Coronavirus – Something or Nothing?

I don’t know about you but I have found the communication about the Coronavirus to be absolutely confusing.


And the actions demonstrating unpreparedness, disorganized response, general chaos, and panic do not match the few calming words we are getting. 


No wonder everyone is panicking and the bottom is falling from the market.


On one hand:


– The officials tell everyone to remain calm, and there is no reason to panic. 


– Help is on the way.


– People are overreacting.


– Most people that get Covid 19 won’t even know they had it or the symptoms will be mild (or maybe moderate)


– The death rate is “only” like 3 or 4% and it’s mostly older people or those with chronic ailments anyway (as if these people don’t matter). 


– Younger children aren’t really getting it (although we don’t know exactly why or the impact on pregnant women). 


– It’s less contagious and deadly than the flu (wait, it’s more contagious and deadly). 


– There are plenty of tests available for everyone (no, there aren’t).


– It will be over in a few weeks when the seasons change and the temperature goes up. 


– A vaccine will soon be ready for testing and then distribution after 12-18 months. 


– The numbers of infected are going down in China–see they have it under control!


– Maybe we should allow investigative drugs to be used (or maybe not, the FDA thinks this is a bad idea).


– The impact to the economy will be over probably by August (or will it?). 


– It’ll ALL be over soon.


On the other hand:


– We don’t know what we’re facing (people are routinely using the words apocalypse and armageddon). 


– This could be the “big one!”


– Is this a punishment from G-d (and is the Messiah coming)? 


– This has reached pandemic proportions. 


– We are declaring a national emergency. 


– This may have come out of a Chinese bioweapons lab.


– Also, China suppressed information and initial response on this making the outbreak worse. 


– “China should be punished for these things” (or some version of this).


– Cases are raising around the world. 


– The contagion is worse than initially thought (there are comparisons to the Spanish Flu of 1918 which killed around 50 million people)


– The death rate is higher than expected. 


– We don’t know why or where certain people got Covid 19 from.


– The hospitals are already overwhelmed and are unprepared for a real surge of cases. 


– We need to “flatten the curve” so our healthcare system isn’t brought to its knees. 


– We are already triaging patients and our doctors and nurses are working extra long hours and are exhausted. 


– We aren’t prepared for this–our healthcare system and government has “failed us”. 


– We’re rolling out unprecedented economic assistance from the Fed, the Treasury…another trillion dollar deficit (no answer for how this gets paid, if ever…can anyone say runaway inflation in the future and lots of worthless dollars). 


– Washing and “Social Distancing” are paramount. 


– There is a run on toilet paper and disinfectants and these are either sold out or vendors are price gouging these items. 


– We are shutting down the country (workplaces, fitness centers, eat-in restaurants, entertainment, travel, places of worship, and any significant gathering of people). 


– The instructions to stay at home in “indefinite”!


– People are stuck in the house and worried about how long this will go on. 


– Some places like New Rochelle, NY are under quarantine and the National Guard has been called out.


– There is talk of a curfew and further measures of quarantine to be enforced under penalty of imprisonment. 


– The lines at the stores (Costco, Sam’s Club, Supermarkets, Groceries) are out the door and the shelves are empty. 


– Amazon announces that they are running out on consumer stables!


– Businesses are suspending workers, moving them to part time, and laying them off. 


– The stock market is down by 1/3 and we’re told that this could just be the beginning. 


– A recession is looming and the economic impact and duration is unknown. 


– Italy is on lockdown. 


– Borders are being closed. 


– People can’t get home from abroad. 


– Cruise ships aren’t being allowed to port. 


– Airlines are screaming for a financial bailout. 

– Navy Hospital Ships with 1,000 beds each are being deployed to the east and west coast. 


– We’re sending $1,000 checks (or something like this) to people below a certain income level (maybe $65,000).


– Taxes are supposedly being deferred (although not filing of returns or estimated taxes yet).  


– People are wearing masks everywhere (but we are being told only the sick ones need to wear it and we see everyone in China wearing it and of course our first responders and medical professionals, so which is it).


– Primary voting is delayed in some states and there is question whether the November Presidential election will also be delayed.


Summary:


Does anyone know WTF is going on around here???


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Capital One Cafe Catastrophe

So I’ve seen the advertisement for Capital One (Bank) Cafes on TV for some time now.


Well I saw my first real one in Fort Lauderdale this week.


It was big, bright, comfortable and had children’s games and a host of meeting and breakout rooms. 


They even gave us two cards for some free coffee at the embedded Pete’s Coffee.


It was a corner store in a large, expensive space. 


It was great place to get some work done or relax. 


But aside for a cash machine or so, there was nothing that I could see having to do with banking in this place. 


Also, there were also almost no customers for the coffee.


Basically, it is totally confusing idea from a marketing and branding perspective–Is it a bank or a coffee house?  And why would I go to Capital One to get coffee or to Pete’s Coffee to do my banking????


While I think that Capital One has literally outdone Starbucks in building a great cafe space, I don’t think anyone will actually get what this is or why it is!


My guess is that whoever came up with this idea is going to be looking for a job within about 6 big money-losing months. 😉


(Credit Photo:  Andy Blumenthal)

OOOC…Order Out Of Chaos

Life is not meant to be chaos (or partially that is). 


That’s why G-d created a natural order and rules of nature. 


From the laws of physics to repeatable mathematical formulations, the universe may be infinitely large and complex, but it is not without standards of function. 


According to the Law of Causality, the world is a pattern of action and reaction (or effect), where everything is a consequence of something prior. 


