and he is making bank, baby. Mexican dude would sooner be in the USA, but Canada is better than nothing and a hell of a lot better than Mexico.

          So the Canadian government is importing laborers from points south, this year, during a pandemic. Because if they don’t, there will be no harvest this fall. And if people are starving in Toronto, the Liberals will not get re-elected.

          Once you start digging into the economic nightmares behind all this apparent insanity you start to find things like government run marketing boards, foreign countries dumping product into Canada, ecological regulations, animal husbandry regulations, taxes, taxes on taxes, electricity cost, fuel cost, labor cost not spent on wages, lawyers, accountants, tariffs… government stuff, basically.

          That’s how you end up with it being sensible to import foreign labour into a country with 20% unemployment, where the national government is actively and deliberately shutting down the oil industry. During a plague.

          1. No harvest, BS. We don’t import labor to run grain combines. Grain is vastly more of a staple crop than all other crops combined. The only place migrant labor is in the potato harvest is the sorting shed. Even tomato harvesting has been mostly mechanized; strawberries are one of the last holdouts for hand harvest.

            And if the white kid won’t work for $15/hour, consider that’s because he can make more on the dole.

            1. Lots of crops in S. Ontario require hand-planting and plenty of other labour. Then there is the labour-heavy Big Farm action for dairy, pork, chicken and beef, still some tobacco which is notorious for needing labour, and lots of green houses where mechanization is filled in with lots of labour. Somebody has to stand there and pot all that stuff. Grapes and fruit in Niagara. All kids of stuff you never hear anything about, because the media don’t find it interesting. Because food comes from the store.

              The days of Farmer John Brown and his 100 acre mixed farm are over, my grandmother’s generation was the last who pursued that and made it work. Starting in the 1950s came consolidation, and now guys are working a thousand acres minimum even here in congested S. Ontario.

              Out West of course things are done at an -immense- scale, with 24-row corn heads and other huge machines.

              But, three (3) beef processing plants do most of the beef for Canada and export. Which is completely crazy. So fragile.

              Bottom line, Wuhan Flu came along and knocked the props out from under the whole business. What really changed the most is that now the government has been forced to address how precarious the whole food supply chain really is, and how much they’ve been playing politics with the food that goes in people’s mouths.

              You recall how STUPID the new gun regulations are, right? Just abysmally idiotic. You should see the regulations on bees. Or pesticides. Or tractors. Everything is like that these days.

              1. Somehow I’m given to suspect that (DTTP) our Neighbors up North fly a combination of the Post-Imperial French Battle Flag (all white) and Red Tape…

                (DTTP is for “don’t take this personally,” as its intent is not international incidents, but mutual ribbing and parodie des regimes.)

                1. Reports I’ve read say the Canadian soldier is a superbly trained and equipped combatant and on several occasions pulled America troops’ butts out of the fire. Wiki* cites, for one example,

                  in December 2003, four PPCLI snipers from 3 PPCLI were awarded Mentions in Dispatches by the Canadian Army and the Bronze Star by the U.S. Army for their actions in combat during Operation Anaconda, 2–11 March 2002. … Captain Derek Prohar, PPCLI, received the Medal of Military Valour. Assigned as liaison officer with the U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan during the battle at Sperwan Ghar, 5–12 September 2006, Captain Prohar operated as the rear machine gunner on the battalion commander’s vehicle. He was wounded by an improvised explosive device during an intense enemy ambush. Despite his injuries, he continued returning fire and assisted the commander with the control of the attack, which resulted in the successful seizing of key terrain.

                  It’s just a damn shame they have to hitch a ride to the battlefield.


                    1. Oh yes. As a 17 year old kid I saw the Canadian Army live and in living colour. It was an under-funded, politically driven mess. The actual -troops- were uniformly a bunch of hard-asses. They were go-anywhere, do-anything types. Same type of guys you see playing Junior A hockey. They were pretty scary for 17 year old Phantom, but on the other hand they didn’t treat me any different than anyone else, so that was nice.

                      The officers, however, were a different type of thing. They seemed a bit reptilian, like they 100% didn’t care if you lived or died so long as there was no extra paperwork involved. The troops or the mission (if there even was one) were nothing compared to getting the forms filled out properly. Plus you -never- saw an officer except at parade or from a distance. They stayed in the nice air conditioned office, polishing their chairs.

                      I exited after a year of summer-soldiering. It was creepy. It may have improved after the Trudeau Era, but I doubt it. I shudder to think what the Forces look like now after so many years of Trudeau The Younger. Utter insanity.

            2. I will politely point out older son, five years ago worked a damned difficult night job for $10 an hour.
              “White kids won’t work” is bullshit.
              The problem is we’ve fucked the labor laws so white kids or AMERICAN kids of any race won’t work when $10 or $15 is a TON of money for THEM. I.e. while they live with mom and dad and can work part time. Mostly late teen years. Obama made it impossible to hire under eighteens to work at farm jobs, for instance.
              And you know what, it’s bullshit. It’s exercise in the fresh air, and gives them an idea of what skills people will pay for and how much.
              “Hard work never hurt nobody.” Or at lest it didn’t do me any harm to help harvest potatoes or clean hotel rooms. And it gave me a measure of independence at an age when people desperately want it. Enough to buy the yogurt my mom thought was way too expensive, and the shampoo that didn’t come in gallon bottles (of course dad then stole mine but that’s something else. He and I had/have dry hair, something mom can’t COMPREHEND so we always bought shampoo for greasy hair.)
              And I could say “Bugger this, I’m moving out.” I never did, because the drama wasn’t worth it, though I was getting ready to when some American came and swept me away, but I could HAVE.

              1. Obama made it impossible to hire under eighteens to work at farm jobs, for instance.

                Only way to hire under 18 to work at farm jobs is if you are the child of a farmer. Cousins were driving combine from the time they could see out the front window, work floor petals, shifts, break.; well before they could legally drive. But Uncle couldn’t hire his great-nephew (or nieces, they didn’t ask). Uncle is 8 years older than I am. Puts great-nephew just younger than Uncle’s youngest.

                Ditto construction. Had uncles in construction. They had their kids onsite working well before they were 18 (mostly unloading/moving). But their nieces, or great-nephews couldn’t, even if any were close enough.

                I wonder? Is the under 18 crowd even allowed to babysit for anyone, other than family, anymore? Legally?

                1. And that exception, for children, btw, only because Pat Richardson called them on it, before they slammed it into place.
                  I don’t know. I know no one seems to babysit anymore.

                2. BTW before you complain about how useless kids are these days remember between stupid regulations and even dumber minimum wage laws, we’ve mollycoddled them out of KNOWING what work is for or how to work, or….

                  1. before you complain about how useless kids are these days remember between stupid regulations and even dumber minimum wage laws, we’ve mollycoddled them out of KNOWING what work is for or how to work, or

                    I know. I’m not complaining. All the “kids” I know, the ones who when through scouts with my son, or were his classmates, or his cousins, that we still remotely know something about, are all working. All were taught, one way or another, about working. Our kid it wasn’t easy. But we managed. Sometimes they even got paid. This was 20 years ago.

                    Let’s see.
                    1. Christmas Tree pickup. Scouts.
                    2. Christmas wreath build. Scouts.
                    3. Product sales. (I did not do this for him, I despise sales. I just made sure he didn’t go alone.) Scouts/School/Sports
                    4. Splitting 10 chord of wood, with a mallet over the summer.
                    5. Painting the house. He got paid, almost as much as we would have paid professional painters.
                    6. Christmas tree sale lot. Private. Before he was 16 he couldn’t be paid directly, but they could pay minimum wage into his scout account. Under aged scouts were supervised by a scouter who was there for pay.

                    The above list doesn’t count painting grandma’s house (three times now). Mowing lawn, etc.

                    Could he be fired from any of these? Not most, item #6 he could. But worse. He got to do them until they were “right”.

                    But then we were “older parents”. Our contemporary group when kid was in college, were with parents whose youngest was our son’s age. Or they were raising their grandchildren …

                  2. MANY times I have been told that all a midwesterner needs to do to get hired for ANY construction work in Califorfina/Pacific coast is to simply speak and be recognized as a midwesterner. Why? Midwesterners (at least once upon a time…) would do the two Magic Things.

                    Magic Things?

                    1. Show up. Every. Damned. Time.
                    2. Do. The. Damned. Work.

                    Sometimes “magic” is stupid simple*. And yet some get it wrong.

                    * Ox saying this. What does THAT say about those who fsck it up?

                    Also: While I am against illegal immigration – I do NOT make the mistake to claim that such are lazy. They work their arseses off – because Bad Things (like being sent home) happen if they don’t. Yes, they will take advantage of EVERY dumbass program, but that’s not laziness, that’s smarts. They are PLAYING the leftist farkwites.

