I was born late in Franklin D.Roosevelt’s second term. There are those in the media who are comparing our current president’s accomplishments and aspirations with FDR’s, which seems almost unbelievable at this point. From my perspective, at age 82, I can’t help wondering if, FDR having been president at my birth, Joseph R.Biden, Jr. might be my last. No. I do not have a terminal illness, but let’s face it, how much longer do I have?

Even comparing the two at this point in Biden’s term appears to be ludicrous, but it seems to be happening. There are similarities. An old metaphor from my Navy days speaks of the relieving watch officer being handed a “wet bag” (this is well before the widespread use of plastic bags…). The bag is handed off to the relieving officer, and the bottom falls off, spilling the contents…you get the drift. Both men were handed wet bags. Roosevelt faced a collapsed financial and banking structure, massive unemployment, near starvation of much of the citizenry, to name a few. Biden was handed a pandemic which killed off somewhere north of a half million Americans. While vaccines had (miraculously) been developed, no mechanism had been set up to get them into folks. Shutting down the country to try to slow the spread had resulted in massive layoffs and unemployment.

FDR was lightly regarded by much of the pundits when first elected. Not much was expected by many of this upper crust lightweight, who, by the end of his first term had many complaining that he was “a traitor to his class”. Biden, on the other hand, was largely to be a placeholder. At 78 years of age when inaugurated, he was considered a genial bumbler. His greatest virtue in the eyes of many was that he wasn’t Trump. Unlike FDR, he was a product of an Irish-American working class family, a state university alum, the first since Ronald Reagan not to have Ivy League creds.

When it became time to build up the military, FDR was shocked to find that a large percentage of men called up for service failed to qualify physically, due to inadequate diet, caused by the Great Depression. Biden inherited modern day breadlines, 21st century style, consisting of long lines of cars waiting for food baskets.

One major difference is that Biden seems to deal in trillions, while FDR spent millions. There are, of course, about three-plus times as many of us. Both men faced flak about overspending, this from the other party which, then as now, has no problem bestowing lower taxes on corporations; a rising tide lifts all boats, after all, (except I have never seen this work).

There are other similarities, and differences, between the two. Biden has only had the job for about four months as I write this. A good start. Let’s see what happens.


The earth is drowning, or maybe being buried, in trash. Pope Francis, for one, has deplored our use of the planet as a “garbage dump”. Many of us would be glad to reduce much of this stuff by recycling. Most of us, however, don’t have a clue as to how to do it effectively.

In my senior living complex, we are (sort of) set up for recycling. Our kitchens

are equipped with dual pockets for trash bags, one for trash, the other for recyclables.

Trash (and recyclables) are picked up five days a week, out of a single trash container. The same white kitchen bags are used for each. Nobody looks inside to see what is there. There are trash rooms on each floor, each having a receptable for “rubbish” and “recycling”. Works fine on the trash collectors days off, not so much the rest of the time. One wonders whether building codes are being prepped for eventual adoption of mandatory recycling, or a fig leaf for inaction. (The complex I live in is less than four years old).

Then there’s the issue of what should be recycled. Not as simple as it seems. Plastics, for one, should be recycled. What kinds? According to the U.S. EPA website, there are specific types which can be, and others which cannot. Plastic grocery bags, Saran wraps and black plastic are not acceptable. Also, there must not be any food waste clinging to the item. Who knew? Aluminum foil and cans are valuable because they save considerable energy over producing the metal by electrolysis of bauxite ore. In an earlier life, I taught college chemistry students that a large percentage of the output of an electric power plant in Frederick, MD was consumed by an aluminum refinery nearby.

How many of us know anything about this? We’ve our all seen the TV ads about how the plastic bottles can be recycled into useful stuff. Unfortunately, nowhere near enough is being done to prevent whole sections of the oceans from being dumps of plastic waste. Recycling in most localities is voluntary. In places like New York City, it is mandatory. This came about late in the last century when Virginia stopped sccepting the city’s waste (Virginia is for lovers, or was it the Garbage State??). Sooner or later, we have to come to grips with solid waste; get serious about it. The planet is not getting any bigger.

