Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Glyphosate Awareness Newsletter 0420: The Rest of the Facts

This month's Glyphosate Awareness Newsletter began with pretty nature pictures of jewel-colored damselflies. (Scroll down to see that section here.) Here's the rest of it:


Thanks to James @ethalises for posting this list of glyphosate cancer studies on Twitter:

English: “2018: G. Andreotti et al. found 100% increase of myeloid leukemia in farmers exposed to glyphosate. 2019: M. Leon et al. found 36 percent increase in large B-cell lymphoma...L. Zhang et al. found 40% increase in non-Hodgkins lymphoma.” Credits to scientific journals not translated.


If your browser can handle Bloomberg, you can find the full articles. Bayer blames the coronavirus, first for stalling on offering payments to cancer patients, then for scanting.

Bayer Effort to Settle Roundup Cancer Cases Slowed by Covid-19 – Bloomberg ”

Here’s the latest list of brands to boycott. These dastards don’t deserve a penny of your money!


Why is this petition still only 2% of the way to its goal? Possibly because it’s so feeble. “Follow the lead of Kellogg’s and commit to phasing out the use of glyphosate as a desiccant”? Kellogg’s wants to keep selling you cereals and granola bars that have had glyphosate sprayed right on the fruits, nuts, and grain, right before they were picked and baked...and advertising this poison as gluten-free and full of vitamins! We need to tell farmers to certify their crops spray-free, this summer, before we’ll handle their alleged “food”—much less eat any. Here’s the petition, if you want to sign it, but...personally, I want farmers and food packers to go waaay beyond Kellogg’s puny non-solution. I want to know that this year’s corn is fit for human consumption. Otherwise, since I don’t enjoy being sick, I’ll just have to live through another year without touching any corn. Or tomatoes. Or apples. Or beans. Or anything else that’s not CERTIFIED GLYPHOSATE-FREE.


It’s not that soybeans, which are nutritious food for humans and animals and even good for the soil, is even causing most of the “soy allergy” reactions and various non-fun facts gathered by those who’ve begun to wonder whether “unfermented” soy products are even safe for humans to eat. Soybeans do contain phytoestrogens but they weren’t a problem before glyphosate. And the EPA recently allowed use of another poison on genetically modified soybeans...

If you’re gluten-free, you should not need to be soy-free as well...but, currently, you do. Again, the EPA is not helping. It’s up to food shoppers to tell food packers: “If you use soy products, make sure they’re certified and tested 100% GMO and glyphosate-free, unsprayed, and organically grown...Or you can just sit on sacks of them until the Judgment Day!” Big Government is proving to be a Big Boondoggle, but if farmers learn that they can’t sell poisoned “food,” they will stop spraying.


No points for guessing: Places with a lot of soy and corn fields (or tacky, outdated, Astroturf-looking “lawns”) are places with a lot of glyphosate contamination. Though this Australian Broadcasting news story tries too hard to be nice to the sprayers, it’s worth reading for the sound bite at the end:

"Once you detect the weed you can electrocute it, steam it, or pull it out, so there are other ways of dealing with this problem."


Many thanks to @KlausRiede for this...sneak preview. The article’s not actually been published yet in the June 2020 journal, but you can see the summary of how Yahfoufi et al. found that glyphosate interferes with the use of zinc and oxygen in fetal mice:

Mark Warner's Prompt Reply on Coronavirus Quarantine

While I suspect its promptness indicates that it's a form letter pasted into a lot of e-mails, that means a lot of people need to see it. Here is Senator Warner's prompt, courteous, and helpful reply to my comments on yesterday's e-mail, posted below this post on this web site. From U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA):

Dear Ms. King,
           Thank you for contacting me about the Commonwealth of Virginia’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order.
           On March 30th, Governor Northam issued a state-wide Stay-at-Home order to stop the spread of the coronavirus and to ensure the health of all Virginians. This order instructs all individuals in Virginia to remain at their place of residence, except for activities deemed essential. A list of essential activities and the Executive Order can be found at: 
           While drastic measures are necessary to slow the spread of this virus, I understand that these measures have come at tremendous economic and social cost. I will continue to fight to ensure that every Virginian has the resources they need to make it through this emergency.
           Returning to normal will require careful consideration and targeted policies to meet the specific needs of Virginia’s diverse regions. The hard truth is, lifting these measures in any part of Virginia before public health officials recommend doing so would cause irreparable damage to both the public health of the Commonwealth and its economy. Consequently, we must work together and follow public health guidelines to make sure that, when we’re ready, Virginia can get back to business responsibly.
           I appreciate hearing from you, and if you are in need of personal assistance related to the coronavirus, please don’t hesitate to contact me through my website at: .  If you are unable to send information to me online please contact my office by phone at: (202) 224-2023.
           For the latest updates on this evolving situation and additional resources for Virginians, please visit my website at: .
           This is a challenge unlike any we have faced in recent memory, but I believe that we as a country can and will get through this together.
United States Senator

Editorial comment: He's absolutely right about the risk of irreparable damage--from coronavirus, and from ordinary colds, flu, streppy-bugs and so on--because we are losing the Greatest Generation, and they'll be enough of a loss if they die out gradually rather than all at once; scroll further down this page, or click on , for some fact-based-not-politically-based thoughts on protecting those who really are at risk for coronavirus.