                    1. I actually have a great deal of respect for the old school migrant workers, whether illegal or otherwise.
                      They found there way to the US, took crap jobs the locals really did not want (at least for the wages offered), saved nearly every penny, then went home and lived quite well off their earnings.
                      What has destroyed that dynamic was our liberal progressives demanding that illegals receive the same or better benefits than our own down on their luck citizens.
                      We turned what once upon a time had been an under the table arrangement beneficial to both parties into a welfare program for the entire world if they could only slip across a very porous border.

                    2. From an obituary for NFL legend Don Shula — the article itself is paywalled by here’s the critical bit:

                      Posnanski: A full picture of Don Shula? Unyielding, inspiring, hard to describe
                      Daniel Süle wanted his son to be a fisherman. He was born in Hungary and was brought to America when he was 6 years old. Soon, his parents went back, but Dan stayed and he changed his name to Shula because one of his teachers couldn’t pronounce Süle. He dropped out of school in the sixth grade, got married to Mary, found a job working in a rose nursery and bought a little house near the grocery store Mary’s parents ran.

                      Dan Shula envisioned Don fishing Lake Erie. It seemed a sensible career choice.

                      Trouble was, Don Shula got seasick.

                      That grocery store was the center of Don Shula’s childhood. The lessons he learned there formed his whole coaching philosophy. Show up on time. Work hard. Don’t run your mouth. Don’t waste your time. Don’t sugarcoat things. Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame others.

                      Do your job.

                  3. Young Relatives here work like demons. I don’t tell them to, they just go at stuff with their heads down and pound away until its done. Software, schoolwork, auto repair, doesn’t matter.

                    I guess I’ve been a better model than I thought. ~:D

                  4. Not in all cases.

                    Example A: Meself. Chores included splitting wood, carrying wood, felling trees, stacking wood, re-carrying wood, re-stacking wood, burning said wood so we had heat … I don’t do sick days – I can count on one hand the times I’ve called in sick to work and have fingers left over.

                    Example B: All the lads I work with. We’re a primarily a young (age bracket wise) construction company (for about 4 of the 8 years I have worked there I was the old man (I’m 34 now). Every single one of the lads who have stuck around (and quite a few who have left for love or to ministry or their own company) have kicked butt day in and day out.

                    Caveat: 75% or so are homeschooled ,conservative, Christian, country boys. So that may have something to do with it. 😉

                3. I suspect in most cases it’s going to be about 14 that they start letting kids babysit, if only because younger than that (and sometimes up to 16), it’s “zomg , you left your kids alone at home, how could you?!”

                  Me, I started being left alone to watch the youngers at about ten or so. Not all day, or every day, but I earned money that way. Earned money doing dishes and housework for my great grandfather’s lady friend across the street the same age. Can’t do that now.

                  I was one of the last groups of teenagers(I was 16) allowed to work at the McDonald’s in town, too. They passed laws to discourage hiring and encourage kids to not drop out. Kids still dropped out, they just either got pregnant or lied about their age or hung about for two years. Many of them had flunked earlier grades anyway.

                  1. About age 12 I was told, “We’ll be back soon. If you Really Need Them, the guns are HERE.”

                    Thankfully, I never Really Needed the guns.

                    1. Cases where a minor is forced to use a firearm to defend themselves or their siblings happens more than one would know. You see, it has long been an unwritten agreement in the media and news in general that they just did not report such events. It would send the wrong message to children after all.
                      First time a reporter told me this I seriously thought he was having me on, but it has since been repeated numerous times.

                  2. When I was growing up, the understanding was that you didn’t hire the 16-18 year olds for babysitting and 15 year olds were iffy, because a) they might have significant others and be inclined to ignore the children in favor of the SO, and b) they were at the age when they were too cool to play with little kids.

                    The 12-to-14-year-olds on the other hand, were close enough in age to still play with the kids but old enough to have authority in the children’s eyes and to be able to take care of minor mishaps.

          2. At least in the US, the Mexican dude can also get away with having four to six people living in a one bedroom apartment, while a couple believed to be legally allowed to be in the country will be in violation of their lease if they have a baby.
            (We had that situation happen in Spokane– they were very nice about it, but it was a good thing my husband got a new job over Seattle-side before the lease ended, and if we’d been month-to-month the ladies at the front would have to pretend my husband wasn’t living there.)

            1. They do that stuff here too. That’s why half the employees at Cargill beef plant in High River Alberta had the Wuhan Flu. Crowded living conditions at “home,” six guys in a one room apartment.

              1. Cargill, eh? that explains why today Costco had nice lamb and lots of pork (forgot to get some of that lamb, like I didn’t spend enough already) but no beef.

                Walmart, OTOH, had some of everything.

                Should check Winco… different supplier, judging by the taste.

          3. $15/hr won’t barely buy you lunch.

            Shucks, that’s easily solved: just raise the hourly rate to $20 or $25!

            Lest this engender an onslaught of instruction, let me hasten to break my standing rule against labeling comments as caustic and assure all readers that I d, indeed, understand the fallacy of my proposed solution.

            The better way is for the Federal government to subsidize those lunches, even if that means raising taxes.

            1. Why stop at $25? Why not $50/hr? That’s my standard line when talking to these socialist imbeciles. Just cut the crap and go for $50/hr minimum wage. Or a nice round $100?

              Its funny the look they get on their face. They know they can’t agree, but they want to. And they know that $15 is too much for a lot of these jobs, too.

              And now they are all wondering why the shelves in the store are empty of things like flour and rice, soon to be the meat section is empty. The confusion on so many stupid faces and the dismay that things are not turning out well.

            2. I fail to see how paying somebody $15 an hour for a job worth $5, and then taxing them $7.50, is better than just paying them $7.50 in the first place.

              1. That’s because you’re not a socialist. It makes perfect sense if you assume those people are too stupid to be trusted with money. They’ll just spend it on beer and popcorn, as a Canadian Liberal once famously said in public.

                The proper way to do it is pay them a big wage, then tax most of it away so there’s juuuust enough left for food, then provide all kinds of programs to keep them in poverty they’re accustomed to while you make huge obscene money fulfilling government contracts.

                And -import- foreign labor so somebody has incentive to work. Can’t let Walmart shelves go bare, you know. The locals will riot. Give them weed and take away their guns.

                People are stupid. They have to be controlled.

                1. They’ll just spend it on beer and popcorn, as a Canadian Liberal once famously said in public.

                  Canadian Liberals have nothing on our American ones. Addressing tax cuts in #, then-president Bill Clinton told a crowd of Useful Idiots College students:
                  “We could give it all back to you and hope you spend it right… But … if you don’t spend it right, here’s what’s going to happen. In 2013 — that’s just 14 years away — taxes people pay on their payroll for Social Security will no longer cover the monthly checks… I want every parent here to look at the young people here, and ask yourself, ‘Do you really want to run the risk of squandering this surplus?’ ”

                  1. I’m surprised to hear one of them so freely admitting that S.S. is the biggest Ponzi scam ever perpetrated. I’ve known that for 40 years, but they try to keep it quiet.


                    Scott Reid, Martin’s director of communications, was attacking a Conservative plan to give families of young children $1,200 a year for child care.
                    “Don’t give people 25 bucks a week to blow on beer and popcorn,” Reid said during a panel discussion on CBC News: Sunday. “Give them child-care spaces that work. Stephen Harper’s plan has nothing to do with child care.”

                    You notice that Scott Reid didn’t laugh and ask where anybody was getting day care for $25/week? That’s because he -knew- the money would be wasted. Because his most deeply held belief was (and is) that Canadians are stupid.

                    1. As his candidate was elected by his constituents and selected as a party leader by his peers, you can hardly blame his communications director for holding the public in such contempt.

              2. If you pay them $7.50 they will just spend it stupidly on fripperies like food and rent.
                By paying them $15 you drive their food and rent costs to where $7.50 isn’t enough to live on so you tax them the other $7.50 and use some of it to subsidize them, but you keep a third to a half of what you tax as your just and righteous due for taking care of them.
                I think it was Heinlein who pointed out that the main difference between a priest and a petty bureaucrat was the robes they wore when picking your pocket. Cynical old fart was our much missed RAH.

      2. Meanwhile, a private enterprise, selling another addictive substance (IMO, also of low quality) is doing quite well, but they are a bit more distributed… Who? Starbucks.

        1. It’s not my fault that people keep giving me Starbucks cards. It’s like they know I need caff— *looks over at soda-can-holder on Day Job desk* Never mind.