While we’re (not) at it, we need to recapture CO2. The substance is acidifying oceans and destroying coral reefs, among other things. So what? Coral reefs mitigate storm surges, which have become increasingly deadly as the planet warms. The technology to do this currently exists, but is too expensive. So is extinction……

I often wonder whether our species is really capable of reversing some of the mess we have created. One hopeful precedent is the salvation of the ozone layer about a quarter century ago. Seems like chlorofluoro carbon compounds, widely used in air conditioners at that time, had decimated a layer of ozone, which filtered harmful ultraviolet light from the sun. The compounds were banned from use in many nations, and the layer seems to have restored itself. Yes, we can, so it would seem. Perhaps we can do this on a larger scale and save ourselves. But we need to start soon!

Before I Check Out

Before I check out……also, to be able to converse with my adult children, I need to


What is the difference between 4G LTE and 5G LTE? Apparently, it will change my life forever. You hear about it every cell provider commercial, so it must be true. What exactly is Bluetooth? Incidentally, has anybody noticed that cellphones are being introduced faster than they can educate the reps in the AT&T and Apple stores on how to work them?

Medical terms abound in drug ads. I must ask my doctor what is “medullary thyroid cancer”. How abour “certain fungal infections”? I have had AFIB for a quarter century; not sure what that is, either. And what on earth is Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome Type 2? Could I take the med if I have Type 1? The people in these drug ads seem so well off, and having such fun! Let the good times roll……….

On to popular culture. What is WOKE? Is it the same as Cancel Culture? I grew up before there was an Internet. No Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. Phones were hardwired. No text messages. Imagine that! This gave us a chance to be opionated, bigoted, stupid, etc. before taking the show on the road. Yet today, you are judged by every utterance, at any age or stage of maturity. I often wonder at these politicians who spouted all forms of nonsense at tender ages – on line, of course. Did they really think it would never come out?

What goes around, comes around. I came across another term recently; POC. Stands for Person of Color. I well remember growing up in the 1950’s. Darker hued persons were “colored people”. The term fell into disfavor in the 60’s. Well now it is a respectful descriptor or label. I only wish we didn’t need these terms anymore.

For many more years that I’m comforable admitting to, I have heard that Product so-and-so “is far superior to the leading brand”. Well, if it is so, why is the leading brand still leading?

All I can think of (remember), for now.


Of all the retirement gigs I have enjoyed, none have been as satisfying as my time teaching community college. As noted in a previous post, I taught chemistry (the central science, “the toughest course in high school”, etc.). Community college was a valuable start in higher education for a couple of my family members.

Without this sounding like a poorly written resume, I taught courses in three different systems in Maryland and Virginia, all as an “adjunct professor”, spanning about two decades. This fancy, high sounding title has been called the “stoop labor” of the industry. It didn’t pay all that well, there was no tenure in any meaningful sense, and no job security. It was, however, the highlight of my working career.

I also taught in high school for several years, including a year of Virginia Governors.School. I taught undergraduates for a year or two at what is now called University of Mary Washington. My students at the various “junior colleges”, though, were special to me. As a group, these people tend to be a little older. Many had been through the school of hard knocks. They were more focused on why they were there, and what they wanted as a professional goal. Near the end of my “career”, I taught mainly nurse wannabees. The course was titled ”Chemistry for Nurses “, and was the only chemistry course needed to qualify as an RN. (By contrast, a niece of mine took several chemistry courses at Villanova University in the mid-70s for her degree). To further add insult, the course had no laboratory!

These kids (pardon me for use of the term; at my age, anybody under age 60 or so is a kid to me) had more complicated lives and struggles than most late-teen undergrads. I tried to be as flexible with assignments as I could be. One overarching characteristic of most of them was “hustle”. They were anxious to better their professional lives.

I had a few rules:

-No question is stupid, except the ones you censor yourself from asking.

-I assigned homework problems. You didn’t need to do them, unless you were interested in succeeding. Exams were based on the assigned problems.

-Exams were open book. Life is an open book. Having to memorize physical constants and facts is a waste of brain power.

-What to call me? Mister, or Professor. Don’t call me “Doctor”. I haven’t earned it, and I worked for a living.

Unfortuntely, I saw a lengthy article in The Washington Post earlier this week. Seems like community college enrollment is down nationwide. The pandemic may have something to do with this. I sure hope so. We need all the help we can get. Now that we seem, as a nation, to have loosened restraints on participation by women in professions, it’s time to get guys back into the game. Our survival as a species may very well depend on it. Male participation has been dropping in the professions, dating back to when I was teaching. (When I was hired to teach in high school, lack of participation by girls in science classes was flagged to me as a problem). Have times ever changed!