I appreciate people maintaining a good healthy distance, playing non-contact sports, and covering their own faces if they're especially concerned about their own risk. I think we should keep that up when we go back to work. It's not only the Greatest Generation who benefit from keeping a healthy distance between people. Nobody, including themselves, anticipates how much harm some teenagers do to themselves and their friends when they think they're over a cold and can resume playing basketball, dancing, etc., and they actually have mononucleosis.

But I want to repeat, here and elsewhere...most active and healthy people who've had the coronavirus describe it as much less of an inconvenience than the reactions many of us have every time the Southern Railroad Company sprays glyphosate along the railroad. In addition to my own personal pain, cramps, bleeding, etc., which I've been tracking and observing for enough years to recognize that the number and intensity of my symptoms has depended on how much vapor drift wind and rain conditions have allowed, I'm now also aware of the seemingly different, seemingly coincidental way every living thing around me seems to be suffering--or dying!--at the same times I'm being made sick. I now know it's not a coincidence when puddles of blood-flecked froth that have spewed out of people or animals, or rags that have been used to wipe the froth off people, appear on the road at the same time I'm flushing blood down the toilet. This week, once again, my neighborhood has been deliberately poisoned. As so many times before. I'd like to see our Governor issue some orders to protect people from that.

And I also want to urge our Senators to stand firm against the radical, half-grown and/or crowd-crazed urban wingnuts in their party who want to use the coronavirus panic to destroy more small businesses, put more people out of their homes, and get more formerly honorable Virginians into the welfare trap.

While neither of our U.S. Senators has ever really represented me, past ones who were Republicans didn't either, and I wouldn't call the ones who were Democrats wingnuts. It's that little peril from New York City, the one who could have been a model if she hadn't kept her original teeth...I can understand why men feel uninclined to argue with her, whether they see her as a daughter-substitute or simply as hot stuff. She's not really representing the interests of either young people or multiracial people or even New Yorkers, but she claims to be. She lays that "bigot" guilt trip on any older, paler-skinned, or male person who doesn't blindly follow every word she says--and frankly, I don't care if she wants to call me an ageist because I know I'm not: most of her ideas are very bad. Our whole Congress need to listen to the young working people in their own districts who want to keep their jobs, homes, and businesses, rather than to anyone who's silly enough not to recognize that one "stimulus" handout program has already been more than we needed.

We need to focus on steady reduction of all federal handout programs, on reducing the number of people who receive any kind of public assistance every year until

(a) it's possible to deliver emergency relief payments to all survivors of personal emergencies, such as injuries, floods, fires, during the month after the emergency; and

(b) it's possible for all able-bodied people to get by without handouts after that month.

I would like to see reduction of the number of people receiving any form of public assistance become a criterion in every elected official's campaign for reelection...and likewise in the relevant government employees' consideration for pay increases, promotions, or continuation of employment.

The young woman who sold me coffee (to go) this morning may not be as sophisticated as Lady Ravenwaves from New York; she has ordinary brown hair rather than jet-black, but she's cute too, Senator, and she has a vote for you. You need to represent her interests over AOC from NYC's.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Mark Warner and "Paycheck Security"

From U.S. Senator Mark Warner, D-VA, and I'm afraid he's been listening to some hotheads in his party this week...

Dear Friend,
I’m writing to update you on the recent steps I’ve been taking as we respond to the coronavirus outbreak. On Friday, President Trump signed into law the latest coronavirus response legislation , which replenishes funds for several Small Business Administration (SBA) coronavirus relief programs that had run out of money. This bill was the result of bipartisan negotiations, and I’m proud that we were able to secure significant new resources for Virginia small businesses, as well as for additional coronavirus testing and for our hospitals and healthcare workers.
While I am glad funds are once again flowing to small businesses and workers through programs like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the truth is these programs are still not fully being administered as Congress intended them. From tech problems with the application process, to loans going to big companies who have no business applying for these loans, there are significant problems that I am working to address, so we can get these resources to small businesses and their workers who need them most.
As we work through these challenges, my office stands ready to assist however we can. Below you will find resource guides my office has prepared to answer many of the frequently asked questions about federal coronavirus resources, as well as helpful links to apply for assistance and track your coronavirus stimulus check. If you or a loved one is experiencing an issue with the federal government and can’t find the information you need below, I encourage you to contact my office immediately .
Going forward, I am working to make sure that we provide help to folks who are struggling due to the coronavirus outbreak. Our first goal must be to prevent further job losses, as well as permanent disruptions like business closures, evictions, and foreclosures. Second, we must work quickly to reduce the economic uncertainty facing workers and small businesses. To do this, I have proposed a national paycheck security program that would guarantee the paycheck of every rank-and-file American worker, and I am hopeful that this proposal will be included in the next coronavirus response bill later this spring. 
I am also pushing for greater oversight , so that the funds we’ve already spent go to small businesses and their workers. We also need to get to the bottom of the shortages of personal protective equipment and coronavirus testing that are seriously hampering our efforts to defeat this virus. The Senate will be in session next week, and I think we ought to immediately hold oversight hearings to make sure the administration is following through on the new coronavirus response laws as Congress intended.
If you want to share your thoughts about an issue that’s important to you, you can send me an email any time using the form on my Senate website. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter . I look forward to hearing from you.