          1. Fortunately, the Starbucks that was in $HOOTERVILLE (why?!?) is long gone – but a supermarket has a Caribou Coffee kiosk. My coffee is either a quick thing from a Keurig, or very good result of a more time consuming French Press, however.

            1. I don’t know about the coffee at Caribou, but their tea is awful. It makes Starbucks look really good. (And yes, I drink overpriced Starbucks tea. Usually it’s not bad and I keep the cup and straw for re-use).

              1. It might vary by instance. I’ve no issue with the local tea, but the manager there is religious (and exasperated by underlings who are not) about keeping things clean and properly rotated. Granted, I usually only stop in after work, so my tolerance might have more latitude. I am NOT a fan of mixes.

                1. Keeping things clean can be the difference between okay coffee and good coffee. Or okay coffee and “odearBOBdon’tdrinkthat!”

                  I miss coffee.

        2. I feel confident that if Starbucks was handed a gold plated monopoly to retail the Demon Weed here in Ontario, they would have found a way to turn a profit. Even with the obscenely restrictive Health Canada regulations.

          As it is, the black market in weed is stronger than ever. That’s a bad thing.

          1. I would expect so, as they would have this crazy idea that despite ‘monopoly’ they need to behave as if they have serious competitors – and they do, just not legal ones.

      3. On the whole madness of legalization of pot…

        In California, after legalization happened, the cost of pot went so low that it wasn’t profitable to smuggle it. Legal (-ish, Federal law said they couldn’t and they had to work in cash because banks wouldn’t let them put ATM/Credit Card machines in, etc, etc, etc) pot was so cheap and the legal growers had such a massive supply of pot that the illegal growers couldn’t compete, even with all the things they did.(1)

        Then, California started to regulate the market. The cost of regulations drove up the cost of legal pot, to the point where illegal pot sales came back strong, because the illegal pot was cheaper than the legal stuff, even with it being grown in state and national forests and illegal shipping from Mexico.

        I pretty much did the whole “Karnak” thing when this happened, and I wasn’t surprised.

        (1)-And, people that hadn’t done pot in a while trying out stuff now that it was legal…and discovering that the pot they’re having now was nitro-soaked in comparison to the pot they had twenty, twenty five years ago.

        1. The illegal pot guys also discovered they could use legal grows to launder their pot– even after regulation was put in to avoid the issues with any kind of large scale growing. Go in, and in form the guy growing that he will be trading his best pot for your worst stuff, or he won’t have to worry about making profit anymore due to a bad case of being dead, along with anybody he loves.

          1. what really makes me shake my head is the ‘legalize pot now’ crowd that somehow believes that if it gets legalized at a federal level that it won’t for all practical intents and purposes be taken over by Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds within a month (or however long it takes their first crop to come in)

            i had to spend most of an uber ride explaining to one what a ‘bill of attainder’ was.

            1. The cigarette companies will only manage that if they get the Government to regulate their possible competition out of existence…so I figure six months.

            2. That already happened, Draven. Where do you think all the money to stand up all these state-level weed companies came from? When the USA finally legalizes it, those huge companies will already own the whole thing from top to bottom.

              That’s how it worked in Canada. Liberal Party apparatchiks were there right when the thing started, with money in hand and government backed loans to get everything rolling. In case there’s somebody screaming “PROVE IT!!!” at their monitor, the former head of the Ontario Provincial Police (and huge Liberal apparatchik) was on the board of directors of one of the biggest cannabis companies. When you see stuff like that, you know not to invest your own money.

              Sure enough, those cannabis companies went public and traded at big multiple of their worth. Those apparatchiks made their money then and got out. They are all laughing now, as the cannabis companies crash into receivership one after the other taking the retail investor down with them.

              Important safety tip for the investment future: In my not-at-all-humble opinion on this one subject, there is no market for -recreational- weed. It is a one-time buy for most people. The majority will try it, it will be mildly unpleasant and boring for a few hours, and they’ll never bother with it again. For some sizeable minority it will be the worst feeling they ever had, and they’ll never shut up about it the rest of their lives. Edibles are particularly notable in this regard, a high-dose THC edible or drink will not be a fun ride for the recreational first time buyer. The next-day hangover can be epic. This is what I hear in the space.

              The one bright spot is that nobody is reporting permanent harm from overdoing it with legal products. (As compared to the illegal products laced with fentanyl etc. which kill stupid kids every week.) The same can’t be said of other things, too much Jack Daniels lands people in intensive care all the time. But that’s not really a selling point, is it?

              There -is- a market for medical cannabis (aka oils) when prescribed by a physician who is a cannabis -specialist-. There are some chronic conditions that can be well treated with cannabis that don’t really respond to anything else. I will not name them here, as I am not a physician. ~:D

              I will say that I’ve heard many stories of life-long pot heads turning to the medicinal market and getting their lives back by consuming proper doses of oils instead of smoking up every two hours and living in a haze. They get jobs and girlfriends, which is major achievement unlocked for a lot of these guys. Again, not a physician, YMMV. Go see an expert for an expert opinion.

              Bottom line, Phillip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Coors et al are going to take a serious beating in the cannabis space. The US government -will- legalize it looking for tax revenue, probably under a DemocRat president, and they also will take a serious beating. This is because they don’t pay attention to what actual users and actual producers tell them.

              I would not expect Trump to decriminalize cannabis, but he’s unpredictable so you never know. He might go for it just to irritate the Federal bureaucracy.

        2. California Canabis is one of the classic economics case studies come to life. Just the thought of it brightens up dismal days, like today when it’s cold and rainy and our governor believes the best way to keep us well is to have us stand outside in the rain.

          They couldn’t run a whelk stand as a British politician once said.

          1. Lucky to have rain, we have snow here in Hooterville Ontario. By which I mean accumulation and reduced visibility, not a couple of flakes on the wind. Just enough to make driving an adventure.

            Watching California come apart under the weight of their own Liberalism is a spectacle that never gets old. Its like a textbook on how to f- up a nation.

      4. > >75% of Canadian beef gets processed at three (3) meat packing plants. Which are being closed because COVID-19

        The vegetarian crazies are probably squeeing at that. Expect them to demand that they stay closed.

        It’s a political thing now; in some areas they’ve managed to get meat removed from school lunches on some days, and I’ve read reports of cafeterias and vending machines going “meat-free” in some Woke businesses.

        1. Someone on my FB f-list was talking about how they were hoping it could translate into a meatless next several months. I told her to be very careful what she wished for, because there are some people who can’t assimilate plant protein effectively enough to live solely on it. And that there’s a strong correlation between that and autism spectrum disorder, although causation is not yet understood.

          I tried to go vegetarian several times in college, and ended up every time with intense meat cravings. Given that I have a nephew and niece on the spectrum, I’m thinking I have at least some of the genes.

            1. It is quite possible to get sufficient protein from a vegetarian, and even vegan diet… provided there is late 20th century/21st century transportation/shipping infrastructure. As for B-12.. that comes down to, pretty much, you eat meat, or you eat synthetics – for humans, anyway.

          1. *Waves* Yep. I can vouch for that. Spectrum, and I not only have to have meat protein or start going loopy, I’m either intolerant or downright allergic to a wide spectrum of plant proteins. Legumes are Not of the Good, and nuts and wheat are just Right Out.

              1. *Bemused* An Idea which I have to admit I love just on general principles. “You think I’m barbaric? Okay, let’s do this like cavemen.”

                Including the pre-dawn ambushes, projectile weapons, and making sure once your opponent goes down, they don’t get back up again.

                “…You’re complaining about the guns? Why? I assure you if Neanderthals had guns, they’d have used them….”

                1. I recall a letter to Sky & Telescope (or MAYBE Astronomy, but I think it was S&T) about how the old instruments were wondrous things of wood and brass and such… and the Editor(s) replied, rightly, that that was the result of being LIMITED to such, and had they had modern synthetics (aka ‘plastics’) they would have adopted them almost instantly. And this is true. How do we know? We know as that is PRECISELY what they did!

                  1. The “Ancients” lived in a benighted in which they’d no idea how horribly inauthentic are plastics, nor the ways in which their production abets destruction of the Environment — so of course they abandoned sustainable products providing hundreds of satisfying artisanal man person-hours to manufacture, limiting use of the devices to only those truly worthy.

                    Their unenlightened greed has deprived us of a world in which artistry is valued above practicality and we are all much the poorer for that.

                2. It was the Neanderthal hybrids who *invented* guns. And the Industrial Revolution. The pure Sapiens mostly picked fleas and died early.

              1. I know of a person who has a particular allergy (to beef, yes – a result of a particular procedure/anesthetic – a good trade for her – it beat “dead”) who explains it to places, “It is NOT ‘do not like’ — It is ‘There WILL be an ambulance at your front door.'”