Even in Chaos Theory, we find that in apparent randomness, there are underlying patterns. 


Absent a miracle, the sun rises every morning and sets every evening. 


Yet, nature and man can also bring catastrophe whereby the world seems like one big chaotic mess. 


Whether from illness, natural disaster, or conflict, our world, can in a moment be turned on it’s head. 


Moreover, it’s all predictably unpredictable. 


And it’s up to us to make Order Out Of Chaos (OOOC). 


This is where many of us either sink or swim. 


When the chips are down, and all the world seems to be imploding with dysfunction, this is where we need to find and make sense and order.


Bad things happen even to good people. 


Good people need to find the faith and the strength, and with G-d’s help, rise to the challenge. 


Easier said than done, for sure. 


In the chaos of things, time may stop and everything becomes a blur.  


We may become like a deer in the headlights–frozen with panic and truly not knowing what to do. 


But if we can just find which way is up. 


Then we can redirect ourselves–rising from the depths of despair to the surface, where the sun is shining and we can gasp a breath again. 


Even around our dysfunction is function to be had. 


Solve a problem, do something constructive, and help others…it’s all part of making order out of chaos.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Lunch And A Call

This just seemed like a funny photo to me.


In the cafeteria, someone was checking out at the register. 


And on their lunch/food tray, they had, of course, their lunch. 


But also, they had a big black telephone.


Talking about a working lunch!


Wow, is that customer service or what? lol


This reminded me also of the BIG red phone on some top officials’ desks –always ready for that critical call in case of near world catastrophe.


So here we go Joe… 


I will eat my lunch and am ready for your call at any time. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Budget Cuts Conundrum

G-d Over Money.jpeg

So I’m hearing two opposing themes about the proposed federal budget cuts:


1) It’s horrible because we are cutting into the bone and this is going to really hurt a lot of important government programs.


2) It’s great because we have been spending money that we don’t really have, and we need to finally reign it in. 


Let’s face it, we’ll never get such drastic cuts across the civilian government unless this country goes into severe crisis mode–which never happens until it’s too late and something terrible has happened. 


If we even got half the cuts being proposed–which most people don’t seem to believe will even happen–that would be significant and painful itself. 


The truth of the matter is that we are facing enormous danger on both the national security and financial fronts!


– Militarily–Russia, China, Iran, North Korea pose huge threats including those involving weapons of mass destruction. 


– Financially–We have a serious national debt to the tune of $20 trillion, an annual trade deficit of half a trillion dollars, and social security and medicare trust funds that are going bankrupt. 


If we let these threats run their course, we will eventually have a crisis that will be truly nationally catastrophic. 


So what’s it gonna be–guns or butter–or national bankruptcy. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Are We Leading The World To The Brink

apocalypse

Thanks to some of the worst leadership in generations, we are bringing the world to the brink of disaster.



In 1991, at the end of the Cold War and with nuclear disarmament initiatives underway, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists rated us at 17 minutes to midnight (the best it’s ever been) on the famous Doomsday Clock that represents the countdown to global disaster. 


However by 2007, right before this administration, with far greater concerns of a nuclear terrorist attack, we were down to just 5 minutes to midnight.


And now in 2016, we are at a mere 3 minutes to midnight, and “the probability of global catastrophe is very high,” as “world leaders had failed to act!”


Moreover, with the current slate of candidates for Presidency both receiving negative ratings of about 60% from registered voters, there is obviously great consternation by the people of the U.S. as well as the rest of the world on the direction we are going in or lack thereof. 


Again today, flailing on the leadership front in Syria, almost 6 years into the war there, we are again “considering tougher options” after the “red lines” were eviscerated, plan B never went anywhere, and we acknowledged that “we have no good options” there, while Russia is bringing in the big guns!


In dangerous world situations, the wrong action by leadership can spark an escalation and lead to negative consequences, but no action, displaying uncertainty and weakness, or attempting a losing appeasement strategy can lead to an even more emboldened enemy and then the Doomsday Clock can strike midnight and we can all pretty much just say one last goodnight. 
😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Does Every Problem Have A Solution?

Hands

So someone said something interesting to me yesterday.


They were going off about this and that problem in the world. 


Then seemingly exasperated by the current and desperate state of affairs, they go “You know what? Not every problem has a solution.”


And that really took me aback.


As a student and then a professional, I have always prided myself on looking for a solution to every problem. 


Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t, but I was always taught to try!


Now someone says to me this earth-shattering news that maybe there is not a good solution out there for every catastrophic problem.


So this got me thinking…


Maybe some problems are just too big or too complex for our mortal minds to even understand or our supercomputers to really solve. 


Or perhaps sometimes things have gone too far or are too far gone, and we can’t always easily just turn back the clock.


Are there some things that we can’t really make right what we did so wrong for so long, despite the best intentions now. 


And in life are some things just a catch-22 or a zero-sum game–where every way forward is another dead end or it has consequences which are too painful or otherwise unacceptable. 


This sort of reminds me of the sick brutal Nazi in the Holocaust who took a women with two beautiful young children to the side and said, “Choose!”


“Choose what?” she innocently replies.


And the sadistic Nazi pulling out his gun says, “Choose which of your children will live and which will die, you have 30 seconds or I kill them both!”


Indeed, some problems have no good solution as hard as that is for me to hear or accept.  


All we can do is our best, and even when we can’t satisfactorily solve those completely vexing problems to us (because some things are not in the realm of the possible for mere mortals), we have to continue to go forward in life because there really is no going back. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)