Official editorial response: "Paycheck security"? What's that supposed to mean? Is that that guaranteed-income-whether-people-work-or-not blather that any adult knows cannnot possibly work? Please, Senator, I know she's cute, but you must not take anything AOC says seriously. That child still believes in a Socialist Santa Claus. Let's start with getting people back to work, so those who are earning enough to have tax withheld from their wages can replenish the funds to pay those "stimulus" handouts to those of us who weren't eating every single day on what we were earning when we were allowed to sell books.

Tim Kaine Seeks More Federal Funding

From U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA):

Dear friend,
As Senators, it's our job to represent our states and do everything we can at the federal level to ensure they get the support they need. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, state and local governments are seeing revenue plummet, putting their programs and services at risk. In the legislation we've passed so far, we've secured $3.3 billion in relief funding for Virginia and its localities, but it's not enough.
I'm working to make sure the next legislative package includes additional federal support to ensure that critical needs for health care, emergency services, and schools in Virginia are met. If we don't provide relief, local governments will likely be forced to lay off critical personnel, including first responders.
One thing is for certain: we can't afford to lose more jobs in Virginia. That's why we should give state and local governments the flexible dollars they need to prevent layoffs and combat the coronavirus in their communities. I'll keep fighting tooth and nail to make sure our cities and counties receive federal funding to address the devastating effects of COVID-19.
" [nice signature graphic that Google doesn't like: Tim Kaine]

Editorial Comment: Meh. I think lifting the lockdown and putting private employees back to work should come before any other demands for federal funding...even my own claim for the handout check as punitive damages. Y'know, between writing and bookselling my income is still well below $12,000 per the lockdown has put an end to the bookselling? On half what I made last year I'm supposed to eat? I'd like to see Governor Northam get through a year on my income!

As mentioned in this morning's post (the Palinode, on your right) I'd like to see schools and workplaces adopt healthier policies to reduce the spread of all infections. There are people who could die from exposure to silly little summer colds and streppy-bugs and rhinovirus, too. I've been saying for years that all of us should adopt rules of ethics and etiquette that protect those people...without dragging the economy down into socialism.

Tortie Tuesday: Serena on Humans Staying Home

A Cat Sanctuary Cat Interview Post...

PK: Serena, what are your thoughts about humans staying home with their Tortie (three-colored, mostly black) or Calico (three-colored, mostly white) or other cats all day?
Serena last posed for a picture as a four-month-old Junior Queen. She is now a full-grown Queen Cat who disapproves of electronics and digital pictures. This is probably the only picture that will ever show her face.

Serena: It's fun if you come out and play.Why do you ask?

PK: Since you refuse to look at the computer, you don't know our e-friends at, the charitable outreach of the people at Purina who bake most of the kibble you cats eat. Anyway, they sent out an e-mail about people staying home with their cats or, in some cases, dogs.

Serena: Who cares about them?

PK: I do. You're a very unusual cat, Serena. Although (or because) life gave you the chance to start out having your mother and your human all to yourself, all the time, you've positively insisted on surrounding yourself with other cats. I knew you'd never part with Traveller from the day you laid eyes on him. I knew you mourned when he died, although he was always a sickly kitten--the only one of his litter who survived. I knew you were very much displeased with me when I let someone adopt two of your four kittens. I know you not only want to keep old Summersburr as a permanent resident, but are lobbying to get me to allow him to cozy up with you and your remaining kittens on the porch. Do you have any idea how different that is from the way normal cats behave?

Serena: Was there a normal cat in my family for the past seven generations?

PK: No. So far as I know your ancestors were social cats, listening cats, or at least remarkably clever cats, all the way down the line.

Serena: Well then. Social cats are rare, and people who've only ever known normal cats have no idea what it's like living with us. We live in tribes, as dogs do, only more cooperative and less hierarchical. We hunt in teams. We raise kittens in extended families--sometimes even including the males, although most male cats aren't fit to be around kittens. We even take naps in groups, often in ying-yang formation with our heads pillowed on our best pals' flanks, though we'll open the formation to include more than two cats.

PK: You seem to maintain a bit of a hierarchy, Queen Serena.

