On March 13, I filled the car with gas because we were planning a trip to visit my sweetheart’s mother for her 90th birthday. But the next day we both woke up feeling a little under the weather, so we decided we shouldn’t go.
Four days later, the Bay Area set up a shelter-in-place to slow down the pandemic.
I haven’t put gas in the car since. According to the gauge, there’s about three-quarters of a tank available.
At a rough guess, I’ve driven the car about a hundred miles in the last six and a half months. To put that in perspective, I’ve walked about 850 miles in that same period.
Now it’s not unusual for me to walk more than I drive when I’m not traveling. I live in a very walkable neighborhood. And I’m even driving to run some errands right now; when you buy two weeks worth of groceries at once or are picking up a farm box instead of browsing the booths at the farmer’s market, a car is useful. Continue reading “Car, parked.”…
The first vote I ever cast in a presidential election was in 1972 for Shirley Chisholm.
That wasn’t in the general election in November (where I voted for George McGovern as any reasonable person should have done). It was at my precinct caucus in May, back when Texas (and most states) chose political candidates using caucus and convention systems rather than primaries.
At the caucus, you picked the candidate you supported, and then the precinct workers tallied the votes to see which candidates had enough support to go to the next round. Alas, I was the only person who signed in for Chisholm, and one vote wasn’t enough for the next round.
I could have gone home, but instead I switched to McGovern, and ended up going to the county convention as a McGovern delegate. Still, the first time anyone ever officially asked me who I wanted for president, I said Shirley Chisholm. I remain proud of that. Continue reading “Conventional Behavior”…
I don’t often post political stuff. My readers may remember the series of posts, “In Troubled Times,” as I walked/crawled/screamed through my reactions to the unfolding events of the 2016 election. A more current version would be entitled, “In Perilous Times,” and has been on my mind. To get the discussion started, here are some thoughts on how the right-wing media and conspiracy theorists spread disinformation that resulted in a much worse pandemic in the US.
From The New York Times 7/28 morning report:
|Why is the U.S. enduring a far more severe virus outbreak than any other rich country?
|There are multiple causes, but one of them is the size and strength of right-wing media organizations that frequently broadcast falsehoods. The result is confusion among many Americans about scientific facts that are widely accepted, across the political spectrum, in other countries.
|Canada, Japan and much of Europe have no equivalent to Sinclair — whose local newscasts reach about 40 percent of Americans — or Fox News. Germany and France have widely read blogs that promote conspiracy theories. “But none of them have the reach and the funding of Fox or Sinclair,” Monika Pronczuk, a Times reporter based in Europe, told me.
|Fox is particularly important, because it has also influenced President Trump’s response to the virus, which has been slower and less consistent than that of many other world leaders. “Trump repeatedly failed to act to tame the spread, even though that would have helped him politically,” The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent has written. The headline on Sargent’s opinion column is: “How Fox News may be destroying Trump’s re-election hopes.”
|Another factor creating confusion: The lack of an aggressive response to virus misinformation from Facebook and YouTube. Judd Legum, author of the Popular Information newsletter, has identified some of this misinformation, and the two companies have responded by removing the posts he cited. But Legum told me he had pointed out only a small fraction of the false information, and the companies had done relatively little to remove it proactively.