Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A New Genre of Kid Lit: Coronavirus Quarantine


I’ve been thinking a lot about what these next weeks and months are going to do to my kids; how it’s going to shape their psyche, their habits, their souls. We have pretty young kids here, ages six, five (as of today!), almost three, and a baby. The younger kids will hopefully have no memory of what this time is like, but what about the older two?

We spent this afternoon with their favorite children’s book author, Mo Willems. He is doing an artist-in-residence with the Kennedy Center, and in response to the events of this past week, they have launched a daily drawing and chat session for kids home from school:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Times Like These


“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. My Three Grodiest Jobs


I’ve always thought that the poor souls in Hell who are forced to wash Satan’s notoriously foul rear end surely have the worst job ever. (I’ve forgotten the Biblical citation for the passage in which these ablutions occur. You’ll have to trust me on this.) Even Satan’s most hard-hearted demons — those who are able to oversee, without breaking into tears, those poor souls who are forced to watch an endless loop of Nancy Pelosi’s speeches — feel compassion for the Rear Enders (their official job classification).

Their job is made worse because Satan is literally the boss from Hell. “You missed three dingleberries!” the Evil One would scream in that irritatingly screechy voice of his. “Use some elbow grease, minions!”


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Helping Others Struggling During the Quarantine


I’ve been part of several conversations, now, that touch upon (or pound upon, depending) the deleterious economic effects of measures being taken and/or recommended to limit the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. Whether or not these measures are too much, too little, or just right — and whether or not we’ll ever know how close we came to hitting the sweet spot — I am both persuaded that Wuhan is a serious threat and very aware of the risk to the economy that the attempt to slow rates of infection is causing. Friends, neighbors, and even my own children are already feeling the effects, and the damage to their financial well-being may take a very long time to repair, if it can be repaired at all.

I’d point out that, for those of us who are relatively less affected, because we’ve got gummint jobs, gobs of money in the bank, or a relatively impervious retirement fund, Wuhan provides an opportunity for charity in the best sense of the word. Here are a few of my ideas — I’d welcome yours as well!


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. An Ordinary Evening


Just so you know: I am not panicking. I am not alarmed. I am concerned. Mindful. We’ll get past this. But we are not there yet.

I go out at night, to scavenge. I have stocks to last the family a while, but every day I note some lack that could be filled. The situation is absurd: the stores are denuded of bread and toilet paper, but the circular we got in the mail promises a BOGO on frozen fish. No hamburger tonight, but the exquisitely seasoned artisanal salmon? Two for one, and there’s lots of it.


If you are walking down Broadway in St. Louis on your way to BB’s Jazz, Blues, and Soups, you will awaken to many American memories, among them a poem you probably already knew.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Coronavirus Isn’t a Pandemic


The world is in a full state of panic about the spread and incidence of COVID-19. The latest worldwide tallies, as of 12 p.m. ET March 16, 2020, are:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How Much Does Dr. Fauci Really Care?


Dennis Prager spoke the hard truth Monday morning: Dr. Fauci is a lifelong government employee with a salary and benefits package perfectly insulated from the economic consequences of his words. He has absolutely no skin in the game. If Dr. Fauci truly believes it is necessary to put hourly workers, waiters, bartenders, and small businesses out of work, destroying them economically, then let him and the head of the CDC ante up.

Dr. Fauci’s easiest path is completely shutdown of our economy, doing maximum damage to people who were just starting to see real success and a brighter future. He can claim noble motives, even as he seeks to avoid blame for early failures. Words of concern and supposed sympathy tripping off a career bureaucrat’s lips ring hollow and are bitter to those he ruins.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Sometimes It Takes a Crisis


Sometimes it takes a crisis to make a problem obvious. In this case, the COVID-19 testing debacle has made it clear that we have a serious problem with regulatory agencies. Specifically, we’ve allowed those agencies to think that they are in charge of the area that they regulate.

For those who missed it, the New York Times had a very illuminating article last week about the reasons why the US has seen significant delays in testing for the COVID-19 virus. The short version is that the CDC and FDA were the cause of the problem. Existing regulations prevented tests from being developed outside of CDC-approved research labs and without FDA approvals. Regulators refused to allow any exceptions to these regulations, even when it was clear that community transmission of the virus was occurring and we needed to drastically increase the scale of our testing. By the time that the exceptions were finally allowed, the CDC developed test had been shown to be deficient and precious weeks had been lost in the battle against the virus.