Serena: Humans have been calling all female cats "queens" for a long time and, although some of us, like my poor little mother Samantha, aren't tough enough to earn the title, if you watch social cats you'll see that we really do negotiate ways for each of us to rule something or other. We claim different spaces, different humans, different positions when we do things as a team. I happened to be born a Queen Cat whose claims nobody cared to dispute, even when I was a kitten--but I'm not mean or bossy. I simply rule whatever space I happen to be occupying at the moment. You've noticed that when I kiss you, I sniff the air around the bridge of your nose, your forehead, even your hair? That's a message every cat recognizes. You're welcome to have your space in the office and do what you like in it, but in my space, on the porch, I'm the Queen and etiquette obliges you to defer to me. My daughters, and my consort, are welcome to share my space because they're willing to defer to me in it. When they want to go off on their own, they can do that. They just prefer to follow me!

PK: Why would they do that?

Serena: Possibly because I'm beautiful, I'm intelligent, I'm a strong hunter, and I'm kind and generous to my loyal followers.

PK: Yes, that makes sense. Anyway, any thoughts for the other cats whose humans are staying home with them?

Serena: They should enjoy it while they can!

PK: Our e-friends at Purina mentioned that while some cats (and dogs) want more play time and lap-napping time, others have their own routines and prefer not to be disturbed, especially when their routines involve sleeping in the window for most of the day. Thoughts?

Serena: Of course! Cats' preferences vary, just as humans' do. Early in the spring I wanted to romp and play with the kittens. Now I don't.

PK: For those readers who think all cats should be spayed--

Serena: Bad humans! Hiss! Spit! I'd like to tear strips off their faces! Humans should not be allowed to interfere with the superior species!

PK: Well, that's your opinion, but since you are a social cat who's successfully reared healthy kittens I've cancelled the plans I originally had to interfere with you. You don't know what your grandmother Irene went through...watching her and Heather's kittens constantly to keep Gulegi from eating them, then having all of her own kittens except Burr and Violet die, anyway, slowly and painfully, from "Manx Syndrome." I wanted to spare you from that, but you jumped the gun and had kittens anyway. And all of them were perfectly healthy and remarkably clever and well behaved.

Serena: Of course they were! They're mine aren't they? They should be more help baby-sitting their younger siblings than Samantha Scaredycat was.

PK: At what point should humans stop marvelling at social cat families and start neutering a few of them? Our e-friend @reinosoj has dozens of cats living in one enormous tribe. Frankly I worry about them, because when a Cat Sanctuary not far from here got up to thirty cats, most of them got distemper. There's a vaccine for that, but vaccine for thirty or forty cats, or more, costs a lot of money. People who want to see how far a social cat family can grow have been sending Javier Reinoso money but you wouldn't want to be just one of forty cats here, would you?

To see more pictures of the fur tribe, follow @reinosoj on Twitter. To help feed them, go to .

Serena: We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. As long as humans spray poison on the land, kittens will die young, like my poor soulmate Traveller who didn't even live long enough to give me any babies. And my poor little brother and sisters who were born too prematurely to live. Cat overpopulation will not be a problem and neither, if your species are stupid enough to keep spraying poisons, will human overpopulation, which is certainly more of a problem now.

PK: Cat overpopulation has certainly not become a problem here in recent years. Maintaining the population has been the challenge. So there's no need to quarrel about anybody being spayed now. Anyway, for cats (and dogs) who want their humans to play with them, do we have any tips?

Serena: Toe tips? Tail tips? Of course we have! Well, the main thing humans should know about cat toys is that what makes them really special is having someone to play with. Objects that only move as we move them, ourselves, get old fast. They become interesting when other people join the game.

PK: Are some objects more interesting than others?

Serena: Well, Traveller brought that tinkly ball that he and I used to play with, and later my kittens did. That was more fun than the tether-toy you hung up in the hedge, because it rolls onto the ground and is harder to predict. Hedge trimmings are fun to chase if humans use a little imagination. Anything that rolls easily is fun to chase if someone else rolls it in an interesting way. Frankly, cats like Summersburr, who is social but so old and dozy he might as well be normal, are easier to amuse than young, active, clever cats like me!

PK: Your day will come! Between about age five and ten all cats start taking more and deeper naps. After age ten they spend much more time sleeping than they do awake, and should probably be left to sleep in nice cozy baskets indoors all day.

Serena: Between about three months and five years, we just want to have fun!

PK: People who like a calm, mellow pet who won't interfere with their working from home should try to adopt a senior animal. Usually that's easy, since so many senior animals are put up for adoption when their humans feel unable to keep them, and so many people think they want a kitten or puppy. Senior animals who are available for adoption have probably lost an old friend. Like our Summersburr, they can seem grumpy because they miss someone, and you're not that one.

Serena: That doesn't mean they're not glad to have a home. They are. Sometimes they think "You're not my friend and you never will be. Go away," and sometimes they think "You're nice, whoever you are." Over time they get to like you more and miss their other friend less. You wouldn't uproot Summersburr again, would you? He's not learned to love you yet, but he loves my kittens, Silver and Swimmer.

