Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. American Emergency Medicine Works

 

This is both a brief story in itself and preface to another tale, “Strategic Logistics Work.” The point of observation: the Valley of the Sun, Maricopa County, the population center of Arizona. The time: summer 2018 and last weekend, March 21-22, 2020.

Foreshadowing: It was a normal summer Saturday afternoon in 2017. Which is to say, it was a dry heat in the Valley of the Sun. I was out for a 2.5-mile brisk walk when I got the urge to sprint. Nevermind that I had not done a wind sprint over a year, I just had the urge. Pulling up at the end of a 200-yard dash, I noticed something was a bit odd. My heart rate was not slowly dropping. I got indoors, sat down, and drank water. No change. In fact, I was getting increasingly light-headed, even with my head down, so I had someone dial 911.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Progressive ‘Relief’ Package

 

View original artwork here.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. New Virus Hobby: Marine Traffic!

 

Seal Beach Pier, L.A. Harbor, Palos Verdes, Catalina off to the left.
I’m assuming others have stumbled upon a new virus hobby while cooped up. Here’s mine: marine traffic! Working from home, I have an ocean view in Seal Beach in Orange County, CA, which is nice, but what is all this traffic out there?

I have a clear view of every ship lining up to dock in the L.A. Harbor to my right, and the Naval munitions dock at Anaheim Bay to my left. But I know almost nothing about them.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson: The Corona Economy with John B. Taylor

 

 

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Majestyk’s Giant ‘Jeopardy!’ FAQ

 

Everybody already knows that I was going to appear on the biggest, best, longest-running game show in the history of whenever – “Jeopardy!,” of course! – but now I have a conundrum on my hands: How do I handle all of the questions and fan mail?

Never fear, gentle reader: I am here to answer your burning questions about all things J!

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Duration: Rotaria

 

We’re in lockdown starting Friday at 5 PM, but as far as I was concerned it started today. Wife has an essential-person deferment; so do I. No plans to use it but it’s nice if it’s there. When Wife held up her document stating she could move about freely, it was like a Letter of Transit. I’ll hide it in the piano.

The sun came out and the temps soared. I stood on the porch at the top of the hill and watched all the dog-walkers and moms with strollers. Made a point of waving if they looked up. When I’m walking the dog and I see people coming up the sidewalk, I move to the street, but I wave, and smile. For a few weeks we weren’t looking at each other. Now we need to wave, and smile.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Conclusion: Atomic Terror Over the African Coast

 

Pour a beverage, turn down the lights, and pull up a chair! Tonight, we finish the adventure told in imaginary old time radio style that we began two nights ago.

In the first episode, we met physicist and midwestern tycoon Hank Rhody, the mastermind and paymaster of a complex international scheme to secure and remove a long-hidden rogue atomic weapon from South Africa. The rest of Hank’s top-notch team of specialists, wizards, and heroes is known to every attentive Ricochet member. In the second episode, they contrive to buy the bomb and gather the electronic evidence that will incriminate its seller. Then they all make their escape in a rebranded Rhody jetliner, intending to take the fragile, laboratory-created bomb to a CIA nuclear disposal team 1500 miles north along Africa’s east coast.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Politicians Have Overreacted to Coronavirus

 

The coronavirus crisis put Americans to the test. Could we function in a sane, scientifically informed, non-partisan manner to rationally protect the public while encountering a newly discovered viral disease?

The answer is no. Goaded on by in unrelenting hysterical media, our leaders have inflicted far more economic and societal pain on Americans than was warranted.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Army Rolling in Homeland Defense

 

This is how we are not Italy. This is part of why we were ranked #1 in the world for pandemic preparedness. As Navy hospital ships prepare to leave their docks, Army field hospital units have been given deployment orders. Ride to the sound of the sirens?

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why Don’t You Just Ask Us?

 

I’m getting tired of people who think they can speak for me or other senior citizens regarding the coronavirus, as if we were doddering old fools who needed to be represented by the younger set. (Well, some of us might be doddering, but most of us know just what is going on.) The issue of saving the economy or at-risk citizens has been presented as a black and white, either/or decision, and that is an enormously simplistic and stupid viewpoint.

On National Senior Citizens Day, August 21, 2019, the President issued this proclamation :

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Part 2: Atomic Terror Over the African Coast

 

Pour a beverage, turn down the lights, and pull up a chair! Tonight, we continue the adventure we began last night, the thirteenth series of Ricochet Silent Radio, fan fiction about Ricochet members written as scripts inspired by the spirit of old-time radio. This week’s three-part tall tale is Atomic Terror Over the African Coast.

