Sign of the time: Facebook, in the interest of bringing people together online in spite of physical isolation, has made available a “care” reaction. In German, it’s called umarmung, which means “hug.” I’m now virtually hugging friends who complain about having to stay home.
The Seattle Times has an article featuring recipes for canned sardines, because canned tuna is getting hard to find. The big takeaway: Get the expensive European imports packed in oil and grill them until the skin is crispy. Mmm, I want to try that on toast with melted provolone.
Just when the only places you can buy department store goods are online warehouse stores like Amazon, those get hit with a May Day strike over work conditions.
At last report, 9 miles of Seattle streets have been made off limits to motor vehicles so pedestrians can stretch their legs outdoors without being crunched together on sidewalks. Some genius in the city government came up with characterizing these streets as having been opened to pedestrians rather than closed to vehicles. They should get an award. I suggest calling it a Seattle Government Spinny and making it an annual thing.
There are surprises around every corner these days. I was reading a story in The Guardian about armed protests against coronavirus lockdown at the Michigan Capitol. It included photos of rifle-carrying protesters looking down from the gallery of the state house, and the fact that at least one legislator was prompted to wear a bullet-proof vest in the chamber. Scrolling down in the story, I came to this near the end: “It is legal to openly carry firearms inside Michigan’s state capitol building.”
Really? Are you kidding me, Guardian? The Michigan lawmakers lack an adequate sense of self-preservation. I guess that’s their business, but I think they should consider the feelings of other members of the public who might also like to visit the Capitol besides armed, angry protesters.
If it were up to me, I wouldn’t let protesters in the chambers with tomatoes or eggs, much less rifles. Bags of goose feathers would be OK, but no tar. No smoking, vaping or chewing tobacco either. And spit out that chewing gum.
Another ongoing event involving guns and coronavirus is playing out in Maryland. Maryland landed a deal with South Korea for half a million test kits. They mobilized the state national guard to take control of the delivery and hide it in an undisclosed location. It was actually said that there was a concern the federal government might try to seize the kits. They’re calling the site where the kits are being stored a Fort Knox of coronavirus test kits. If the feds find it and try to move in, what would the national guard do? Just block the feds’ way and stand there, rifles aimed, as federal hippies poke flowers in their barrels? That would be a cool scene.
I never in my life thought I would say this: The federal government is interfering with the states too much. I’ve turned into a states-rights-er.
But, come on. President Trump is threatening to withhold coronavirus relief to sanctuary states. A big problem with that is the funds for federal coronavirus relief ultimately come from federal income taxes, and the sanctuary states pay their fair share.
I’ve discussed the ramifications of such tactics before. If the federal government continually uses withholding of funds — funds the states generate — to subvert state policies, it may become necessary for states, for the maintenance of any shred of autonomy, to include people who stop paying their federal income taxes among those offered sanctuary.
Washington may need to enact a state income tax, not in addition to the federal income tax but in lieu of it. So the state can provide its own relief.
I want to end on a more peaceful note. One of my favorite things to do in times of stress is to take long walks. My preference is to use public transit to convey me to some place I’m unfamiliar with, miles from home, and deliberately meander away from there until I feel lost, and then try to find my way home on foot without looking at street signs.
I know Seattle and its surroundings too well to pull off the getting lost trick here, but maybe I could shed some stress by finding and walking that 9 miles of liberated streets.
Read more in the May 6-12, 2020 issue.