                1. *sympathy*

                  My husband’s best friend from grade school got the red-meat-allergy from ticks, he says he’s had a lot of luck with the “man I wish I could, but I’m one of those poor SOBs who got the acquired beef allergy, nearly killed me two ways.”
                  (Although he didn’t really much like red meat in the first place, he did almost kill himself because he’d eat it.)

                2. Oof. I’d heard of meat allergies due to tick bite, but that’s a new one on me.

                  There are reasons I just don’t eat out. I can’t get anyone to believe me, most days, and the chance of accidental cross-contamination even if they do is too high.

        2. There is a very noisy movement here in Canada to ban meat, just like there’s one to ban guns. There’s a great deal of crossover between them, white socialist pacifists love that vegetarian holiness vibe.

          In the normal run of things, I’d be inclined to slap a “crazy” sticker on both groups and set them to ignore. Unfortunately, we have a Liberal party that thinks pandering to those groups will get them votes. They’ve done a gun ban in the middle of a pandemic, is how much they want to pander to them.

          It would not amaze me to see some sort of similarly idiotic regulation imposed on meat in the next little while, to distract attention from the shambles everything else is in right now. Beef rationing would be right in line with their philosophy. “You don’t need that much meat, peasant. Beef once a week is more than enough for you!”

          Its hard for me to express the depth and breadth of my contempt for our ruling class and the league of morons who keep them in power. The iceberg that sank the Titanic would be small in comparison.

          Where’s Thanos when you need him?

            1. No, they’ve have Thanos Snapped me and everybody I know years ago. Its their biggest fantasy.

              That’s why I love that movie. Thanos is the ultimate expression of the self-righteous Lefty living the ultimate Lefty desire. Watching him lose was beautiful.

              1. But, Thanos was sad. He didn’t like what he ‘had’ to do, and destroyed the Infinity Stones after they served their purpose.

                Our leftists are all smug and chipper about imposing their nutdom on everybody else. The more they ruin our lives, the harder they grin. They’re more like the Joker.

                1. I have been unable to watch the Joker movie, so it may be that you are correct. But from what I’m told, the Joker in that movie was the (as usual) “sane” one in an insane world, where all the Bad People Made Him Do It. Bah! DC Comics needs to die, and be reborn as something that respects its own IP.

                  This is one of the reasons I like anime over Hollywood most of the time, their bad guys are just Bad and don’t give a crap about anything but their Bad Guy goal. They (for the most part) don’t portray all of Japanese society as the true bad guy which forces the movie villain to do the bad things. They do like to blame the Americans for a lot of bad things, but that’s expected given y’all nuked them, and they lost the war etc.

                  Which is why out of everything on Netflix I’m watching Bleach from 2007. Its more fun, and there are a lot of episodes.

                  1. Yep. Hollyweird forgot how to story. It’s why their earnings drop off so fast, why their market share is shrinking. It shouldn’t be. But it is. People want escapism that doesn’t make them feel bad. That is normal. Selling to normal people works, because there are a lot of them.

                2. Thanos wasn’t sad. Slightly melancholy, perhaps, but not sad.

                  That said, you’re right about Leftists being all smug and chipper. I saw an article the other day about one nutcase chortling over the idea of gaining control over the White House, Senate, House and packing the Supreme Court then using that power to cut off Federal funds to Red states. While I don’t think he said anything about not collecting Red state taxes afterward I suspect they won’t have that option. Nor do I expect it would work out the way imagined.

                  To quote what Slim Pickens’ character in Dr. Strangelove should have said while riding that bomb, “Maybe I haven’t thought this all the way through.”

                  1. Oh, I think he did. They already knew they were on a one-way mission with a damaged plane leaking fuel, he was riding a 20-megaton atomic bomb out in a blaze of glory, so what the hell? It couldn’t get any worse!

    2. Canned soup, locally, has taken a hit for some time now. It’s there, but the particular version prefered might not be. The supermarket meat count now is rationing, with signs declaring one four items to a customer. The dept. manager, however, is holding to it very loosely (I presume it is a corporate diktat) and if someone buys, say, five mesquite chicken breasts, well, that’s only one item.

      1. We stocked up in January/February for meats. My last trip over the Cascades entailed a large quantity of various things that would be hard to get. This was late February, where Winnie the Flu wasn’t obviously in the Medford area, but we figured the clock was ticking. A certain amount of “good luck”, to invert the RAH statement.

        And I see now that Costco is going to require Kung Flu Mask Theater for customers. We already figured that a late May trip (3 months after the last) was going to be optional. We’ll run out of some stuff, but most can be sourced locally, or we can work around it. I’m hoping that the silliness is over by late August, when I’m supposed to go again. If not, I’ll see about getting a MAGA mask. (Saw a guy at Costco last year who was wearing a MAGA hat in woodland Camo. Sweet!)

        1. Yeah, I think Costco is going to discover a big dip in sales, after states started opening up.

          If the screenshot I’ve seen floating around with the guy on their social media is correct, they deserve it.

          1. A) Perfect timing: wait until people are getting ready to emerge from huddling.
            B) I saw the image in question. Major snark from (one would home) an aspiring ex-employee of Costco.

            I do have to remember that Costco can be Karen central. Personal experience was with a couple who told me that sugar free Swiss Miss cocoa (since discontinued from stock) was A Bad Thing. News, dearies: It’s None Of Your Damned Business.

            On a more serious note, the Karen who freaked when a person inadvertently showed his handgun in his backpack had major consequences. As I recall, Karen called the manager, the manager called Clark County LEO, and after the all-too-common events, they called the county coroner. I don’t know what the legal repercussions were for that fustercluck, but one would hope that there would be some. Probably not. As it stands, I’m *very* careful when I shop at Costco.

            Alas, no Sam’s clubs in Oregon. We can get a lot of stuff elsewhere, but there are some things that are best bought at Costco. OTOH, we’re not in a rush.

            1. I do have to remember that Costco can be Karen central. Personal experience was with a couple who told me that sugar free Swiss Miss cocoa (since discontinued from stock) was A Bad Thing. News, dearies: It’s None Of Your Damned Business.

              I’ve run into a couple of self-appointed aunts, have about a 75% success rate by just responding with the same level of unwarranted familiarity and then there’s a nice conversation. The rest huff and walk off.

              The Vegas case was started with a false police report by the Costco employees, not that I’d defend the Vegas metro cops without a great deal of evidence:

              1. Looks like nothing happened afterward. No video for the incident, and the police story was rather different from eye witnesses, but Qualified Immunity. Also looks like the place is staffed by Karens. Sigh.
                Rechecks Sam’s Club locations. Double sigh.

                1. “Qualified immunity” is one of those legal concepts that has outstayed its welcome. It needs to go.

                  The entire concept violates the common law; you have a privileged party favored de jure by the court, and no legal means of defense against their accusation.

                  Any justification the concept once had is surely defunct in the age of cop-cams and uniquitous surveillance.

                  1. I can see a need for a limited sort of qualified immunity; cops do sometimes need to make quick decisions with scant information, and shouldn’t be punished for honest mistakes. I have, for example, NO sympathy for anyone over the age of nine who points a realistic looking fake gun at a cop.

                    But no qualified immunity case should provoke a “what the f*ck was that cop thinking” reaction.

    3. Buying a pressure canner for exactly that reason. Fortunately, I’m *good* at soup.

      1. Don’t can soup! Can stock as thick as you can make it; you can thin it out to soup when you open it later.

              1. Lead. Mercury. Arsenic. Lithium… etc.

                All naturally occurring soup ingredients that are double-plus ungood for Top Chef.

                Did you know that in China, where the local municipal water can be… interesting, let’s say, every building and house has a solar distillation unit on the roof. Because you can’t get metals out of water by filtering.

            1. My folks keep ready-to-eat progresso soup in the car because 1) the cans don’t pop when frozen, and 2) water may not be available.

  9. I was thinking about this the other day. Most people in our country are only very indirectly involved in the production of “necessities,” so it’s easy enough to think that they aren’t involved, and what they do isn’t essential. But…

    My husband is a disk drive engineer. One of his company’s clients is Amazon. As in the people we’re counting on to deliver essentials to virtually everyone in the country. Your order for diabetic test strips may be stored on a drive that he designed. He can work from home, so the essential/non-essential distinction doesn’t matter in his case, but if he couldn’t, I doubt it would have occurred to any bureaucrat that he’s on the essential side of the divide.

    1. Some years ago Bill Whittle had a bit (text) about some of what it took to put on some show (awards show?) and how some could NOT watch it – if they did, there would not BE the show. Sure, the coal (or uranium) miner might be able to watch… but the folks watching over the generating stations? They need to watch the meters, etc. And that was, of course, just one tiny example.

