Tag Archives: social distancing

Is there a lesson to be learned?

The news that U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Loony Bin, has tested positive for the coronavirus ought to send a clear message to the moronic conspiracy theorists out there who joined Gohmert in dismissing the value of mask wearing.

The Texas Republican had visibly and vocally eschewed wearing a mask, calling masks overrated as a preventative measure against the pandemic. Then he tests positive. Gohmert is now isolating himself in his East Texas home.

Will this clown’s infection stem the naysayers? Will it shut them up? Hardly. These idiots keep yapping about masks being part of some sort of nefarious conspiracy concocted by someone, or some organization, perhaps the Deep State designed to rule the world … or some such moronic tripe.

Gohmert is the unofficial chairman of the Wacko Caucus within the Republican congressional delegation. His initial response, I hasten to add, is that he now will wear a mask “religiously.” He says he feels fine. That’s good. Really, it is. I don’t want him to suffer.

According to CNN.com: “I will not be around anybody for the next 10 days without making sure that I have a mask,” Gohmert said. “Because that’s the real danger. Once you have it, giving it to somebody else, and that’s when a mask if most important.”

I do want his positive test result to send a chilling message to his fellow pandemic goofballs to listen to the docs, who tell us to wear masks and to stay the hell away from everyone else.

Oh, have I mentioned that we passed the 150,000 death count in this pandemic battle? There. I just did.

This is serious stuff, folks. Just ask Louie Gohmert.

Gov. Abbott hands out blame, fails to own this crisis

I have some advice for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

You need to stop dishing out blame to others and start taking ownership of the role you have played in the spike in COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death in the state you were elected to govern.

Abbott decided this week to blame 20-something Texans for refusing to practice social distancing, for failing to wear face masks in public and for being too cavalier about the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic that has swept around the globe.

Here’s a thought for the governor to ponder, although he likely won’t: Greg Abbott has the authority to issue a mandate that requires Texans to wear masks. Yet he doesn’t do that. He chooses to follow the lead of others — namely Donald Trump — who decline to accept fully the gravity of the health crisis at hand.

Having said that I’ll accept that we all deserve to be slapped across the face about this COVID-19. We need to ensure we all take it seriously. I get it. However, I found the tone of Gov. Abbott’s remarks to be disconcerting because they fail to address the role he and other political leaders can play in reducing the threat of this killer virus to Texans.

Isn’t there a saying making the rounds that declares that “We’re all in this together”? If were “in it together,” then we need to share the responsibility in looking for ways to get through this crisis. Assessing blame to just some of us won’t do the job.

She’s no hero; she is a lawbreaker

Shelley Luther is being hailed as a heroic figure, someone who is standing up to what many contend is a form of governmental tyranny.

I consider her to be a lawbreaker, someone who flouted a legally mandated directive to keep her business closed to save lives against a killer virus that has swept across the world in the coronavirus pandemic.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered salons closed. Luther’s business, Salon La Mode in Dallas, remained opened. She was doing customers’ nails and performing other cosmetic procedures even though she was putting herself and, more importantly, her customers at risk of catching COVID-19.

As the Texas Tribune reported: Luther knew she was operating in blatant defiance of emergency orders from the state and county. She had already torn up a cease-and-desist letter from local authorities, winning loud cheers onstage at an Open Texas rally in Frisco.

Ridiculous.

Here’s my favorite part. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Houston decided to get his hair cut at Luther’s salon … in Dallas. The Cruz Missile, who backs Donald Trump’s rush to return reopen the economy that has collapsed in the wake of the pandemic, thought he’d score some cheap political points by standing with Shelley Luther.

Cruz should be ashamed of himself, except that he isn’t.

As for Luther, she had been sent to jail for violating the stay-closed order. Top Texas Republicans sought to work for her release. So she got sprung from the hoosegow. She came out to a hero’s welcome.

Now this business owner is being hailed as a sort of cultural icon because she’s standing her ground against what she believes is government overreach.

She is standing instead for the fruitcakes who have stormed the Michigan state capitol building brandishing assault rifles and waving swastikas and Confederate battle flags; she is standing for other protesters around the nation who flock to beaches and ignore social distancing recommendations.

It’s people like Shelley Luther who make enforcing mandates aimed at protecting our health — and even our lives — more difficult than they need be.

You want major national change? Try this!

Mom and Dad saw the world change in front of them when we went to war against international tyranny. We emerged victorious from that world war and took our place as the world’s colossus … and the world changed forever.

Then came 9/11, when those terrorists flew jetliners into office towers and into the Pentagon. The nation went to war again against the monsters who sponsored those madmen. The nation is still fighting that war … and, yes, the world changed once again forever.

The world went through fundamental change in the 20th and 21st centuries because of senseless acts of violence brought to us.