With the country on virtual lockdown and many, many unanswered questions about the Corona Virus, we thought it was a good idea to do a stand alone podcast with our good friend and the most knowledgeable medical person we know (and full disclosure: Ricochet Board Member), Dr. George Savage. Rob Long, and later, Peter Robinson ask the questions on this show, but later in the week, we’ll open to the floor up to you and let you ask Dr. Savage. Stay tuned for a post soliciting questions. In the meantime, listen to this show and stay safe.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Working Oneself to Death


This little missive provoked a lot of likes in the running commentary we call the PIT at Ricochet.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Hospital Beds Are Not the Only Good!


Allowing a single priority to trump all others is a recipe for craziness. Health is important, but if we prioritize any one thing to the exclusion of all others then the results can be quite destructive. Imagine, for example, if we decided that auto accidents must be stopped at all costs, which we can do by banning all use of cars. The consequences of such an approach would end civilization as we know it.

Nobody wants our hospitals to be overwhelmed. But that is hardly the only “good” that we should be trying to maximize. Poverty also kills, and closing all schools and many businesses is a sure way to hammer people for whom food and heat and medicine are luxuries.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Suddenly, Hope


When Moses led his people from Egypt and across desert, the miracles that freed them felt so distant when thirst lingered under the hot desert sun.

Here, then, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “Why then did you bring us up out of Egypt? To have us die of thirst with our children and our livestock?”


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Comparative Coronavirus Case Growth


Yesterday morning, our friend Kozak posted a comment about Coronavirus case growth by country. It included a chart showing case growth in a number of Western nations (Italy, Germany, France, US, Switzerland, UK, and Japan), but not including S. Korea. His impression was that “[w]e are on the exact same trajectory as Italy,” and noted that “Korea quickly moved to identify and isolate cases and do aggressive contact tracing to limit the spread of the disease. As a result, they kept their medical system from being overwhelmed.”

I was skeptical of this, so I did a bit of data analysis on my own. I will copy the graph from Kozak’s comment later on, but I don’t want to bias your impression. My contention is that, at present, it is not possible to tell whether we are on the (somewhat troubling) path of Italy or the (much more reassuring) path of S. Korea.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Finding Something Positive in the Pandemic


Not everything associated with the COVID-19 panic is bad. In fact, some aspects of our reaction to this virus are excellent and a long time in coming.

The Sign of the Peace suspended: When the Catholic Church adopted its Vatican II changes to make the Sunday Mass more friendly and inclusive, they introduced the entire Christian world to the “sign of the peace.” Wannabe protestant sects like the Methodists and Congregationalists followed suit and soon nearly every church, Episcopals, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and even some Baptists, had set aside a few minutes during each Sunday service so people could roam around the sanctuary seeking another’s hand to shake. In the more progressive churches, like the United Church of Christ or their cousins, the Unitarians, a handshake was often not enough. For them, the “Sign of the Peace” time soon devolved into an all-out, half-hour, hug-fest.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Book Review: ‘Last Train’ Details Fascination with Railroads


Railroading was the great romantic adventure of the 19th century. By the 20th, although every boy seemed to go through a phase where railroading was mesmerizing, trains soon lost their place to aircraft, automobiles and spacecraft. Yet some boys kept their enchantment with railroads, and railroads remain a critical artery to our 21st-century economy.

“Last Train to Texas: My Personal Railroad Odyssey,” by Fred W. Frailey, illustrates both. Frailey was obsessed with railroads as a child and maintains that interest to this day.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Panicky Grocery Shoppers Rediscover Canned Foods – That’s Good!


Rich Zeoli is a popular morning radio talk show host in Philadelphia. On Saturday morning, he tweeted out a photo of nearly empty canned soup shelves at his southern New Jersey grocery store. It was something I thought I’d never see again – depleted soup shelves.