In the first episode, physicist and Midwestern tycoon Hank Rhody has told his covert team about a 40-year-old South African prototype nuclear weapon on the verge of being sold to the highest terrorist bidder. ”Hank the Bank” is the mastermind and paymaster of the complex international scheme to secure and remove it. The rest of the top-notch team is known to any astute Ricochet reader.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Rage and Realization

 

“There is a story of a great Samurai who comes to visit the Zen master, Hakuin. The Samurai approaches the Zen master and bows dutifully, asking, ‘Sir, I wish to understand the difference between heaven and hell.’ The Zen master looks at the Samurai and, eyeing him from head to toe, says, ‘I would tell you but I doubt that you have the keenness of wit to understand.’ The Samurai pulls back in astonishment. ‘Do you know who you are speaking to?’ he huffs. ‘Not much,” says the Zen master, “I really think you are probably too dull to understand.’ ‘What?’ says the Samurai. ‘How can you talk to me like this?’ ‘Oh, don’t be silly,’ says the Zen master. ‘Who do you think you are? And that thing hanging by your waist. You call that a sword? It’s more like a butter knife.’ The Samurai, becoming enraged draws his sword and raises it over his head to strike the Zen master. ‘Ah,’ says the Zen master. ‘That is hell.’ The Samurai’s eyes shine with recognition as he bows and sheathes his sword. ‘And that,’ says the Zen master, ‘is heaven.’” — Stephen Levine, Who Dies?

Stress is running through America like a restless stream, breaching its boundaries. Unless you live in a cave, you’re not immune. And the stress craves a voice, a way to make itself known. It shows up when we voice our impatience at our spouse, or yell at a child for a minor issue, or rant at a co-worker. Many of our actions may be bloodless, but they are leaving tiny wounds in those we care about. Those of us who normally have long fuses are erupting, surprising ourselves and those around us.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Great Society: A New History with Amity Shlaes

 

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, a conversation with author and historian Amity Shlaes on her new book, Great Society: A New History. Begun by John F. Kennedy and completed by Lyndon B. Johnson, the Great Society was one of the most sweeping pieces of legislation ever enacted in American history. On its surface, the Great Society was a plan to reduce rural and urban poverty, but at its roots were the socialist and communist movements of the 1930s. Shlaes shares the history of those movements and lays out how they influenced the post–World War II generation of American politicians, including lesser-remembered figures such as Sargent Shriver, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Walter Reuther. In addition, the Great Society was a harbinger of many of the policies and ideas that are in vogue today, including Universal Basic Income and Medicare for All. Shlaes also argues that what the Great Society’s marquee policy initiative, the War on Poverty, and the new flood of benefits actually achieved “was the opposite of preventing poverty—they established a new kind of poverty, a permanent sense of downtroddenness.” Shlaes proves that, once again, policies and laws with the best of intentions often have the opposite effect.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Duration: The Notary and the Turkey

 

I dropped off my taxes and got the will notarized. I suppose the first is an expression of faith in the future, right? I’m always mailing the returns on the 14th, and it’s nice to imagine myself explaining for the 32nd time to my wife why I’ve waited until the last minute – but this time it’s a sunny day in July. 

Before setting out, check the supplies. Gloves, just in case? Yes. Sanitizer? Yes — no wait it’s not in my pocket what happened, this is like living in a fallout zone and losing your iodine tablets

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. RSR 13! Atomic Terror Over the African Coast

 

Pour a beverage, turn down the lights, and pull up a chair! Tonight, we begin the thirteenth series of Ricochet Silent Radio, fan fiction about Ricochet members written as scripts inspired by the spirit of old-time radio. This week’s three-part tall tale is Atomic Terror Over the African Coast, a tip of the hat in tribute to veteran RSR star Hank Rhody’s own 2016 entry in imaginary media, Atomic Terror Over the Pacific. We’ve recruited a few more feature performers from the overstocked pool of fascinating characters on the Member Feed, and we’re always looking for a few more!

Plus, of course, we’ll never neglect RSR’s longtime audience favorites. In view of the ongoing national emergency, this program may be interrupted by Ricochet editors at any time for news bulletins. Our sponsors will present this program with minimal commercial interruptions.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Duration: The ‘I Am Legend’ Afternoon

 

I went downtown today … WHY ARE YOU GOING OUT, THIS MEANS DEATH

No. No, it doesn’t. I know, I know, flatten the curve, but I am very careful. Believe me, I don’t like it, but downtown is deserted. Except where it’s not! The pharmacy is open, and there are people who are still working, or who live downtown, queued up to buy something. Cigarettes. Fungus cream. Bandaids. You still get paper cuts in a pandemic.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Coronavirus Overreaction

 

Out of over 367,000 COVID-19 cases reported as of noon March 23, 2020, 16,000 people have died, a rough increase of about 9,500 from the past week. China has contributed about 3,500, a figure that is holding relatively stable — if we are to believe the reporting coming out of the People’s Republic of China — as is Iran’s total of 1,812 deaths (another potentially dubious total). In Spain, the death toll is 2,206. Italy has taken the lead with 6,077 deaths, 85 percent of which are of people over 70, which stems, it appears, from a conscious decision not to supply ventilators to anyone over 60. These four nations make up close to 13,000 deaths or about 82 percent of the total. Taken together, these four countries account for over 13,595 of the 16,097 deaths. The good news here is that the growth rates in both Italy and Spain have turned downward in the past 48 hours.