PK: I'm afraid Summersburr is stuck with us now, but there are a lot of senior animals who need good homes. If you can get them to come in and settle down in your home--even if that's only at the back of the closet, under a piece of furniture, even in a carrying cage like Samantha's Special Samantha Box that she allowed Serena to pose on in that picture--that's the main thing. They don't want a lot of attention. They spend a lot of time sleeping, and will gradually get to know you.

(If Petfinder worked better with this computer I would have put in a gallery of adoptable, photogenic senior cats and dogs! In the United States you can go to, search for senior dogs or cats by zipcode, and see dozens. Run your cookie cleaner program after visiting Petfinder. Sorry about that.)

Serena: Are there humans who do want to play with frisky, bouncy-pouncy young animals like me?

PK: Of course there are...and unfortunately the shelters get a lot of abandoned kittens and puppies, too.

How to Stay Healthy Without a Lockdown: A Palinode

Remember the word "palinode," Gentle Readers? It means something written to retract something the writer wrote before. It is not used nearly as often as it should be these days.

What I'd like to retract this morning is a hasty answer I posted to a survey site yesterday. The survey site anonymized and aggregated it, but I want to retract it anyway.

I clicked "Yes, schools should refund tuition payments made by (or on behalf of) students for the term (or terms) when campuses have been locked down in quarantine."

The alternative was "No, schools should not refund tuition..." which I read at first as implying that they should just keep the money while the students aren't allowed to study anything on campus, which is obviously wrong.

But I thought of a better solution while walking in to work this morning. Wouldn't it save some paperwork, and thus some of the money schools waste on "administrative expenses," if the schools just held the money and applied it (with any interest it might accrue) to the students' tuition whenever they come back to classes?

Anyway, whatever the schools, students, and parents may do...I think that should be worked out among the individuals involved, not mandated by the federal government. One size generally fails to fit all.

That's what we're seeing with the coronavirus, as a majority of Americans respond to the nonstop surveys with "Yes, it's too soon to emerge from quarantine! The virus is not going away!" and a majority also respond with "Yes, healthy people should be allowed to go back to work! Most people can't tell whether they've had coronavirus or just another cold!"

"Just another cold" can kill people...probably not me, for a while yet, and probably not you, but some people.

I've posted this before, but some people may need a reminder: About twenty years ago I worked with a writer who used to stand behind me and watch what I was typing. I don't usually work in that kind of conditions, but this writer was a long-term client who'd become a personal friend. One Tuesday in summer she had a silly little summer cold, or maybe it was just allergies.

So, on the Thursday, I woke up with a silly little summer cold, or maybe it was just allergies. I sneezed two or three times. Big deal! No need for quarantine, right?

On the Saturday, my husband went upstate to spend Saturday night and Sunday morning with relatives, as he usually did. He provided some respite care for a special disabled student who was never able to speak. We never knew whether she had any religion, but she seemed to enjoy being with children who were being trained to be comfortable around people with major disabilities, at school during the school year and at Sunday School when possible. She was just starting to grow too big to be lifted easily, wheelchair and all, in and out of the minivan. She was small for her age because she'd spent a lot of time in hospitals and suffered a lot of stubborn infections.

And on the Monday, that child was hospitalized with staphylococcal pneumonia.

She never went back to school.

On the Saturday before her birthday, next November, I had knitted her a purple sweater for her birthday. My husband took it with him as he drove away. Two hours later he brought it back. I said, "What happened?"

He said, "She's gone."

Since then, when I've been exposed to a cold or flu, I've stayed away from anyone who has, for instance, had pneumonia during the past year. I may be working as usual. I may be shovelling snow, or even helping otherwise healthy people in and out of wheelchairs. That's not the problem. I don't want the person who is eighty years old, or is taking immune system suppressants, or has AIDS, to die from some silly little virus that's hardly even making the rest of us feel tired, if I can help it.

When I see the e-mails about these surveys showing that most people want to keep some level of quarantine but most people want to go back to work, those statistics make perfect sense to me.

People need to observe different levels of quarantine.

For most of us, the risk of exposure to airborne infections is small. If we have symptoms they're more inconvenient than painful. Usually we're the only ones who can tell we're reacting--we feel tired and grumpy, that's all--and if we tell people we have a virus infection they think we're only sprezzing and slacking. We can still lift one another out of wheelchairs if one of us happens to have injured both legs. We can still shovel snow. Certainly we can still process orders, or even write e-books, almost as well as ever. Sometimes the way I can tell I'm starting to react is that someone invited to guess my age guesses correctly; like most middle-aged and even young people, when I'm just a little bit ill I get visible wrinkles.

My usual reaction to cold and flu virus, which I have every reason to expect will be my reaction to coronavirus, is nothing compared to my reaction to glyphosate. (Yes, that was sprayed on the railroad last week. Yes, I was "sleepy" from kidney poisoning on Saturday; Sunday's rain helped me feel more alert; the bleeding ulcers in the digestive tract are still inflamed today; I still look as if I might be pregnant, I'm still finding blood in the toilet. Yes, I saw the rag somebody else had used to mop up whatever spewed out while they were in the car, and the dead sparrow without a mark on it, and the dead cat, on the way to so many times before.)