Amidst the fears that were spread this week about Coronavirus (COVID-19), including governments shutting down schools, public parks, and demands for the closure of “non-essential” businesses – even state-owned liquor stores here in Pennsylvania — Americans flooded neighborhood retail food shops to stockpile whatever would fit in their grocery carts. The dusty, sometimes-forgotten “center store,” where the shelf-stable “processed” foods have sometimes languished was rediscovered.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Day 55: COVID-19 Pandemic


156 countries and territories now reporting COVID-19 cases. One case is now reported on Reunion Island. You may recall my mentioning that a crowd showed up at the port demanding that an arriving cruise ship have passengers screened before letting them disembark for their onshore excursions. Police controlled the crowd and permitted the passengers to load on to buses to begin their tour. The crowd pelted both the police and buses with rocks. No doubt the participants in that public display are now feeling justified. Of course, whether the source of contagion was the cruise ship or one of the many daily flights to Reunion will likely never be known.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Don’t Do It to Save Me: Lessons and an Opportunity


My granddaughter expressed some concern that the COVID-19 bug might get me because of my advanced age. Of course, from her perspective, anyone over 40 is ancient and probably met Abraham Lincoln in person. I thought her concern touching and a little funny. It bothers me, however, that she is overly worried about a relatively remote risk that is way down the list of possible bad things out there. I am in undeservedly good health, a descendant of many very long-lived persons across several generations and I do almost everything I am told by my GP. I don’t smoke, stopped drinking almost 30 years ago, and think very hard and often about what it would be like to exercise more regularly.

If there has to be a quarantine, then home-quarantine us high-risk old people (represent, my peeps!), arrange work-at-home technology and federally-funded free delivered meals — unless that gives Nancy Pelosi a chance to sneak in a billion dollars for abortionists and other Democratic Party adjuncts, in which case, I will happily prepare my own meals. And if I must choose between preserving a few hundredths of a percentage point on my survival odds and not having March Madness to watch, I will happily assume the risk.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Presstitution in Russia and the US


In the old Soviet Union, there were two television channels: Channel One and Channel Two. If viewers in the Socialist Worker’s Paradise tried switching to Channel Two for a different view of life in Russia a message would appear on the viewer’s screen informing them to return to Channel One.

In Putin’s Russian Federation, Channel One is still State Television, and according to some Russians it is the “Shame of Russia.” There are more television stations available in Russia today, but they are closely controlled by Putin’s acolytes.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. While I’m At It; Get Off My Lawn!


Watching the Sunday political shows this morning was infuriating. They are in “promote panic” mode. The Russia hoax failed to bring down Trump. Ukraine/impeachment failed to bring down Trump. (Seems like a million years ago now doesn’t it?) The media are hoping the COVID-19 crisis evolves into Trump’s Katrina, and they are doing everything they can to make it happen, public welfare be damned.

On a separate but related topic, what is going on with this bill making its way through Congress with the administration’s support to bail out airlines, bail out the travel industry, bail out small businesses, and bankroll paid medical leave to individuals. Didn’t we learn from the last financial disaster that major policy changes rushed through in times of crisis yield terrible long-term results?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coronavirus Coverage Is What’s Making Me Sick


The coverage of the coronavirus panic is making me sicker than if I had the virus itself. It’s almost worse than the Mueller investigation or the impeachment trial. Our local newspaper is now reporting every time someone gets tested for the virus, much less having it.

When the pizza delivery guy came yesterday (it was Pi Day, but that news was blown from the headlines by you-know-what), I asked him if anyone came out to get their pizzas wearing a mask. He laughed and said no, then said it must suck to have pizza with no sports to watch. I agreed (my wife and I watched Girl on a Train instead). Turns out he was a Trump supporter, thinks the Prez is doing the best he can, and is looking forward to this whole thing blowing over.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Serendipitous Development for a Vaccine – From Israel


The Jerusalem Post is reporting that MIGAL [The Galilee Research Institute] is on the cusp of developing a coronavirus vaccine within a few weeks. The vaccine would still need to be tested and approved by various government agencies (the FDA here in the United States, for example) before it could be widely manufactured and disseminated.

How is it possible that this firm is developing a potential vaccine candidate so quickly? Based on the processes the lab developed and wanted to test, they had their choice of virus candidates to validate their work and…