The drop in enrollment in these institutions comes as proposals are being considered at the federal level to provide free (or reduced) tuition. This is part of increasing awareness of our need for skilled workers. Back in my day, more than a half century ago, high school graduation was sufficient for most occupations paying a livable wage. This just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Arms and the Man

I hate guns. I don’t have any problems with the Second Amendment, target shooting, hunting, self defense (if you know what your’re doing) or any legitimate use of them, I just don’t care for them.

During my naval service, I was once required to carry one in an official capacity. I was summoned to the XO’s office and entrusted with an important mission- seems that one of our crew was busted in a small town near Boston. I was to take another sailor in a government car to retrieve the offender. I was ordered to carry a pistol because the sailor had been reportedly drunk, violent, etc. My first thought was, what am I going to with it?

Anyhow, we made the trip south. Upon arrival, I asked the cop in charge what my sailor had done to warrant being locked up in the local slam overnight. Turns out he was caught speeding (something like 55 in a 30mph zone). Unfortunately, he couldn’t come up with the $50 to release him on bail (this was near the end of the month). Was he violent? Drunk? Did he resist arrest? None of the above. I settled matters and took him into my custody.

Upon arrival back to the ship, I reported to XO, whose small office was next to the captain’s stateroom. After a short post-mortem with my superior, I prepared to leave. NOT SO FAST: The Commanding Officer, having heard the conversation, entered, with the air of an avenging angel, “What’s this I hear about speeding? At 55, you’re not driving the car, you’re aimimg it! I want this man at mast immediately”.

For the uninitiated, Captain’s Mast, aka Commanding Officer’s Non-Judicial Punishment, is the mildest form of dealing with offenses. It ts convened by Command to deal with relatively minor infractions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). More serious charges can be dealt with through various levels of Courts Martial. (Does any of this suggest a kangaroo court?) In any case, the sailor was found “guilty”, and reduced in rank from Boiler Tender 3rd Class Petty Officer to pay grade E-3 Boiler Tender Fireman. Of speeding.

A quote attributed to John F. Kennedy asserts that “life is unfair”. I should mention that I often drove well in excess of 55mph on the same interstate. I was stopped at least once, but having been an Officer and Gentleman, I was never charged, let alone tossed into the clink for the night.

All of this occurred in the early 60’s (Vietnam Era), when nobody thanked us for our service, I managed to get through a few more years of duty, without having had to fire a weapon, or, worse yet, get shot with one.

Wisdom from my Father

My father is long gone now (which is to be expeced, since I am past 80, myself). He was a man of very few words, which, I have finally begun to learn, is the secret to being listened to. Many of the things he said to me only make sense now, having (hopefully) learned a few things, myself.

He was, for all his working life, in the hospitality trade (for the most part, a waiter and maitre’d) in New York City, and a proud union man. One of the things he told me was that strikes rarely benefit the strikers; he felt that it was all but impossible to recoup wages lost. Like most rational people of his time, he felt his most important role in life was to support his family.

Wars, he always said, were fought over money, irrespective of the patriotic patina governments always painted on them to justify their rationale.

He was never a fan of insurance. Life insurers were basically betting on you to stay alive, so they wouldn’t have to pay. After all, paying out benefits is not part of a good business plan. To this day, I marvel at the chutzpah of these TV ads that promise to replace any of your appliances if a “covered” part or system fails. Somehow, it’s never the one which fails in real life .

The main thing he taught me regarding politics is one I have never made sense of: the Republican Party. (“Roger, the Republicans are the party of the rich; the Democrats are the party of the working man”) . Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is a democracy, the majority rules. Aren’t there more poor people out there than rich folks? If so, the GOP should have been out of the electoral business ages ago. Ya think?

These words were uttered to me in the late 1940’s. The old man had to be wrong. But, guess what? He was right then, and is still right today!

In a previous post, I wondered whether the republic created by our Founders could be kept. I see, in events of the just-completed presidential election, real hope that the present generations want very much to keep it. Although it took a pandemic to do it, much of the Republican voter suppression was shattered, and we got a huge vote total out of it. Yes, it took a long time to count the votes, and an unofficial result finally became available on the Saturday after Election Day (even though our President has not acceded to the inevitable). Counting continues, and the President-elect’s popular vote margin has crossed the five million margin, which constitutes a landslide, given the bitterly divided state of our politics.

Can We Keep It?