But yes, of course some people are in more danger. They need to take the main responsibility for protecting themselves from infection. Nobody else (who is in their right mind) wants to make that more difficult for them. They do need to be staying at home, working from home, and staying ten (not only six) feet away from other people when they do go out. They need the options of completely home-based jobs and classes.

The Internet can be such a blessing to those people, if our government can check the greed, keep the Internet anonymous and leave censorship to the individuals involved, and thus make it relatively safe for the few people who need not to use public computer centers to have the Internet in their homes. (Of course, if we continue to allow corporate greedheads to demand personal information that can be stolen, we'll all have to back away and just let the Internet collapse...what I'm seeing at Yahoo and Twitter, not to mention F******k, is not encouraging.)

How do we able-bodied people avoid infecting one another with the trivial diseases that may kill our fragile loved ones? That's the more immediate question.

For a start we could look at ways to reopen schools, stores, offices, and restaurants along the lines we "germ-phobic, neurotic" introverts have been advocating for years.

* Six feet is the distance at which average adults, if they stretch out their arms and lean forward slightly, can shake hands. It is also the distance at which healthy people make conversation. We all need to stop allowing people to stand closer than that, even if their native culture has conditioned them to feel comfortable with less distance between people. Cultures where people don't maintain a good healthy distance are also cultures where the average life expectancy is shorter than that of "cold, distant" Anglo-Americans.

* Putting desks and counters between people who need to converse on the job, and full-length walls among people who need to focus on their desk work, is a good way to keep infections from circulating around offices. That felt "need" to remind junior employees of their low status by jamming them up against the wall and letting people walk up behind their backs has got to go. Extroverts' compulsions will drive them to find other ways to make their idiotic little dominance displays and raise the blood pressure of everyone around them, but at least their disease germs can be minimized by forcing them to speak to even junior employees across desks, wait for computer monitors to be swivelled around for them to read what's on the screen without touching other people or their keyboards, and generally stay out of other people's personal space.

* "Total taboo on touching" needs to be obligatory at schools and workplaces, whether coronavirus or other kinds of virus need to be contained.

* Masks and veils evolved in many cultures, worldwide, for valid reasons. Although Americans aren't sympathetic to the idea that any gender group or other social group should be ordered to use them across the board, we should develop tolerance for the idea that individuals may want and need to screen their faces. Even if we are "eye thinkers" we can learn to gather our visual cues from people's eyes and voices while they cover their mouths.

* Even those U.S. baby boomers who don't remember reading it in the Childcraft Encyclopedia (Volume 8) will recognize Paul Engle's suggestion that the cliche "packed in like sardines" could be replaced with "packed in like kids in a school bus"...and the days when parents (or schools) allowed that to happen are gone, and should come no more. Seats on school buses should be equipped with seat belts that separate children by at least six feet. No child should ever again have to sit with its arms and legs jammed up against those of another child who is coughing and sneezing.

We can and should go back to work, in spite of the virus. We can and should make workplaces healthier places for everybody, too.

(This has been "Conservative Content" post 2 of 4.)

Official Warning: Saloli Is Not Sending E-Mail

Our official group site,, has been hacked by someone in Vietnam. Yahoo is refusing to acknowledge or fix the issue. Until further notice, DO NOT OPEN e-mail you might receive from salolianigodagewi. Saloli the Message Squirrel is NOT chattering. Report all e-mail from it as SPAM.

Yahoo is trying to use the coronavirus as an excuse to destroy its main reason for existing--free e-mail--and what I'm doing online this week is reclaiming documents I've stored on Yahoo e-mail, in anticipation of the need for everyone at this web site to delete and purge our Yahoo e-mail accounts. I don't want to do this, but Yahoo's travesty of "help" to stop the spammer is not giving me any confidence about anything else being a higher priority than removing all worthwhile information from Yahoo.

The whole Internet seems quite likely to self-destruct under the weight of corporate greed...I'd encourage all of you, Gentle Readers: If you've got a text message that your video-free cell phone will stop working and you can buy a new phone now...say, "I lived without a cell phone until the year 20-- and I'll live without one again." If you're seeing invitations to sign up for paid e-mail services before your free e-mail is hacked...say, "I lived without e-mail until the year 20-- and I'll live without it again."

Let the corporations pay for the epic fail of the Internet. You and I shouldn't have to. Weren't we all better off in the pre-Internet years? I'm looking forward to cashing in on my ability to type almost as fast on a standard (non-electric) typewriter as I do on a good computer keyboard...which is much much faster than I do on this pathetic worn-out laptop. Aren't you?

Monday, April 27, 2020

Mums to the Mums: Gratuitous Mothers Day Post

Following up on a tip from David French, whose "French Press" newsletter is usually worth reading...

Mothers Day is drawing near, and I am now officially worried about my mother.

