Saturday, July 04, 2020

Not Really a Weekend Reading Post

We're at the start of our "vacation at home" - so I am not going to write a full post today. I am trying to relax and get into a little bit of a vacation mood. I have only been moderately successful so far.

This post from Josh Marshall sums up how I feel about our situation right now. But dwelling on that will not get me in a vacation mood.

It is the 4th of July, and it is going to be perfect beach weather here. Every San Diegan I know is planning to stay home, because our beaches are almost certainly full of people from surrounding areas that have a higher rate of COVID-19 than we do (and our rate has been going up - on Monday we will land on the state list of counties that have to shut down indoor dining and some other things).

But if I dwell on that, I won't get in a vacation mood.

This essay perfectly states the decision we face about reopening schools. Here's the argument in a nutshell:

"If we want schools to open in a few months and stay open, we need to keep community transmission low. The best way to do that is to suppress the spread of the virus. That means looking at what is reopening and when, and figuring out whether those sectors of the economy are really more important than schools. All reopening will likely increase community transmission to some degree."

I want to print it out and mail copies to the local politicians who are prioritizing opening businesses. I want to tell them that if my 10 year old has to do school online this year, I may find that I have to ask for reduced hours at work so that I can give her the attention she needs to have online schooling succeed - which would mean I'll make less money. Which will mean we'll order in less, and perhaps put the solar panels we're planning to get on hold. Take those decisions and multiply them by all the kids in school and tell me that won't hurt the economy. The idea that the only thing that matters for the economy is reopening as many businesses as possible was always magical thinking from people without the ability to think through the downstream consequences.

And I'm extremely lucky to have a job that would give me the reduced hours and not just tell me it is full time or nothing.

Oops, there goes my vacation mood again.

In other topics: I found Ezra Klein's interview with Nicholas Carr really interesting. They talk about how various types of communication technologies change our brains. It is a conversation grounded in the research we have on the topic and also in what we know from the history of past communication technology changes.

This is one of my favorite poems, and it appeared in my timeline yesterday so I though I'd share it with you for the 4th of July: Let America Be America Again, by Langston Hughes.

Here's your weekly bunny:

Have a good weekend, everyone!


  1. Anonymous6:38 PM

    Thank you for bunnies.
    The situation in this country is brought to you by ... well. I ranted and erased.
    Please everyone vote and encourage others to vote in each and every election.
    Mask, social distance, wash hands SIP. Protect our children and future, because the damage the virus can do can be very permanently disabling. Assuming children generally (but not specifically) only get 'light cases' and therefore have no permanent damage to internal organs is based on pure hope; we aren't looking yet at our children's internal organs. We are seeing severe permanent damage in those over 18.... so why believe magic is protecting the younger ones?

  2. I could wish a lot of things right now as fall comes on without any good news on the COVID front but I think we're all thinking it already. We need to make some hard decisions about the Fall and school and I'm not yet in the brainspace to do it but we are soon only going to be a month away without any good information and that's immensely frustrating.

    We did take a long weekend finally this weekend and while it wasn't exactly a vacation, it sort of felt like one, especially because PiC got an extra couple of days off and got to enjoy them doing a couple outdoor things. Much needed since he's been doing the bulk of the childcare and he's been terribly antsy. I've been working my antsiness out by cleaning out dramatically large swaths of my office and the closet and organizing JB's Stuff Creep. That feels just about as satisfying as time off to be honest.

    I hope your staycation is warm and lovely and relaxing.

  3. It's interesting, because the whole reasoning behind reopening the schools in the Netherlands was that parents were finding it hard to cope and work at the same time. So if we prioritised opening schools, then parents could contribute a lot more as normal to the economy. Which frankly, with a 2 and 8 year old at home, I could only cheer on.

    1. We unfortunately still have people who think mothers shouldn't work outside the home. The number who will say that directly has been shrinking, but I think there are still a lot of people who sort of think it, so view the child care vs work catastrophe that the school shutdowns caused as a problem for the individuals to solve. I am sure there are other deeper issues in our culture contributing, too. We are in a mess of our own making in so many different ways.


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