Benjamin Franklin is said to have remarked to the founders of our country, “Gentlemen, we have a republic…. if we can keep it”.

The Founders had developed a totally new concept – that the people would choose their leaders. The prevailing model at the time was heriditary monarchy. You were born into leadership. Your sole qualification. Did this ever make any sense? You had kings who were certifiably insane, feeble minded, or maybe just plain incompetent.

So the Founders decided this might be a better model – the people select the leaders. With certain limitations. We had a popular vote for a chief executive (president), but not directly. Instead, the selection was to be made by a group of wise men (white, property owners), convening as an “Electoral College”. Can’t trust ordinary folk with such responsibility (the masses are asses, after all). The electorate consisted of white men (can’t trust women, or brown/black people, at best three fifths of a person, anyway).

Yes, perfection, then as now, was the enemy of the good. Several compromises had to be made so this would fly. For example, the Founders created a bicameral legislature, one house of which allocated two “senators” per state, regardless of population. This results in the contemporary absurdity where Wyoming, with fewer than one million residents has the same representation as California (population approaching 40 million).

Can we keep it?

The Founders also did not provide for the possibility of political parties. At least one of them, representing mostly white men, sees itself becoming a permanent minority as the electorate becomes increasingly brown (and female). Its principal survival mechanism lies in preventing people from voting. This is nothing new. It took well over a century for women to win the right to vote. Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation granted the franchise to former slaves in 1862, more or less. However, former states of the Confederacy enacted “Jim Crow” statutes, such as poll taxes and literacy tests aimed at black voters. It took until the late 1960’s to force these states to eliminate these impediments.

Can we keep it?

Current voter suppression tactics are a lot more subtle. In order to discourage voter fraud (which doesn’t seem to exist in any meaningful sense), “red” states have been known to:

  1. Eliminate voting sites in minority areas
  2. Limit drop boxes to one location per county, regardless of size or population
  3. Purge voting rolls
  4. Require ex-felons to pay court costs and other fines before being granted ballots
  5. Intimidate voters by “monitoring” polling places

Employment of supporters in polling places (goons?) is especially chilling. The vote tabulation is expected to extend well past Election Day, raising fears that the President will declare the election “rigged”. This might lead to invalidation of Electoral College tallies, freeing states to appoint electors opposed to the (invalid?) popular vote count in many states (there is, apparently, no Constitutional requirement that selection of electors must conform to popular vote totals). This could conceivably force the election into the House of Representatives. Republican controlled state legislatures outnumber Democratic ones 26-24.

Can we keep it?

The Electoral College, itself, has installed the popular vote loser five times, including twice in this young century (George W. Bush in 2000, and the current incumbent). No, America, we did not elect this clown (he lost the vote by almost 3

million in 2016). We must rid our political system of this anachronism.

Can we keep it?

The incumbent’s desire to cling to office appears mostly tied to the distinct possibility that, once he is again a private citizen, he will be subject to numerous legal actions which could cost him his freedom, not to mention much of his personal fortune. He appears to have no interest in a second term, other than to ward off (or postpone) his personal legal and financial troubles. Who does he owe $400M to, anyway?

Can we keep it?

The Worst Ever

He never thought he’d win. ( I lived in New York City many years ago; I remember a mayoral election where conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr ran as a third party candndate. Somebody in the press asked him what would be his first act as mayor if he was elected. Without hesitation, he replied “Demand a Recount). I don’t think he ever really wanted the job; he doesn’t seem to do much, anyway.

Our election system (other than the Electoral College) serves us well – until it doesn’t. Since we are not a European parlimentary system, we cannot remove a president by a mere “No Confidence” vote Even if we could, we’d still be stuck with Mike Pence (could he have picked someone else? Probably not. Would you want to work for him?).

I knew we were in trouble as I listened to his inaugural address (probably the most disgruntled in history). This was followed by the flap over the size of his inaugural crowd, vis a vis Obama’s. We learned some new terms: Fake News, and Alternate Facts.

Current mysteries: What does Vladimir Putin have on him? What does he have to hide? What is in his tax returns he so desperately fights to keep secret? (Despite his distaste for the job, he appears to want a second term if only to keep from going to prison).

The administration is blessed with skilled, loyal family members in high places. (seems almost Mafia-like, doesn’t it)? Jared the all purpose go-to guy recently coined the phrase “overconfident idiot” (takes one to know one). If you are not part of the family, chances are you’re “acting”. At least several of his cabinet secretaries are serving illegally, having had their 210 days expire. Does anybody care???

