I'm too much with myself I wanna be someone else

The distancing we had achieved is now being sacrificed for the dollar

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The mayor of Las Vegas wants to open up the casinos and the hotels as soon as possible. In one of the more let us call it memorable appearances on television in quite some time Carolyn Goodman last night offered up the citizens of her city as a “control group” to see what happens when all of the expert advice about social distancing is ignored. I suppose taking a gamble like that is appropriate given where she lives. Fuck it why not?

Asked by Anderson Cooper why she was pushing for opening up despite medical guidance she said uh… capitalism can defeat the disease (?)

“I am not a private owner. That’s the competition in this country, the free enterprise and to be able to make sure that what you offer the public meets the needs of the public,” she said. “Right now, we’re in a crisis healthwise, and so for a restaurant to be open or a small boutique to be open, they better figure it out. That’s their job. That’s not the mayor’s job.”

Later on when Cooper pressed her on whether or not she herself would be down on the casino floors working if they were to reopen she sputtered and deflected before saying “I have a family” that she has to cook for every night so …no.

That is of course not just the subtext but now the explicit text of all of these pushes for people to get back to work from Republicans and the so-called protesters around the country. It’s not that they want to get back to work it’s that they want other people to get back to working for them and if those people get sick fuck em haul in the next batch.

On top of that some of the states like Georgia and Tennessee saying they’re going to open back up asap are hoping to shift the blame for failing businesses from themselves to the owners. If the government is telling people they can’t open and people suffer that is the government’s fault but if they say you can open and you still suffer well then that’s just good old fashioned market at work and it’s on you bitches.

On top of that part two governments won’t have to spend so much on helping people who are out of work through no fault of their own if those people refuse to go to a job that is technically there waiting for them as this fine Daily Beast piece on local business owners in Georgia stressing out about governor Kemp’s decision to reopen this week points out.

The future of unemployment is now completely up in the air, experts and local leaders said. Workers whose restaurants, salons, or theaters reopen may be presented with a stark choice: return to work or risk losing benefits.

Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project, a liberal research group, suggested workers may have to argue they face a “specific threat” to avoid returning to work and still collect unemployment. That is, it may not be enough to have general concerns about contracting the coronavirus.

“It’s a matter of legal opinion and that’s totally my concern,” Evermore said, adding that the state “can definitely deny” benefits for workers who choose not to return to work at businesses that reopen.

Please feel free to contrast Goodman and Kemp and other Republicans’ style of leadership with that of the Insane Clown Posse. As always their aesthetic here is a nightmare but the message is uplifting.

Please watch this to the end.

I can't quite put my finger on it exactly but there's something so grim to me about watching these shitty Republican governors holding press conferences and saying go get your hair done and die for it etc while also going through the trouble of enacting a sort of perverted inclusiveness theater by having a sign language guy there while they say it. I guess people with hearing loss gotta go die on the capitalism pyre too.

Speaking of our essential heroes/cannon fodder I checked back in with our grocery worker at a store in California to see how things have developed in the past couple weeks. Here’s what he told me.

Things have continued to be interesting for sure. Since we last spoke, we have been informed on three separate occasions that three of our coworkers have tested positive for the virus. The first time, the regional manager came down to the deliver the news in person. The second time, just our GM. The third time, just a message in our scheduling app inbox. You would think this would've resulted in a temporary closure, but it didn't. We were fed some data about the last time each individual was in the building versus how long the virus can live on different surfaces and how long it takes for symptoms to kick in etc, and how the disparity between all those numbers meant we didn't need to close. So we kept going in. Frankly, it felt like it was about optics.

We had a few stores go down in NY, MD, NJ, and WA, but it seemed like they were doing everything they could to not have a California store close. We're now required by the county to wear masks, which is fine and obviously good but still physically sucks. Many of our people that had taken that initial offer of voluntary (unpaid) medical leave have had to return since their AR dried up. AR is our accrued combination of vacation and sick time. These people, most with pre-existing conditions, were taking this precautionary time off on their own dime. My father-in-law had $2,000 built up to one day take a real vacation. It’s all gone now and he's back to work. No other choice.