Now we’re entering another fundamental change brought to the world by an “enemy” no one saw coming until it was too late. The world likely is going to change in ways we cannot even foretell now as we seek to stem the attack brought to us by the coronavirus pandemic.

Our world will change culturally, with no arena sports to cheer from grandstands packed with fans like you and me. Our interpersonal behavior will change. We’ll be far more cognizant of personal hygiene.

Think of this for a just a brief moment. Our government has enacted certain restrictions on our behavior. We must not gather in large crowds. We dare not venture into public places without wearing face masks. We pack sanitized wipes, little bottles of alcohol-based cleanser. We maintain what we now know colloquially as “social distancing” from those we meet.

We shouldn’t shake a stranger’s hand. We shouldn’t even embrace friends we haven’t seen in good while. Oh, sure, we aren’t prohibited by law from doing these things. It just is patently unwise given the nature of the COVID-19 virus that attacks even the heretofore perfectly healthy among us.

Therein lies the change that awaits us as we continue this struggle against the pandemic. My rumbling gut tells me we’re likely going to change forever … yet again.

The world changed 75 years ago

Will there be a fan-less baseball season? Well … probably

At the risk of being called a Dickey Downer, or a Negative Ned, I need to suggest what is looking patently obvious to this baseball fan.

If the Major Leagues suit up for the 2020 season while we are fighting a deadly worldwide viral pandemic, the athletes will play in front of themselves and each other. No fans in the stands. No cheering from behind the dugout. No curtain calls after dramatic home runs.

MLB is considering an 82-game schedule to begin around the Fourth of July. I understand that the team owners have signed off on it, but need approval by the players union to close the deal.

Yes, we have all these beautiful baseball venues around the country that will be devoid of fans. Why? The answer is obvious: Social distancing requirements — which are essential to stemming the infection rate — will not allow fans to be crammed into the stadiums next to each other.

Am I OK with that, with playing these games before tens of thousands of empty seats? Absolutely. I want to see baseball return.

Now … I want to speak briefly to my friends in Amarillo, who have been awaiting the start of the Texas League AA season featuring their beloved Amarillo Sod Poodles. The last time I commented on the team’s immediate future, a sorehead among the Sod Poodles fan club accused me of being Mr. Negativity.

I hate to say this, but Hodgetown — the shiny new ballpark built along Buchanan Street in downtown Amarillo — should remain empty, too, even if the Sod Poodles take the field for some hardball.

Yes, this pains me terribly. The ballpark came into being with considerable fanfare and much-deserved hype. It’s a first-class venue. The Sod Poodles’ fans packed the place for virtually every home game in 2019.

For the sake of community health — which at this moment appears to be teetering with a rash of outbreaks — the Sod Poodles should play their games before no one.

Baseball fans all across this great country are going to suffer the same withdrawal. If that’s what must happen, well, there’s always next season … or we can hope.

Beachgoers tempt fate

You are looking at a beachful of goobers who ought to know better than to do what they are doing.

They are congregating along the Texas coast, apparently heeding Gov. Greg Abbott’s declaration that it’s OK to venture to the beach without regard to the restrictions he had imposed on Texans since early April.

You can count me out. What in the world is going on here?

Planet Earth is still in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic. It has killed hundreds of thousands of people and nearly 70,000 Americans. Yet some states, such as Texas, are being run by governors who seem to think it’s OK to reopen their economies that had been shut down by the pandemic.

Abbott said he would let “doctors and data” determine how to loosen the restrictions. Did he really have this in mind? If he didn’t, then the goobers on the beach need to know better. If he did, these numbskulls still should pay attention.

Many governors are proclaiming that social distancing is having a profoundly positive effect on the infection and death rates by the COVID-19 virus. I don’t see a whole lot of social distancing in the picture I have attached to this blog post. What I do see is a crowd of nitwits who are endangering themselves or worse, endangering others.

What I wish would happen is that Abbott reimpose the restrictions. Good grief. He needs to tell those who want to go to the beach to follow the rules they have been following already.

Or, he could deputize Texas Parks & Wildlife rangers to work alongside Department of Public Safety troopers to issue citations to those they see clustering like these yahoos.

We are witnessing a rush to potential disaster and it gives my family me all the justification we need to keep doing what we’ve been doing to avoid getting caught by the killer virus.

Ancestral homeys make me proud

Many of my friends are aware of my ethnic ancestry; I guess my last name is a dead giveaway … you know?

One of them sent me a link from The New York Times that contains a story about how well Greece has responded to the coronavirus pandemic.

You can see the story here.

What fascinates me is how well the Greeks have responded to the pandemic in light of the intense criticism that has come their way over the years with their myriad financial issues, their reneging on national debt, the bailouts given to them by the European Union, not to mention the political chaos that kept waters roiling in Athens.