This is the mother I didn't visit all winter, because this winter's flu just kept going around and around, and (as usual these days) my car pool list currently consists of 3 reliable drivers and 14 mostly or strictly passengers, and none of the drivers wanted to expose the more fragile passengers to flu. It was a funny strain of flu. I never came down with it but never built up total resistance to it. I'd be around someone who was coughing or complaining, and for the rest of the week, any time I felt chilly or tired, I'd feel my temperature just starting to rise--as usual--and also my blood pressure rising--as not usual. I'm not at much risk for classic cardiovascular disease, and instead of having my blood pressure rise during the day's work and having to lie down to rest like a classic cardiovascular patient, I'd wake up feeling hypertensive and have to get up and meditate to get my blood pressure down.

So I called one day in March to share these complaints with Mother, again, and she commiserated, and also, in her sweetly motherly way, let me know that she had been on her feet all day with someone who was down with the flu and was having Serious Chest Pains (possibly gas, but this lady was a classic cardiovascular patient so you never knew). And she had wanted to get to the health food store in time to make something special for the St. Patrick's Day dinner, and before the quarantine went into effect. And I said, well, I'd try, one more time, but I didn't think bringing Cousin A or Neighbor B along would be a good idea...again. We had been having this conversation since January.

And those were the last words I've heard her say.

If she were able to talk, she would have answered her phone or called from another one by now. If she were dead, someone would have called. That is how I know she's ill. Probably with pneumonia. Probably from last winter's flu. Though she also has osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise has kept her hips and legs solid but her ribs have cracked under her own weight. But cracked ribs would've healed by now.

The only flowers my mother has ever seemed to want in the house have been the ones her grandchildren brought from the garden, and flowers are not generally the best thing to send someone who has pneumonia.

However, for local lurkers whose mothers like cut flowers and do not have pneumonia, this message:

We have a floral wreath artist in Gate City. The sign says "Made By Hands" and the location is the same building this web site used when it had a physical location on Jackson Street, one block west of the traffic light.

You can visit the store at . The site opened slowly for Firefox because of all the pretty pictures, but it's legitimate, and if you like baskets packed with big pink flowers it's pretty.

You can walk in during regular business hours. There's seldom much danger of more than ten people crowding into a floral shop at one time. If you walk in you can order an arrangement that suits your mother's (or wife's, or grandmother's, or soon-to-be-a-graduate's, or any other flower lovers') don't have to be big and pink. Fresh flowers are the hot item in spring, but the store also sells wreaths and balloons and other pretty-pretties for people who are allergic to fresh flowers.

Florists have to pay bills too.

Yes, of course you can still support your local writer. You still should support your local writer. Six feet is the distance from which, as you propose a topic for a blog post, you can stretch your arm straight out toward me, and I can stretch my arm straight out toward you, and as each of us holds it by one end you can hand me a $5 bill.

The floral wreath artist has not handed me a $5 bill. Nor is she obligated to do that, because a local Republican did. What he asked for was some conservative content. Tom DeWeese shared a nice summary of "The Green New Deal" today (linked on Twitter), but that's his content. David French shared just the phrase "mums for the Mums," so this post expands on it. More conservative content will follow since what the Republican handed me was a $20 bill, actually.

What this post really needs is some pictures of big pink flowers, but I don't think Firefox is up to that. (Yes, you could also support your local writer with a gift of a new laptop; if it happens to have "old" Word, that will be much appreciated by my hack writing customers.)

So I'll sign off with this thought: If you order flowers in advance, you won't have to linger in a florist's shop when others want to come in. Do you readers' Mums like 'mums (chrysanthemums), or do they prefer roses, lilies, hydrangeas, or maybe daffodils?

