World Health Organization starts using the phrase "physical distancing" in place of "social distancing," and boy is that overdue! "Social distancing" always implied, certainly to me, that you were supposed to completely isolate yourself from other people, and boy wouldn't Our Glorious Elites like it if we were all completely isolated from each other! That has always been the downside of physical distancing -- I discussed this in a little more depth on Monday -- and we still have to beware of it. And let's not get too excited about social media filling in the gaps; yes, if this pandemic had happened in 1979 and we'd practiced physical distancing we'd have suffered much worse for it, but social media can be just as much a distraction as a help. I would hope we all know how to connect with and relate to each other by now.
Katie Bo Williams at DefenseOne explains why our President still isn't using the Defense Production Act to ramp up productions of ventilators and respirators (among other things). I was ready to say the answer was "because you can't prolong the drama by actually solving the problem!" But Ms. Williams's answer -- that our President really believes TEH FREE MARKETZ!!!!! can do the job better than our government, even though it's not doing anywhere near as good a job as he says it is -- is better, even if it leads to the same result, i.e., prolonging the drama.
In a related note, author Max Brooks explains on NPR exactly why our President is wrong not to have invoked the Defense Production Act already. Key statement: our President "is spinning some sort of tale about...black helicopters coming in and taking over factories. That's not how it works at all. What happens is the federal government has the network to identify where the production chain is and how to help the private sector work through this, because the private sector doesn't know. And as an example, I have a World War II rifle made by the Smith Corona typewriter company. Smith Corona worked with the federal government to then partner up with the Winchester Company, to then share resources and to share tools and talent to then produce the rifles that we needed. That's how it works. It's not some sort of KGB coming in and taking over everything. It is guidance and streamlining. And only the federal government has the experience to know how to do that." Of course, it's much easier to claim BIG GUBMINT KNOWS TEH NOTHINGZ!!!! when you populate your Administration with know-nothings. And again, I could have written exactly the same sentence about Tha Bush Mobb.
Nick Sholders at In These Times describes "How White Conservatism Stole Country Music." It ain't a long and winding road from pain to nostalgia to bitterness, of course, but the critical moment seems to have come a little less a hundred years ago, with the segregation of blues and country in the marketplace, even though both musics derive from rich and diverse sources -- if you remember how '80s classic rock stations played virtually no black artists aside from Jimi Hendrix, you'll have a sense of how that worked. We also tend to think of rural America (and therefore country music) as white, even though the slide guitar is a Hawaiian instrument and the banjo originated in West Africa.
Finally, Sasha Abramsky at The Nation provides a decent summary of how His Assholiness, our President, has been "managing" the coronavirus crisis in the last week or so. Spoiler alert: by blaming everyone else for his mistakes and causing bad things to happen. "(T)wo months...that could have been spent building up stockpiles of medical supplies" could be one of his epitaphs, but note well that in addition to ignoring unemployed airline workers as he tries to bail out their bosses and letting the virus fester in overcrowded concentration camps, he recalled all Peace Corps workers from overseas and then fired them -- because some Peace Corps volunteer made a joke at his expense once? I don't know, but it really might be for that small a reason, given that he's that small a man.