      1. That’s not a game. It’s a social modeling program for how the world would work if we had greater physiological differences between races, limited technology levels, and tossed in magic.
        Yep, world works the same because it’s full of PEOPLE.

        1. I liked the “Global Thermonuclear War” game better…”

          BTW, I just finished talking to me doc on the phone. He made a comment about “your precious bodily fluids.”

          “Oh, you know that movie too?”

          “I can quote the whole thing from memory.”

          Yeah, I think New Doc and I are going to get along just fine…

  10. Excellent reasoning & points, Vicki!
    Our economy, our nation, our world – it all runs on interrelated cogs – if enough of them jam, the machine stops. Ultimately, everything is essential.
    Your argument goes far enough for anyone willing to think beyond “but there’s a virus out there!” to see it, without adding in all the “unforseen” (by short-sighted people) psychological and economic impacts of leaving people unable to earn a living. Idle hands are the devil’s playground, and the road to hell is paved with… (no matter what your concept of hell or the devil is.)
    Thanx for the post!

    1. You’re welcome! Been thinking about this for a while.

      Disengaging the supply chain from China was always going to be difficult. That seems to be happening now by popular demand, regardless of government action. We didn’t need another shock piled on top of that one. But we got it anyway.

  11. Does anybody know if vitamin D deficiency is widespread in China? Because that is one of the strongest links to Wu Kung Flu mortality that has been found. Would explain why the virus was so much more deadly in China than anywhere else.

      1. It can be… complicated.

        One of the studies that was part of my training in med-bio-anthropology (yes, it’s part of the degree. We do strange things as anthropologists) dealt with vitamin deficiencies in parts of Southern China. Niacin deficiency (and its precursor amino acid, tryptophan) was endimic in a lot of the little coastal towns that were being studied. So that was part of the study. Couldn’t really figure out why.

        Their food was naturally high in B3. Fish. Rice. So why the constant deficiency symptoms?

        Turns out, the rotting fish paste (yes, really) that nearly all the people used on their meals was eating up all the niacin, causing the deficiency.

        When you’re looking at vitamin deficiencies, it can come from strange sources. Yes, the pollution is definitely going to be a factor. Couldn’t say for sure if its the main one, though.

      2. A friend of my son told me one day when he was back home (he taught Chinese youth in Beiping that pollution there never ever did the smog go over 250PPM…by decree of the CCP.

    1. In addition to no sun exposure from working all day in a sweatshop or factory, yeah, I can see how vitamin D deficiency could be nearly universal.

  12. Lots of smog, lots of smoking, I gather, and probably a poor diet. Oh, and once people get sick, literally imprison them in their apartments so they can’t get any sun. Plus how many people there even know about Vitamin D and how to get it?

  13. One reason death toll so high in China is that appears to be where the virus originated. Viruses attenuate in passage through hosts, becoming less virulent with multiple passages. This is a process used to create many vacines. And probably explains lower virulence in fly over country where it took longer to reach.

    1. Viruses “in general” attenuate in passage through hosts. Occasionally, they go the opposite direction and become even more virulent. It all depends on the equation of how fast it kills the host, how many new potential hosts he comes in contact with, transmission vector, and contagiousness. (and a couple of other lesser factors be that’s it in a nutshell.) The real nightmare was the possibility of a high mortality corona virus being caught by someone who also had a highly contagious flu virus and having the combine in the zero patient host to form an even more deadly virus.

      1. Also population density, time of year, average humidity, cultural factors (don’t kiss the dead guy on the mouth) et cetera. Airborne transmission + persists on surfaces + moderate to high lethality = a bad time.

  14. The thing is, central planning has always been the core of government, all the way back to Tribal days. In some ways, it works. War goes better with a central command, unless the commander is a fool. Central government can push for the completion of networks (such as rural electrification or railroads) that will benefit the society as a whole, but probably cannot be made to pay their way. Of course the problem with that is that the central government often continues to prop up the network long after its usefulness has passed; see the history of canals in the United States, or Amtrack.

    But central planning of general economic activity has usually been a disaster, whether by Kings, Mandarins, or Cabinet Ministers. The history of China, insofar as I know it, seems to be a long litany of dumb economic decisions by central Dynasties which lead to famine (and the eating of just about anything people could catch; hence bat soup).

    The Progressive Left lists because a whole class of people are convinced that being educated and having certificates makes them Better. Indeed, they cling to this idea, in large part because without it, they have few actual accomplishments. They firmly believe that they are suited to command the economy, when in fact they are almost completely unseated to do anything of the kind.

    1. But central planning of general economic activity has usually always been a disaster

      Had to fix that.

      An economy is an extremely complex system made up of millions of parts, and the parts are people. They can’t be controlled or modeled accurately, because you never know what they will do. Any central economic command will of necessity be itself a complex system made up of people, and will present similar control problems.

      The overall control issues scale exponentially with size. Central control over a single household works fairly well. Central control over a small town can be made to function. Go to a small city and competent, effective central control is impossible. There will be endless shortages and disruptions, excess production of items nobody wants, 300 people lined up to buy four refrigerators…

      The U.S. economy is complex beyond anybody’s comprehension, or any attempt at centralized control. There are thousands of feedback loops, each one branching out and affecting dozens of others. The only way it can work at all is through distributed local control, moderated by profit and demand. Every attempt to analyze it with computer models has failed dismally.
      “It’s only a model.”

      1. Centralized planning is a tool, and using a wrong tool in the wrong circumstances is worse than using an incorrect tool in the wrong circumstances.

        The trick of leadership, as much as authority, is knowing which tool set is needed and how to deploy the tools properly. Or improvise. Or adapt and overcome.

        Unfortunately, the Platonic ideal of Centralized Planning That Can Solve Any Problem has become a part of the Holy Trinity of the Socialist, along with the Infinite Human Perfection and Markets Can Be Controlled.

        1. It still all comes down to the desperate urge on the part of a large class of intelligentsia drones to Be Important. Which leads them to ignore all the past failures of their Ideal.

          They have been told all their lives that they Can Be Anything they want to, and have never faced the hard fact that to be something you need talent AND hard work. They took the easy courses in college, or picked paths for which they have no real talent, and so they are stuck…unless you can magically Be In Charge of the Bright New World.


        2. Its even worse now as the left thinks they can centrally plan and control weather, if only they are given enough power to control people’s lives.

      2. Somehow I want to set Loerner & Lowe’s songs into Monty Python’s madcap cinematics….

        A law was made a distant moon ago here…. (Says who? I never voted for you!)

      3. A project—with an end goal or end time, can and probably should be centrally directed. Economies, and businesses, are not projects, they are processes. Ongoing processes cannot be centrally directed or controlled. At least not if you want them to continue.

        The problem is certain people, mostly leftists, see the success of projects and think they can be expanded to make processes into projects with goals such as “equity” or “equality”. Neither of which are an equilibrium end state.

      1. *grin* More people should read Hayek. “Economics in One Lesson” should also be required reading for all public school students, and I would highly recommend it to anyone else with an interest in economics. It is more basic than Sowell or Smith or Mises, but a good entry into how economies work.

    2. People will do things that no sane programmer would EVER put into a computer model. Or even think of. And that is the final fatal flaw in every centrally planned ‘perfect’ system that is full of imperfect humans. It’s why the Founders designed a decentralized government, and why all the creeping centralization that has built up over the last 120 years has just made it worse and worse, and the leftists’ answer is MORE centralization!

      Every time you think you’ve made something foolproof, some damn fool comes along and proves you wrong!

  15. Come now, under the final stage of communism, the wood, graphite and rubber would spontaneously come together to form a pencil collective . . .

    1. Unfortunately the evidence of history indicate that under final stage Communism the wood, graphite, rubber, etc spontaneously head for the hills and take most of the food with them.

  16. for instance:

    yeast production is critical

    production of the little aluminum packets yeast is sold in is not

    RIP largest seller of yeast to private citizens.

    1. Heh. Just went to the grocery store last night. They’ve started putting some of their yeast (that they get in bulk for their bakery) into the little plastic containers that they have for small baked goods, and selling those on the otherwise empty yeast shelf.

      1. Color me astonished… putting yeast into little plastic containers to sell, no problemo. But someone had to create an SKU and a UPC for that, and someone had to update their sales and inventory software with the new numbers. That’s usually “comes down on stone tablets from Corporate” stuff, not something some random store manager can do on his own.

        The cost of efficiency is lack of flexibility. Grocery stores are all about efficiency…

        1. Probably use a deli code for “misc item”, or maybe the usually-for-odd-seasonal-stuff like “misc groc.” (say, individual chocolate dipped strawberries shaped like hearts) Most stores have something like that, the question is if anybody knows it.