The recent spate of appearances of Bob Woodward on cable talkies lead me to wonder: Is this for real? Woodward is the absolute master of the art of getting folks to speak their minds (or spill their guts). Did he really think he was going to charm Woodward? (see overconfident idiot, above).We did learn some interesting stuff about (to paraphrase Senator Howard Baker) “what did the president know, and when did he know it”. He seems to have handled Woodward about as skillfully as he handles Putin.

In the midst of a pandemic, why the desperate and continuous attempts to abolish Obamacare? Might it have to do with pressure from insurance companies? And, by the way, the “great job” he’s doing to manage the virus has resulted in the death of over 200 thousand Americans (that we know of).

The military (traditionally a GOP stronghold) has been dissed. Are they really suckers and losers? Of course, the fake news is reporting this; he never said that……

These are only the highlights (or lowlights, depending on your point of view). I could go on, ad nauseam. Several Democrats in high places have suggested we “build back better” (Lord knows we have a great deal on our plates to rebuild). One place to start might be abolition of the Electoral College. This anachronism makes a mockery of the very definition of democracy. Our founders seemed to feel that the people could be trusted to choose their own leaders, up to a point, but needed to be protected from any rash judgments. The College, I think, was intended to assemble an elite group of (white, property owning), wise men to temper any foolishness on the part of the electorate. How has this worked out for us? In this short century we have had two presidents (both Republicans) who received fewer votes than their Democratic opponents. In the case of the current one, about three million fewer!

We continue, in fits and starts, efforts to facilitate voting for most citizens, The GOP seems to want to reduce the number of voters, perhaps in the interest of self preservation (or, maybe they are smarter than the rest of us).

FDA, Back In The Day

The Food and Drug Administration was basically founded by Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, as a successor to the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Chemistry. I was recruited out of college as a chemist. In many ways, the 1960’s were the golden age of federal government. I was well trained; although the pay wasn’t great, I was given really good scientific equipment and a wide variety of stuff to work on. I was hired into the New York office. The mission involved examining foods and drugs, as the name implies, to ensure they met labeling requirements (for example, was the stuff in the drug store really aspirin, was its strength what the label said it was, were there any dangerous impurities present).

The same year they hired me, they also hired Dr. Frances Kelsey at FDA HQ, to evaluate NDA’s (new drug applications). Dr. Kelsey’s first assignment involved a drug called Thalidomide, a sleeping pill and tranquilizer in wide use in Europe. The manufacturer wanted to market the drug in the U.S. Dr. Kelsey carefully studied the data presented in the NDA, and found a number of red flags. Despite considerable pressure from the manufacturer, Dr.Kelsey refused to allow thalidomide to be marketed. Eventually, reports began to circulate of really terrible birth defects of numerous children of pregnant mothers who had taken the drug in Britain and West Germany. The babies were born lacking arms and legs. I shudder to think of pressure which might be brought to bear in this age of Twitter and the Internet (even Dr. Anthony Fauci receives death threats these days). By saving uncounted numbers of children from this “side effect” of this otherwise useful drug, the nation owed Dr. Kelsey big time, to say the least.

In my own career, I was included with several others in an attempt to straighten out a troubled drug manufacturer. I don’t know whether the outfit is still in business. However, we had looked into complaints from consumers who had taken the manufacturer’s eyedrops containing epinephrine. In order to prevent stinging pain in the eyes of users, the stuff was formulated to keep the pH (acidity level) between 4.0 and 7.0.

Without going into the somewhat complicated chemistry, pH of aqueous solutions (water based) ranges from 1-14. pH 1 would be strongly acid, while pH 14 is strongly alkaline. Distilled water’s pH is about 7 (usually said to be “neutral”). Any formulation for use in the eye needs to be close to “neutral” ; the specification for pH between 4 and 7 is established in the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) monograph for the preparation.

Epinephrine,unfortunately, combines with oxygen and turns brown in water solutions. Nobody wants to add brown liquid into eyes. The formulation needs to be combined with a chemical which acts as an oxygen scavenger, so to speak, to prevent it from turning brown. Once the product has been formulated, it undergoes quality control testing in the firm’s lab. Initially, pH specs were within limits; however, pH levels of samples tested a few days later were measured at about 1.2, strongly acidic. Talk about stinging! Instead of recalling batches such as these, the company sold them, based on the initial pH levels, and did nothing to correct or modify procedures to stabilize them.