In my column last week, I predicted that the world would eventually see about 50,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus, and the United States about 500. These two numbers are clearly not in sync. If the first number holds, the total US deaths should be about 4 to 5 percent of that total, or about 2,000–2,500 deaths. The current numbers are getting larger, so it is possible both figures will move up in a rough proportion from even that revised estimate. Indeed, the recent run-ups in Italy and perhaps Spain suggest that those countries have yet to turn the corner.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Duration: Altoids as a Contributing Factor

 

I stopped in the Walgreens to see if they had flour. They did not have flour. Would’ve turned around and left, but I am almost out of Altoids and they had peanuts on sale – so now I’m committed. You can either bolt when they don’t have the item you came for, or roll the dice and make something of the trip into the covadian miasma.

There was a woman in line wearing a face mask, which made the rest of us uneasy: what does she know? Nothing we don’t. There was a snuggly-toothed guy redolent of cigarettes walking up and down asking for a ride, because he’d missed his bus. Sorry. I eyeballed the rack of Hostess snack cakes and powdered donuts, and thought: I want to inhale all of those, but the womenfolk back home would be appalled. They have their exercise bands and mats and videos and the treadmill and they will be hanged if they come out of this thicker. 

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Death Is a Trailing Indicator

 

Every time I see one of these apocalyptic exponential projections based on a “doubling of the death rate every two days,” or whatever the current numbers suggest, I want to slap someone. At the moment, and for the next week or so at least, the death count is a trailing indicator of contagion.

It appears to take, on average, from about ten days to two weeks between infection with the Wuhan virus and subsequent death. That suggests that today’s death figures are a proxy for the rate of infection ten days to two weeks ago.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Back to the Future in the Age of Coronavirus?

 

In desperation, small business people are doing what they can to stay solvent, to stave off government-mandated ruin. One strain of these responses has been a revival of earlier car culture. The drive-in movie and the drive-in diner suddenly have an attraction again. Consider two stories from Texas: one a family restaurant turned drive-in movie theater, and the other a community theater putting on a drive-in live performance. Consider, also, the Sonic restaurant brand.

In “Ingenuity to Beat the Ban,” Aaron Miller told the story of the Butler House restaurant, in Spring, Texas, which put up a large screen television in the parking lot and serves meals, including beer or wine, car side. Modern cars are pre-equipped to support this experience, as we have lots of cup holders. Back in the 1950’s you needed a special tray attached to the side of the car window because there was nowhere to safely put down your drink. Moreover, all cars now have FM radios, so you can even have a low power FM transmission of the audio.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella

 

All kinds of people visit our gym in this community. Some are very friendly and we kid around and harass each other. And there are those who are shy and distant, rarely making eye contact. But I feel connected to them, too, since we are all older people on a mission to stay healthy.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Duration: News from Abroad

 

Today we welcomed our Rotary exchange student, whom I’ll call Rotaria. Fawlty Towers fans will imagine my posture and tone of voice when I say “she is from Barcelona.” Absolutely delightful, a real tonic to the local mood. Could be called home at any moment, but for now her parents are fine with her staying here. Because Barcelona at the moment is not fun.

When you go out to get groceries – they’re on lockdown – you are required to wear a mask and gloves. When you return home, you must remove all your outer clothing and set it aside. The churches are closed, which is hard on the grandmas, who seem to be the only ones interested in filling the pews or lighting a candle. The mood seems to be the same as here: resignation, acceptance, mental suppression of the Big What Next, gallows humor, boredom, and singing from the balconies. No one in her extended circle knows anyone who has it. 

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Popcorn and The Duration

 

I suggest we call this period . . . The Duration. 

The Before Times are still close enough so they don’t seem like a dream, passed down by the elders telling tales over the fire. I mean, I remember walking into the hardware store to look for a part. The most normal thing a man can do on a Saturday. It was cold outside; there was popcorn in the back, and no one thought anything of opening the door and helping themselves to a bag. We used a scoop, because we weren’t savages. You chatted with the clerk, petted the store dog, picked up the pen to sign the POS terminal, pushed your way out of the store with your hand on the door, which had a big hammer as a doorknob. You didn’t give a second thought to how many people had touched it.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Emergency Coronavirus Bleg

 

Good people of Ricochetti, in 90 minutes Rob Long and I will be recording a podcast with Dr. George Savage, and in the meantime we’re eager–desperate, really–for some basic facts. In a word, what, exactly, has South Korean done about the coronavirus that seems to have kept the infection rate very low in that country?

This tweet by Ben Shapiro got my attention:

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