          1. Places I’ve seen will generally print up a sheet of barcodes for each register, with whatever the oddballs of the week are. Given how cheap good xerographic printers have become, it would be a trivial process (I’m looking at the possibility of needing to replace my office printer, and have found factory-refurbished specimens of the model I have for a little over a hundred bucks), and could be done on a daily or even hourly basis if need be. I wouldn’t be surprised if it used less paper than the store’s back office already was printing.

      2. Same here. Safeway’s bakery department is repackaging their commercial bread flour, sugar, and yeast in reasonable sizes, with a sign on the regular shelf telling you where to find it. Which is nice, because while there was plenty of sugar and a few lonely bags of King Arthur Whole Wheat flour, I haven’t seen yeast on the shelf in weeks. Makes me really glad I still have half a pound of SAF Red in the freezer. Which, by the way, is going for at least 3x the normal price on eBay, and 3-30x on Amazon.


        1. Went to Meijer yesterday to pick up some things.

          They had plenty of TP (several brands) and plenty of Paper Towels (but only one brand not the house brand).

          I got the house brand TP but passed on the Paper Towels.

          1. Locally the TP is still in flux, but while brand is variable, supply overall is doing if not well, not bad. Paper towels have either returned to normal, or are approaching so. Now, if you want isopropanol, good luck.

        2. Most of the people I know in meatspace would starve if their food didn’t come prepackaged in microwaveable plastic.

          We seem to have a lot of people who still remember how to bake, or are willing to learn. Organizing a Twitter mob berating stores and commercial bakers, yes. Doing it themselves… maybe the rot isn’t as deep as I thought.

          1. I can bake just fine. Cooking, which SHOULD be easier, not so much. I took the Home Ec. clas, even. And that did a damn fine job of putting me off cooking. Damnit.

            1. I’m lucky. My late Mother determined early on that I would not leave her house not knowing how to cook. She started me on a simple chocolate sheet cake, with the proviso, ‘you made it, you get to eat it.’. Next we’re favorite dishes. When I went off to college I was a confident cook on a lot, and had the basics to learn more.

            2. Cooking is just like chemistry – you leave it on too long and there is fire!

            3. *grin* My grandma was a wise woman. She sat me down when I was still around eight or nine I think.

              “Grandson, I love you. But you’re entirely too stubborn to attract a wife. So. You’re going to learn to cook for yourself, or you’re going to starve.”

              I ain’t starved yet, thanks to grandma’s lessons.

  17. OK, degrees in Systems, Industrial, and Operations Research engineering. Forty odd years working in public and private industry. Over the course of years I’ve seen every new management technique trotted out, beaten into submission, then cast aside in favor of whatever new rules tickle the fancy of middle and upper management.
    The Japanese pioneered the JIT, or Just in Time manufacturing process. Dirty little secret, what it actually does is drive responsibility for maintaining inventory downstream from the primary manufacturing business to their suppliers and subcontractors. Whenever at some point in that chain someone goes to fetch an essential part and the cupboard is bare the entire process screeches to a halt.
    Funny story: I was evaluating a proposal for a new launch system, components to be manufactured in several areas of the country, transported to KSC, assembled on site, then launched from one of the pads at the cape. I noticed that they had made no provision for storage of spare engine or booster assemblies. Those were received and immediately inserted into the integration building. When I questioned the lack I was told that it was not an issue as they were using a JIT assembly process. Now here’s the rub, the primary component of the system was produced in Louisiana, to large for rail transport, so had to be barged through the Intercoastal waterway across the gulf, around the tip of Florida, then up to the cape. A two week trip through territory vulnerable in season to hurricanes and severe storms year round.
    My estimate was a weather vulnerability to their Just In Time idea measured in weeks to months.
    Needless to say they did not win the contract.
    Of course not long after that entire program was cancelled, not all that unusual during my years in gubmint service.

    1. Pa did some injection molding (machined his own molds, so could keep costs down and feedback close) and sold to a few local companies. One was… noted… for getting to ‘the last box’ (or through it) before calling for replenishment. It was to the point Pa realized that they could run a day or so on 1,000 pieces so with each order, he’d run an extra 1,000 and bag & box them and hold on to them. When the nigh-inevitable call came, he was ready. As their plant was a block or so from their local airport, in nicer weather Pa had a reason to go fly… and then, after delivery, immediately start on the the next order – it would come.

      1. Pa would have been smart to charge double or triple for expedited “unplanned” supply needs.

        1. Not sure if he did or not. Can’t ask now – ashes have been scattered at a grass-strip airport, which is as close as we could get to his Wishes – Haymeadow Field (John Hatz’s place) having been sold after a surface vehicle accident.

  18. Hah! I see what you’re doing! Just as Joe Biden foresaw, y’all want to put us back in chains!!!

    Well, it ain’t gonna work! We’ve broken those “supply chains” and you ain’t never gonna reforge them!

    1. “They want to put you back in chains!” is Progressive Projection.

      A Southern [antebellum, slave-worked] farm is the beau ideal of Communism; it is a joint concern, in which the slave consumes more than the master, of the coarse products, and is far happier, because although the concern may fail, he is always sure of a support; he is only transferred to another master to participate in the profits of another concern; he marries when he pleases, because he knows he will have to work no more with a family than without one, and whether he live or die, that family will he taken care of; he exhibits all the pride of ownership, despises a partner in a smaller concern, “a poor man’s negro,” boasts of “our crops, horses, fields and cattle;”, and is as happy as a human being can be.

      – George Fitzhugh, Sociology for the South: or, The failure of free society

      Progressive Democratic-party views have mutated over the past two centuries, but they haven’t changed very much. “Why can’t you put us in charge and just be happy?”

  19. Got the Stimulus Check today, deposited it. And there was much rejoicing (yay.)

    I don’t give the government access to my bank account. If they want to steal my money, they have to work as hard as any other scammer.

    MORE stores are demanding masks. I give ’em The Finger and walk out. WTF, O? If there had ever been a reason to panic, it was too late to panic when the panic STARTED!

    It’s all theater and signaling. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

    Food4Less (owned by Kroger) did not demand masks, had no ‘ONE WAY’ signs in the aisles. Also had no pancake mix, which has been out for a month. What goes into pancake mix that is ‘not essential’?
    Bring out yer dead!

    1. Probably the bag, or the method of holding the bag closed. (String? Glue?) Or a valve on the machine that packages it, or a gasket, or seal, or computer chip, or . . .

      1. I usually buy the store brand, in a cardboard box with a heat-sealed plastic bag inside. Used to buy Krusteaz in a huge 7-pound paper bag, but they don’t carry that any more.

        1. If it’s WalMart, they’re plastic and in the same area as the emergency food and the institution sized cans now, at least in the last three or four I saw it at.

          The ones that have the “hey if you use our stuff for a fund raiser, we’ll refund half the price!” ad on the side, right?

    2. I don’t give the government access to my bank account. If they want to steal my money, they have to work as hard as any other scammer.

      Right on! If they want that information, they can ask the NSA for it!

    3. I don’t give the government access to my bank account. If they want to steal my money, they have to work as hard as any other scammer.

      I am not rightly able to comprehend the level of naivete which could provoke such a statement.

        1. Abrasive and young, trying to work things out in his head.

          Please keep in mind that it’s me calling him abrasive, so adjust your meter accordingly….

            1. Doesn’t everyone here have some quality (or lack thereof, yes…) turned up past 11?

              What mine might be “is left as an exercise for the reader.”

              1. Ha! I have several we had to add paper to the chart to get on there. You see the bell curve, then three more sheets and an X waaay out there on the right…

              2. Everyone? Hardly.

                I am dead-on normal in all parameters. But I have noticed a great many outliers out lying around me.

                1. Normal, é? As in consistent for yourself, or consistent with regards to other sapients? 😀

                  1. I am the standard from which all deviation is measured.

                    Even among wallabies I am recognized as the wallabyest of them all.

            2. Depends on the scale, doesn’t it?

              I’m fully aware that I have an impressive skill at identifying folks’ soft points. Usually by stepping on them.

              On the other hand, I’ve also identified that I flag folks’ “easy to manipulate by bulling over” flag. Which use to be true, because of point one…..

            1. I don’t know. I’m considering doing it.
              And it’s not for no reason whatsoever. It’s because it might delay my time of running out the door screaming “Freedom!” another week or so.

              1. Sorry, but our betters have decided otherwise. We should not question the wisdom of those who are so obviously wiser than us mere mortals.

                1. You’ve heard from the dolphins?!? The only people I’m hearing orders from a politicians and the intelligentsia, who are only slightly wiser then slime mold.