We are receiving “hazard pay” of $2 on every hour, meaning I'm currently making $21.75 instead of my usual $19.75. Cool? Yes. Enough? Probably not, but I wasn't raised to look a gift horse in the mouth (fucking Irish Catholicism). This increase shakes out to be about $100 extra per check, $200 per month total. Like I said, probably not enough.

All of this said, we as a specific store are still doing a remarkable job when it comes to sanitation and morale. I really couldn't be prouder to be working with these people who are showing up every day despite the heightened anxiety and overwhelming shift-dread we're experiencing. Also, to my GM's credit, he's been covertly going in and comping people's call-outs. That is, if someone communicates they just need a mental day, he goes in and makes sure it's paid. Which rules.

However, our main problem right now is an email that just came down from corporate last week regarding sales. Since we are keeping lines outside and limiting the number of customers in the store, sales have dropped to half of what they were. Apparently, that is no longer acceptable, and we are being encouraged to stuff more people into the store at a time than a lot of us are comfortable with. Our sanitation is still top-notch, but the distancing we had achieved is now being sacrificed for the dollar. I frankly don't get it, seeing as we open so many new stores a year, and a simple moratorium on opening new stores for a year or two would save so much capital. I don't know.

Me neither buddy!

Some of the country’s biggest banks prioritized delivering funds from the $349 billion aid program set aside for “small businesses” to their richest clients. JPMorgan Chase and Citibank and U.S. Bank provided a sort of concierge service for their preferred clients the New York Times reported. They helped them skip ahead in what was supposed to be a first come first served basis and avoid the often janky online portals that regular fucking assholes had to use instead. Of course they did you don’t need reporting to tell you this but now we know. Among the recipients of the aid were this fucking guy.

According to the Dallas Morning news that number is actually closer to $60 million for companies in Bennett’s hotel empire. That makes them the recipient of more money than any other public company in the country. Bennett is as you will be entirely shocked to hear a major Trump donor. Here I was debating whether or not it’s ethical for me to attempt to apply for unemployment due to losing a lot of freelance work and paid subscriptions here and facing a questionable few months ahead while not being entirely destitute as of yet because I was worried I might take it from someone else who needs it more. I guess that’s why I’m a fucking loser blogger and not a hotel magnate. You don’t become a billionaire by leaving a single dollar on the table baby.

The entire shutdown of the country is of course a genius plot by people like myself in the media all designed to make Mr. Trump look bad. Never mind that our entire industry is crumbling and everyone is out of work this is all going exactly as we planned.

If you can spare a couple bucks to throw at this project my old restaurant industry pals Beth and Sara are putting together it would be appreciated. They’re providing home-cooked dinners for frontline healthcare workers caring for coronavirus patients.

I, I really want to go out
I really want to go outside and stop to see your day
You, you really want to hole up
You really want to stay inside and sleep the light away

I, I think it's good to go out
'Cause if you don't you'll never make a memory that will stay
I, I think that you should wake up
I think I want to live my life and you're just in my way

When I spoke to my man at Media Matters the other day who watches Fox News every morning for work he said the top story on the network was still hydroxychloroquine the supposed miracle cure that Trump and all of the big network personalities were sure was going to be a “game-changer” as the president called it. Media Matters compiled a timeline of the stunning number of times it was mentioned on Fox News. In the two weeks between March 23 and April 6 the drug was promoted nearly 300 times they found. Most ardent among them was Laura Ingraham who said that “there are stories of people saying that they've had this Lazarus effect by using this drug.” Ingraham reportedly brought “two doctors who had appeared on her show to the White House to discuss the drug with Trump directly.”

Trump who mentioned it fifty times during his David Lynchian press conferences said of the drug “what have you got to lose?”

So confident was Trump in the cure that he reportedly dismissed Dr. Rick Bright from his role as the director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority because he had demanded rigorous testing of the drug before presenting it as a solution. The administration has been putting “politics and cronyism ahead of science” Bright said which no shit they are but it’s still helpful to hear someone on the inside say it.