I brought samples back to our lab. The oxygen scavenger they were using was sodium bisulfite, which, unfortunately, reacts with oxygen dissolved in water to form sodium bisulfate, which is strongly acidic. Turns out the reaction could be stopped if the water used was de-oxygenated by simply bubbling nitrogen into it for a few minutes. Who knew? We were able to show that formulations made with nitrogen saturated water retained correct pH levels almost indefinitely.

No big deal, compared with the prevention of thousands of birth defects. Civil servants do stuff like this almost every day, even if nobody knows. The FDA’s independence from politics is being threatened these days (we need to have a Covid-19 vaccination by November or else!). People like Dr.Kelsey are obstructionists! We need them, and in this current climate, they are becoming harder to recruit.

More Covid-19 Random Thoughts

Previously on Covid-19 (April 2020):

  • We were starting to reopen. US death toll, about 20K. Flights from Europe were largely prohibited. “Anybody who wants a test can get one”.
  • Some potentially helpful thoughts were coming out of White House (Clorox kills germs, almost immediately – couldn’t we look into getting some into bodies? Maybe if we could mitigate some of the unhelpful side effects, like corrosiveness, toxicity….)
  • Hydroxychloroquine (still that?). Just because numerous controlled trials showed it didn’t work doesn’t make it true, does it?
  • It will go away, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Here in early August, some things have changed:

  • US death toll has risen to 160K, or thereabouts. MAGA, indeed!! We lead the world: Just don’t plan to fly to Europe anytime soon. We’ve gone from Shining City on the Hill to the world’s pariah. Although there are improved treatment options, no vaccine yet. Toolbox, as they say, still limited to social distancing, masks and testing, such as it exists. (It seems to have increased the number of cases, according to WH). Also, how good is testing if one needs a week or more to get results? Makes contact tracing much more difficult (what is that anyway?).

The economy seems to be getting worse. Since the number of cases has burgeoned, early opening states have had to close again, throwing more people out of work. Our solons on Capitol Hill can’t seem to agree on how (or whether) to put some Federal dollars out there, so that poor people can survive. The relief initially provided (moratorium on evictions, $600 weekly on unemployment) has expired. Throwing people out of homes benefits neither landlord nor tenant. GOP folks (some of them, at least) worry about disincentives to work if we’re too kind to the poor. In the meantime nothing gets done.

Seems to me that the nation needs to attack this situation (much as we did during WWII) on a holistic basis. Some ideas:

  1. We can’t restore the economy in any meaningful sense until we control the virus. We need to adopt nationwide steps to close down, big time, for maybe 6-8 weeks. The major means remain social distancing and mask wearing – MANDATORY – NO EXCEPTIONS! Never mind this nonsense about individualism, freedom. As the cliché says, we’re in this together. We need to enforce this, perhaps ruthlessly. Such a policy would involve significant economic suffering. We need to alleviate this by, to put it bluntly, throwing money after it. It’s long past time for the feds to put money where their collective mouths are! This will involve a few trillion dollars we can’t afford, except that we have to. It will cost less in the long run. Let the printing presses roll!
  2. We can’t open schools until we get this thing under control. If we close up until it’s controlled (see Item 1) we can open late. It’s too dangerous to open now, not only for students but teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, etc.
  3. We can do this! We did it after Pearl Harbor. We need to take a holistic approach. Look at what needs to be done, step by step, to support people no longer working. Do we need contract tracers? Lots of them? Let’s recruit them form among the unemployed. Let’s do some infrastructure repairs while we have so many unemployed people.
  4. Don’t hold your breath about getting a vaccine anytime soon. Even if we do, it must be proven safe as well as effective. This takes time. You can’t rush this, you can’t cut corners. We do have a significant minority of the citizenry convinced, regardless of scientific evidence, that vaccines cause autism. Makes one wonder if this is a “designer” bug, as contagious and harmful as it appears to be. Hmm…

Unfortunately, we sorely need leadership, FDR style, from the federal government. The present administration seems to have given up, thrown in the towel. We can’t seem to get this chief executive to even invoke the Defense Production Act. At times like this, I wish we had a European system, where we could take a “no confidence” vote. Shutting the economy has worked in many nations (cf.South Korea, Japan); God knows we couldn’t have screwed this up any worse if we tried.