              2. Oh, hell Sarah, go ahead and blow up at me for any reason or none; it’s part of my day job anyway.

                Meanwhile, I’m sitting here contemplating someone I’ve gamed with for 40 years reacting to me posting this on FB by informing me that “Anyone whose first priority is ‘protect the economy’ deserves a good house burning.”


                1. Too bad he didn’t say “should be fired,” it would be *completely* perfect for demonstrating he’s being an idiot.

                  1. He’s working on his second career at the state of Alabama, so he’s drawing a pension and a salary. He feels immune to the economy; he’s been saying for years that his pension will have to be paid because the courts will order it done, even if they have to order taxes raised, because a legal contract says so. He refuses to admit that there are any circumstances other than deliberate bad faith and selfishness that would produce that result.

                    He’s childless, as far as I know has no spouse or even lover, doesn’t even have any family alive…….

                    Oh, and he’s also an author; has actually had short stories published. It’s not bad work in the dystopian genre either.

                    But he’s perfectly demonstrating that we have two sides in this country who don’t even share a common reality. How do they share a country? Especially when one side is specifically dedicated to taking over the world and ruthlessly NOT leaving it alone?

                    My “neo-Nazism”, alt-rightism, Robespierreism, call it what you will, stems from that realization. Even if the Left says they’ll leave us alone, it’s a lie, because if they could, they wouldn’t be the Left anymore.

                    1. Yeah, me too. And my friend isn’t stupid; I suspect he’s aware of the possibility and is screaming “Lalalalalala” as a result.

                    2. It’s not bad work in the dystopian genre either.


                      ANY work in the “dystopian genre” is automatically bad. Some is Even Worse. Most, really.

                    3. there are some great works about dystopias. they usually involve people getting out of them.

            2. *wry* That’s actually a really good example; you’ll be doing the polka on folks’ shins, and when they react, you can’t figure out the reason. With diagrams…..

        2. Just astounded that someone could live in the US 1. after the Patriot Act, 2. after Snowden, while 3. believing the government doesn’t know their US bank account number.

          1. Number does not equal access. They would have to work at it, like any other scammer.

            1. Probably harder than a scammer. Imagine some tax department weenie trying to get your bank account number out of the NSA. It would be easier to rob the bank. Not because the NSA is so noble and protecting your rights, but because they have procedures. And forms. Lots of forms.

                1. Bwaha, you made me laugh out loud. ~:D

                  But speaking of making things inconvenient for weenies, have you seen this thing yet?

                  It links to a detailed explanation of the Obama Shenanigans that led to the Russia!Russia!Russia!!! “investigation”. TL/DR, from 2012 forward 82% of the data requests to NSA from “contractors” were illegal, aka there was no FISA warrant. March 6th, 2016, the NSA closed the database to contractors. The Russia!Russia!Russia!!! investigation was the reaction, they needed to get their access back. So they sold the FISA court a blind pig, and went back at it.

                  And now they are freaking the hell out. Barry and Hill could be in deep doodoo here. The very deepest. I’m going to buy a big bag of popcorn. >:D

    4. I think the local store is slowly getting the pancake mix in again, long enough for some to remain on the shelves for a while. Admittedly I do not it pay it much attention. It seemed as soon as the schools closed, it was gone. Evidently a ‘cheap & easy’ breakfast or such (what was breakfast when school was on?) for the homebound kids.

      1. Pancakes are a really good “bonding” type breakfast– it can take the kids an hour to eat, rather than ten minutes, and if they’re older you can teach THEM to do it.

      2. Making your own pancake mix isn’t exactly rocket surgery, you know…

        You could even print out your own picture and stick it on the side of a repurposed box!

        1. Except I am trying (not always succeeding) at that low-carb thing to help ‘reduce my tonnage’ – and to get the pancakes I really desire, I’d need to hard-to-find buckwheat flour.

          1. Excuse; buckwheat flour is hard to find? Both Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Flour sell a version. Both brands are widely available in my area. I haven’t tried the Buckwheat Flours specifically, but I have used products from both brands with complete satisfaction.

            1. I might be able to find buckwheat flour. Finding a buckwheat mix seems all but hopeless. Yes, there is online. At ridiculous price. Or a not too bad price and really ridiculous “shipping.”

            2. Here in Hooterville Ontario, flour and yeast were two of the first things after toilet paper to vanish from shelves. Because farm country, everybody knows how to bake. I note that you can still get chips, as much as you want. Our supply chain is very wrong, I think.

              As things re-normalize, the Phantom will be laying in:
              1) Flour
              2) yeast
              3) sugar
              4) rice
              5) beans, lentils, peas, all that stuff that never goes bad.
              6) dried fruit if I can find some that keeps a long time.

              You can go a whole winter if you have that stuff and a wood stove.

              Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

          2. Making flapjacks with cottage cheese added helps slow the carb uptake and is quite edible (wallabies do not like cottage cheeses and yet I found such fritters remarkably unobjectionable.) A local establishment offers corn meal batter cakes with chili which go VERY well together.

        2. I haven’t made up pancakes from a mix since…. before “high school”.

      3. You use MIX? those aren’t pancakes, those are… inedible!!

        Simple, simple recipe from any decent cookbook, takes no longer than mix and tastes SOOOOO much better.

        1. Edible enough for ox. If ox could tell the difference (unsure – would NEED side-by-side comparison) then IFF you are correct would ruin taste and add complexity to life. Ox not only slow, ox also SIMPLE.

          1. Have done; got better results with the mix. Got best results with the home-made hack of adding twice the egg for waffles (main thing we use it for), which last time I looked at home made pancake mixes they have eggs in the pancake, while the mix doesn’t require that.

    5. Gov’t has your bank account info already.

      I have proof of this: State of California decided that because I was paying a mortgage of N-much, I must have unreported income of X-much, and TOOK $1700 from my bank account with no notice, having never been ‘given access’ to said account. [When I complained that no, I had no such income and was paying the mortgage from savings, I was told tough tooties, we decided and there is no appeal.]

  20. LEAN and Just-in-time did not have unforseeable consequences. I, and many others (here and elsewhere), could see clearly that that kind of inventory management was a disaster in the making for the next disaster. And Deep Lurker is right, Congress knew it, and could and should have thrown that regulation in the dumpster decades ago, if not for their own greed, selfishness, and outright laziness.

    When someone chides me about “not looking at the big picture”, I just want to haul off and smack them upside the head with a 4×4; or better yet, change a critical pixel on as many of their important documents as I can.

  21. … nobody actually knows everything it takes to make a pencil.

    I know a guy who does! Artisanally hand-crafted pencils, perfect for gifts.

    If you have to ask the price you can’t afford them.

  22. Completely off topic, but every time I see this guy, I think of Milady Hostess, and now, he has his own YT channel. only 3 videos so far.
    What else does a Dandy Tailor do in Quarantine while recovering from a broken elbow?

  23. What makes advertising an ‘essential function’?

    I still can’t get a haircut, but I have seen at least 50 new TV ads in the last month. Don’t try to tell me they were made before the Wu Kung Flu panic because they are all ABOUT the panic! Most of them are not ‘public service’ ads either; they are from Amazon, GrubHub, and other Eeeevul Corporations.

        1. Which is what I was hinting at. And you keep saying “Ox slow.” Maybe so, but you do get there in the end.

        2. I suppose some public interest research groups are monitoring campaign donations … not that I think any of those dedicated politicians can be bought.

          Rented, maybe, but not bought.

  24. This “for want of a nail” effect comes up a lot in wartime, sometimes in places very far from any actual fighting.

    One of the things that cooled that initial (and now insane-sounding) pro-war sentiment the fastest back in the years of the Civil War Between The States was the draft, and the way it pulled sometimes-essential people out of the local “supply chain” or web of arts and skills (or in Vernor Vinge’s wonderful SF phrase, “industrial ecology.”) Especially in the CSA with its earlier and deeper and less equitable draft, most especially in states like North Carolina where not many could afford to (basically) hire someone else to stand their “required” term in the military for them.

    No miller, no baker, no blacksmith — does not make for a prosperous or happy village. Or soon, even a particularly livable one.

    How much are we doing this, have already done this, right now? The scary but correct answer seems to be, best I can tell… nobody really knows, yet.

    More and more to me as time and events go on, this entire anti-coronavirus action displays ever more of the hallmarks of one of those enthusiastic but ill-planned military interventions (often but not always American). The “mission creep” — from “Fifteen days to slow the spread” with overt recognition it could not be expected to diminish the total number of deaths, to “We cannot re-open until we have a vaccine!” (and X% of the state has taken/been forced to take it, too?). The lack, except at the very beginning and perhaps now again quite recently, of either a set “victory condition” or an “exit strategy” lending any predictability or plannability (rather than existential “no exit” vagueness) to the whole affair. The way that effort itself seems to become an end in itself, with little explanation or motivation for that (beyond “but people will DIEE!!!”). And yet we seem to “fight” on (led by that same civilian “command” that started by issuing demands and threats) through an ever-thicker fog — never mind newer and better information, treatments/preventives like chloro-quinine, etc.