Morgan Griffith on Congress amid Coronavirus

From U.S. Representative H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

The coronavirus outbreak has upended many of the ways we go about our lives. As a Member of Congress, I believe it must not alter the essential duty I was elected to perform: voting in person on legislation.
To be sure, many of the regular practices of my job have already changed.
When I am not in Washington for votes, hearings, and meetings, I would usually be traveling across the Ninth Congressional District to attend constituent meetings, events, and other responsibilities. I am still meeting with constituents, but by video or telephone conferencing now. I use these tools to confer with other Members of Congress and Trump Administration officials as well.
But changing the way voting on legislation is done raises serious concerns.
The House Democrat majority recently put forward a plan for a remote quorum and remote voting by proxy, and then shelved it. I am glad they did so.
This plan called for proxy voting on the House floor during a pandemic emergency period, in which a representative could submit a signed letter to the House clerk authorizing another representative to vote in his or her place as directed.
Other suggestions have incorporated technology to allow for remote voting. While I believe that technological innovation can solve many of our problems, this is not one of them.
Remote voting would possibly conflict with the Constitution, which requires a quorum to do business. There is no pandemic emergency exception to our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution.
Remote voting proposals are also out of line with our history.
The United States has faced many challenges and periods of difficulty in the past, yet Congress still met.
If anyone might have benefited from proxy voting in our history, it would have been Caesar Rodney, a representative of Delaware in the Second Continental Congress. Rodney was plagued by ill health, including gout, asthma, and a terminal cancerous growth on his face, and on July 1, 1776 was in Dover. But when he learned he was needed in Philadelphia to break the tie in the Delaware delegation on the question of independence from Britain, he rode by horseback through a stormy night to cast his vote on July 2 in favor of independence.
Congress met during the Civil War, even with Confederate territory directly across the Potomac. At nights, planks on some of the bridges that spanned the river were removed to foil raiders such as John Singleton Mosby, the “Gray Ghost.” At several points in the war, Confederate armies threatened to fall on the capital. But the work went on.
Even in the 1918 influenza epidemic, Congress met, although at times it lacked a quorum and so was not able to conduct business. Telephones existed, but nobody proposed that Congress just phone in votes.
Circumstances of grave danger and hardship did not put a long-term halt to congressional activity before, and I believe we can meet this challenge, too.
Beyond fulfilling our constitutional obligations, the legislative process depends on face-to-face personal interaction. We can be separated by six feet and wear masks, but this interaction is still essential.
In Washington, voting is one of the few occasions that brings everyone together. We ask for support on one another’s bills, exchange information, talk about families, friends, and hobbies, and build the relationships that ultimately help move the process forward.
Additionally, being present when big questions are raised can clarify, persuade, and inspire. Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death!” speech would not have the impact it did if he spoke in an empty room or sent it to be read.
I have heard numerous speeches or arguments during my service that shaped my thinking on an issue. Of those, I particularly remember an impassioned speech by then-Delegate Kenny Melvin, a Democrat. His speech took what was expected to be a close vote and turned it into a 97-3 proposition. I was not the only one whose mind was changed. Remote voting would have hindered or entirely obstructed these occasions.
The Virginia House of Delegates recently considered an even broader remote voting proposal and fortunately rejected it. Apparently, enough of them recalled the power of live, in-person speeches like Henry’s at St. John’s Church just a few blocks away.
The coronavirus outbreak has called for changes in our behavior, and some of these can be implemented in Congress without significantly interfering with our work. But the most essential task, voting, must be done in person.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405, my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671, or my Washington office at 202-225-3861. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at

Editorial comment: It's interesting that, even within the same culture, humans learn to communicate in different ways. In cyberspace, I know there's a whole subculture of word people who prefer to conduct meetings and even socialize with friends by telephone...and for us the idea of video-phones, though potentially useful in some situations, is a non-starter. ("Even on the phone, people would be saying 'Oh your face twitched, what does that mean? It has to be something about me!' No way," we say, or "Even on the phone, I get to say unforgivable things and claim they were jokes because I pulled my face a certain way? Is that something other people want?" Though the face-to-face stuff may be useful in conversations with people who use it intelligently, and even exciting with people we find especially attractive, it's easily replaced by the sound of the voice in phone conversations.) We are a minority, and I'm not sure to what extent the word-thinking minority overlaps with the not-nearly-so-much-a-minority of introverts. We also tended to be the people who earned the top grades at school, which is sometimes confused with the much broader category of people who are generally intelligent.

Making all communication electronic could give us the chance to demand that all communication be done our way. And I'm sure Congressman Griffith is only one of the most articulate of the masses of people who would hate that...

As a word-nerd reading this e-mail I initially thought, "A little practice in the school radio lab would have taken care of that reaction." Then I thought, "No. I liked the 'Read the Bills Act' that's been a primary issue for our e-friend Jim Babka. Bills presented in Congress should stick to one topic, and it should be possible for the sponsors of those bills to read them in one day, so that they can be debated and voted on intelligently. We need no more idiocies like poor old Nancy Pelosi blurting out 'We've got to pass [this bloated rambling mess of a bill] to find out what's in it!' We need to know that in order for a bill to become a law, every word of it has been read and heard, if not by every one of us at least by people we trust." In order for that to happen, the members of Congress have to be able to communicate with one another, as well as with their constituents, in the way that works for them.  

Have you received those messages notifying you that your totally video-free cell phone will stop working? (All these years I've thought cell phones were a valuable safety device, but yes, I can live without one.) What about the e-mails warning of an effort to shut down the U.S. Postal Service? There are people who want to be able not only to overhear conversations that don't involve them, but to watch those conversations. They want to force all communication to be done their way.

The Seventh-Day Adventists have long been saying that the biblical book of Daniel foretells that the United States will eventually become the most oppressive tyranny on Earth and will destroy life as we know it (but that's okay, because that's when Jesus will literally swoop down out of the clouds and reclaim the Earth). Sort of a Left Behind scenario, yes, only they say most of the Christians will be on Earth to suffer through it.

What the book of Daniel plainly says is that even its author didn't know exactly what was going to happen. I have never accepted or rejected any interpretation of the book of Daniel. When I attended a Seventh-Day Adventist school and church I was asked, not officially but by classmates who worried about this, to choose my fellow cave dwellers in the event that religious persecution forces us to hide in caves. I used to think that whole scenario was far-fetched and mainly useful as a plot line for science fiction that was mostly not as well written as Left Behind; recent events are making it seem much more probable than it used to seem.