It appears that Greece got way ahead of the curve when the pandemic began leveling Europeans. They enacted “social distancing” measures right away; they began imposing restrictions on gatherings; they shut down business and effectively shut down their borders. They didn’t celebrate Orthodox Easter in the traditional way, as the picture attached to this post attests.

They have recorded fewer than 150 deaths from the viral infection. The Times article notes that Belgium, an EU member of comparable population, has suffered thousands of deaths and far more reported infections than Greece.

OK, have said all that, the report card isn’t a straight-A grade. Greece has tested a small percentage of its population of 10.7 million citizens, which means the reports of infections might be understated.

Still, according to the Times: Now, a country that has grown used to being seen as a problem child in the European Union is celebrating its government’s response and looking forward to reopening its economy.

“Greece has defied the odds,” said Kevin Featherstone, director of the Hellenic Observatory at the London School of Economics.

I have been critical of my ethnic brothers over the financial hassles that they have brought on themselves. On this matter, they make me proud that they have responded proactively — and successfully — in response to a worldwide crisis. Other nations and their leaders ought to pay attention to how they have responded.

Yes, that means you, too, Donald Trump!

Go slowly on relaxing restrictions

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reportedly is planning to issue an executive order this week that sets in motion a relaxation of the restrictions enacted to fight to coronavirus pandemic.

Allow me to offer this bit of advice: Go slow on returning to what we call “normal” activity.

Abbott’s emergency response team tells us that social distancing is doing its job, that the infection rate is stabilizing if not declining. Indeed, we’re practicing it in our household, as are our sons. My wife and I haven’t socialized with anyone since the pandemic began creeping into our lives.

Abbott doesn’t seem like someone who is going to rush to return to normal activity. He was a bit slow to issue the stay at home order, although he didn’t call it that. Whatever. We’re staying at home and that’s worked well for us. We venture out only to buy food at the grocery store or to purchase weed killer at the garden shop.

Princeton has shut down dining in at restaurants and practically every form of service business you can name. Haircuts? Gymnasiums? Forget about it!

I did walk into a bank the other day wearing a face mask my wife had made and joked to the teller how strange it felt to be wearing a mask while walking into a bank. She didn’t have me arrested, for which I was much obliged.

This so-called “new normal” is beginning to feel more like just plain “normal” the longer we’re into it.

But … whatever Abbott does later this week, I urge him to go slow in suggesting how we should behave. For that matter, all of us on the receiving end of the governor’s suggestion would do well to proceed with all due caution.

Social distancing is working, man, but we ain’t in the clear.

Crisis producing a new level of heroism

The coronavirus pandemic is producing an entirely new level of heroism all around the world.

Let’s ponder what we’re witnessing in real time as the coronavirus infection scores new hits every minute.

  • Hospital workers are donning makeshift masks and are wearing garbage bags on their bodies to protect themselves against infected patients. They lack the protective gear they need, but they stay on the job.
  • Police officers and firefighters are falling ill because they lack the appropriate personal protection equipment to stave off infection.
  • Children are singing to patients, seeking to cheer them up as they fight for their lives.
  • Neighbors are helping neighbors cope with their formerly “routine” errands.
  • Teachers are crafting in-home study plans for students who’ve been banned from classrooms because governors are closing schools.
  • Building maintenance crews are working day and night to disinfect structures, exposing themselves to infection.
  • At least one naval officer, the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt — a nuclear-powered attack aircraft carrier — has decided to allow most of his crew off the ship to deal with infection; four of his crew members have died.
  • Cruise ship crews are battling infection among passengers.

I hope you understand my point here. This pandemic is producing the very best in many of us. The United States does not lack heroes, people who do extraordinary deeds under great duress. Indeed, nations on every continent on Earth are discovering heroes among their midst as well.

None of this will lessen the pandemic by itself. That lessening will occur over time as we continue to practice “social distancing.” Meanwhile, researchers are working 24/7 in laboratories searching frantically for drugs they can use to inoculate human beings against the ravages of this “invisible enemy.”

Many of us are distressed. Our lives are being disrupted beyond measure. I just want to offer a heartfelt expressing of gratitude for all the heroes out there who are stepping up in this time of dire peril.

Iconic play falls victim to coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic appears to have inflicted a major casualty in the Texas Panhandle: an iconic musical that has been thrilling millions of visitors for decades.

“Texas” is going to miss its 2020 summer season at the Pioneer Amphitheater on the floor of Palo Duro Canyon.

This is a very huge deal in the lives of West Texans, not to mention those who have flocked to the canyon floor to watch the musical that tells the story of the settling of the Panhandle.

Donald Trump declared that the national “social distancing” guideline will remain until April 30. Texas has imposed similar measures statewide. Communities and counties are taking proactive measures, too, to stem the spread of the illness that likely is destined to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Hey, if they can postpone the Summer Olympics until July 2021, it only makes sense that the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation will put “Texas” on the shelf as well until next year.

This news saddens me, but it must be done.