    If America had ever announced a draft of, say, 10% of the population during the Vietnam (or even, say, Korean) War, the immediate result would likely have been something very like a national mutiny; even the immediate aftermath of the bloody 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil might not have tolerated any such thing.

    And yet we now have something like 11% new virus-unemployed, by the latest (lagging and likely also undercounted) statistics. Drafted to idleness, usually by Constitutionally-questionable (as in likely-illegal) state “executive orders.”

    Meanwhile, Karen Hysteric and Joey Jackboot screech and shout merrily on.

    Past time now to fully re-start at least a few states.

    If nothing else, to prove we still can. (Cross your fingers…)

  25. [2nd try, typo tripped the moderation filter, sigh.]

    This “for want of a nail” effect comes up a lot in wartime, sometimes in places very far from any actual fighting.

    One of the things that cooled that initial (and now insane-sounding) pro-war sentiment the fastest back in the years of the Civil War Between The States was the draft, and the way it pulled sometimes-essential people out of the local “supply chain” or web of arts and skills (or in Vernor Vinge’s wonderful SF phrase, “industrial ecology.”) Especially in the CSA with its earlier and deeper and less equitable draft, most especially in states like North Carolina where not many could afford to (basically) hire someone else to stand their “required” term in the military for them.

    No miller, no baker, no blacksmith — does not make for a prosperous or happy village. Or soon, even a particularly livable one.

    How much are we doing this, have already done this, right now? The scary but correct answer seems to be, best I can tell… nobody really knows, yet.

    More and more to me as time and events go on, this entire anti-coronavirus action displays ever more of the hallmarks of one of those enthusiastic but ill-planned military interventions (often but not always American). The “mission creep” — from “Fifteen days to slow the spread” with overt recognition it could not be expected to diminish the total number of deaths, to “We cannot re-open until we have a vaccine!” (and X% of the state has taken/been forced to take it, too?). The lack, except at the very beginning and perhaps now again quite recently, of either a set “victory condition” or an “exit strategy” lending any predictability or plannability (rather than existential “no exit” vagueness) to the whole affair. The way the effort itself seems to become an end in itself, with little explanation or motivation for that (beyond “but people will DIEE!!!”). And yet we seem to “fight” on (led by the same civilian “command” that started by issuing demands and threats) through an ever-thicker fog — never mind newer and better information, treatments/preventives like chloro-quinine, etc.

    If America had ever announced a draft of, say, 10% of the population during the Vietnam (or even, say, Korean) War, the immediate result would likely have been something very like a national mutiny; even the immediate aftermath of the bloody 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil might not have tolerated any such thing.

    And yet we now have something like 11% new virus-unemployed, by the latest (lagging and likely also undercounted) statistics. Drafted to idleness, usually by Constitutionally-questionable (as in likely-illegal) state “executive orders.”

    Meanwhile, Karen Hysteric and Joey Jackboot screech and shout merrily on.

    Past time now to fully re-start at least a few states.

    If nothing else, to prove we still can. (Cross your fingers…)

  26. Many American readers will be aware of recent shortages of personal weapons and ammunition.

    Demand for such products was significantly elevated from 2008 to 2016. 😀

  27. Went to the store this morning and by chance met the meat dept. manager who off clock and just shopping. It’s already happening. Not only are they limiting to 4 packages at the register (but the meat counter will wrap multiple into one to bypass that – guess how I know…) he related that his prices for the next shipment have his costs exceeding the current tag prices. If you have a freezer… get right to it.

    1. If you live in an area with a local kosher or halal butcher, you can try those; they basically have their own separate supply chains because of religious requirements and the meat is usually good quality; no pork obviously, but you can get beet, lamb, etc.

      1. I need to figure out where to get chicken hearts. Not gizzards, hearts. See, older son is very fond of rodizio’s chicken heart kabobs. If things were normal, we’d take him out to celebrate graduation (even though husband and I are a sunk cost at rodizio as we don’t eat nearly enough. BUT kid gets chicken hearts.) HOWEVER since not, and I’ve found a copycat recipe, I’d like to make him some to celebrate.

    2. Our local butcher has long term links with the Amish farmers in PA. You can still get decent cuts, bit more expensive than had been. In supermarket nothing but filet and Chuck at stupid prices.

      I think the supply chains are adjusting but it’s better to do business, and have done business, with smaller merchants since they’re more nimble.

  28. While the original post posits, correctly, that nearly all “legal” jobs are actually “essential”, chances are that so are a fair number of the “illegal” ones. While some are jobs outlawed for “morals” reasons, others are “black market” jobs. For example, I expect an upsurge in the moving of meat and dairy products from farm to consumer without various USDA inspection steps shortly, “black market” providers of such things — such jobs are essential, but illegal.

    1. Which means we’re going to get a Gods of the Copybook Headings smack over the head for why things are illegal. Hopefully not too many innocents get hurt.

      My husband got a call yesterday afternoon from the guy we buy our beef from– co-worker that has the hobby farm as his retirement plan, basically.

      He always uses the same butcher, has a good relationship, so the butcher contacted him to schedule how many and when, and it had to be for pickup in IIRC June because if he couldn’t take that slot for the 1-10 cows, the next opening was January. He had until the end of the day to contact the other guys who were farting around about if they were going to buy or not and get a decision by the end of the day.

      (Our response was “not only are we in for that half cow we asked about, if you have ANY TROUBLE AT ALL evening out the total we’re willing to buy to make an even number of halves. Which apparently made it easier to get the other guys to buy in, because ten minutes later we got a confirmation on our half a cow.)

  29. Considerably off today’s/yesterday’s topic; but based directly on a recent remark here by Sarah (which I knew would end up this way, pretty much as soon as I read it). Please note that, like vignettes, I haven’t fact-checked any of the references here, so some may be a little off, at least for our timeline…

    Classics Corner

    Handmaiden of an Invisible Sun

    Karl Marx (1879)

    Thrill to the adventures of plucky heroine Kara Faulkner, as she helps rescue a decadent future Britain from the evil clutches of its Grasping Capitalist Class! Bask in the wisdom of the Highly Evolved Altruistic Aliens who help her and a close circle of friends and fellow-travellers bring about the Only Right Result!

    No, it’s not quite as bad as the above (adapted a bit broadly from some advert copy/gushing reviews of the time) might suggest; but you do need to have rather a high threshold-of-pain tolerance for, shall we say, radical political mumbo-jumbo in this book. Worse than most of Wells (though his portrayal of his Eloi as the logical end result of way too much Universal Basic Income for far too long is comparable), as bad as the worst of George Griffiths (about which enough said already, eh?), enough to make Verne’s few ventures near the political fade into invisibility — this entire book has less human, humane, workaday how-people-really-live sense in it than the average short story (or even one-page poem) by Rudyard Kipling. (“As Easy as ABC” for one example would leave it coughing fecklessly in the dust.) Even a few early American SF writers, like London and Crane, put Marx deeply in their shadow there.

    But his characters, including oddly enough the non-human ones, and even many of their devices and principles and settings, are far more convincingly drawn. Stilted and “scripted” as some of their actions and (especially) words and narrated thoughts often tend to come across to a modern reader, there is a remarkable undercurrent of optimism and sense of wonder; as if, despite all our foibles, we shall almost inevitably overcome all that dragging weight and make “a new heaven and a new earth” in league (as the book says more than once, perhaps a bit too often) with some distant yet ever nearer future.

    There I must except the one chapter, “On Capital” — which in its own unique (and thankfully, inimitable) way actually manages to be worse than Melville’s infamous encyclopaedia-article chapter on whales. At least Melville did manage to get his facts (far as I know) more or less right; Marx’ foray inro political economy is not so fortunate. (It’s as if he spent endless days in the British Library learning about it, so as to get it all perfectly backward.)

    “First Men in the Moon” it’s not. Far less another “Round the World In 80 Days” or “The Time Machine” — I’d really have to recommend, for instance, Griffiths’ “The Angel of the Revolution” instead, if you can stomach the oddball political theory (which is actually less believable than Wells’ “Cavorite” is in context of modern relativity theory, and that’s going a fair distance). But if you like your pulpy classic adventure SF with a red-speckled overdose of political cayenne pepper — Marx’s second published novel might be just the thing for you.

    Richenda Dark,
    F&SF Seen From Down Under contributing editor.

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