But now following a few tests with alarming results Trump and Fox News have shut the fuck up about hydroxychloroquine for the most part. “A study released this week on 368 male Veterans Affairs patients with the disease showed that the death rate among those given the drug, both in combination with another drug and alone, was higher than for those who were not,” according to the Washington Post. “Researchers also said its use made no difference in the need for ventilators.”

Another study, released by French researchers last week, offered more discouraging clues. It found no statistically significant difference in the death rates among 181 covid-19 patients who had taken hydroxychloroquine within 48 hours of being admitted to a hospital and those who hadn’t. The study also highlighted dangerous side effects; eight developed arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythms, and had to stop taking it.

Naturally Trump’s flogging of the drug brought about shortages for people who actually need it for treatment for Lupus and other diseases. Trump hasn’t mentioned it in well over a week now and it’s all but disappeared from Fox News’s coverage so never mind all that I guess.

There's still some of the same stuff we got yesterday.
There's still some of the same stuff we got yesterday,

I'm too much with myself,
I wanna be someone else.
I'm too much with myself,
I wanna be someone else.
I'm too much with myself,
I wanna be someone else.

After my interview with our postal carrier correspondent the other day a reader named Annie wrote in with some thoughts about the erosion of the reliable middle class job in this country that I appreciated.

…This particular bit about the Postal Service has been a thing I have been thinking about a lot lately. Part of the thing helping me get through this crisis is that even though my partner was laid off and I was forced to take a big pay cut I do have a little bit of money in a savings account due to my grandfather having passed away two years ago. We didn't even know he had money, and then he died and it turned out he had a little chunk of cash squirreled away for my mom and aunt and cousins and me. Not like “shit, we're rich now” or “wow I can buy a house now” money, but enough to matter.

He got that money working as a letter carrier for over forty years, putting away little bits of it and also buying a truly insane amount of bonds, because I guess the Postal Service did a thing where you could take out $20 of your paycheck as a bond so that $20 would be a lot more in 25 years. My mom and aunt also worked for the Postal Service for many years, and all of them were active in the union. My grandfather grew up in shit apartments in a shit city with a shit immigrant childhood, but with a respectable, steady, union job at the Post Office, was able to claw his way up to middle class. As a result I got to grow up in a pretty nice house in the suburbs and also go to fancy asshole college, partially because working for the Post Office made all that American Dream shit come true for most of my family.

I feel weirdly very sad about this, that this also is an opportunity that has withered up and disappeared. You absolutely should be able to work as a postal employee without a college degree and be able to save up enough money so that your grandkid has a few extra grand in an account to help weather a pandemic after you shuffle off this mortal coil. That seems like a basic dignity, the level of “wealth” that every “blue collar” job should be able to provide. When I see the Postal Service being gutted that's what I see: stripping that dignity away from other people who just want to work forty hours a week at a decent job where they make decent pay, who maybe don't have college degrees or any interest in fucking people over in the way you have to if you want to acquire great wealth. They just want to be able to do something productive and make enough to cover their expenses and their medical bills and go on vacation once in a while and maybe after a lifetime of work have enough saved up to help out their kids. That shit barely exists anymore because the monsters in charge don't want it to, and there is no way that a privatized Post Office would provide anybody the wages and stability that the USPS gave my family, and that absolutely fucking sucks.

Over seven hundred workers at a pork processing plant Smithfield Foods in South Dakota have tested positive for the virus which is one of the largest known clusters in the country as Buzzfeed points out.

Asked whether or not this could have been prevented a spokesperson for the company said it was more difficult because of the “large immigrant population” working there.

“Living circumstances in certain cultures are different than they are with your traditional American family,” she explained if you know what she means.

“The spokesperson and a second corporate representative pointed to an April 13 Fox News interview in which the governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, said that “99%” of the spread of infections ‘wasn’t happening inside the facility’ but inside workers’ homes, ‘because a lot of these folks who work at this plant live in the same community, the same buildings, sometimes in the same apartments.’”

Living circumstances in certain cultures ahahah I’m gonna be sick man I just feel like shit all the time. Everyone likes to say we’re gonna become the Joker off of shit like this but none of us ever do we’re all cowards and that’s just how it is and how it will be forever.  Guess I’ll just go fuck myself. See you next time.

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