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Okay, it's been a while since my last "daily" episode. I'm okay, I've just been busy. And all kinds of weird shit has happened.
Getting this out of the way: I'm finally working from home as of last Friday. The technical setup suuucks. My workplace is all-Windows, and I do .NET development there, so full-desktop remoting is the order of the day. But policy forbids VPN connections from personal (non-agency) computers, so the reasonable choice of Windows remote desktop is Right Out. This means using GoToMyPC, which, fine, whatever, but it doesn't run on Linux, or as I have taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux, which all of my computers at home run, so I have to run a Windows virtual machine, and then run the remote desktop software inside of that. Once that's done, there's the disconnect in aspect ratio between my work computer (1920x1080 wide-screen) vs my desktop computer (1600x1200 traditional); Windows and GoToMyPC won't let me set my remote screen size to my local screen size, so I either have letterboxes, or go down to 1280x1024. It's not a great working environment.
Also, children! Both kids and both parents are home for social distancing, and both parents are trying to work while giving the children the attention they need and deserve. This is a difficult balancing act which involves a certain amount of just pretending to work.
But enough about me.
So this is super fun. The news has been a total trip. Social distancing, self quarantine, etc., has led to a lot of people home from work and not getting paid. Landlords are still expecting to be paid, though, and we're seeing a lot of Mao Zedong memes being shared on social media. A few more civilized parts of the country have declared a moratorium on evictions, though who knows how long that's going to last.
At the end of last week, federal officials – including President Trump – began proposing direct payments to individuals, both as a relief measure for people who are out of work due to the quarantine, and as an economic stimulus. Of course, the most predictable thing happened, and Congressional Democratic leadership such as Pelosi and Schumer turned against their base and insisted on whittling down benefits and means-testing them rather than making them universal. This led to a period of a couple of days where it looked like Trump was going to be able to run *to the left of Biden* in the general election on bread-and-butter issues, which would absolutely guarantee him a win.
However, meanwhile, Stonks Line Go Down. Barely a few days into the quarantine, and the Dow was down to pre-2016 levels. The Federal Reserve injected 1.5 *trillion* dollars of liquidity, which resulted in a rally that lasted 10 minutes. Coincidentally, 1.5 trillion dollars is the size of the collective student loan debt of Americans.
And as of night before last, Trump and the right-wing mediasphere are talking about limiting the quarantine to two weeks, regardless of the actual rates of infection, in order to keep the economy on track. The talking points emphasize the low mortality rate of the disease (usually citing 1%), never mentioning that 1% of the entire US population is 3.5 million people. And that 1% number includes full modern medical care. If the medical system is overwhelmed, as it will be when (not if) we abandon curve-flattening measures to promote the stock market, the mortality rate could rise to as high as 10%. Stocks are up on the news that people will be forced back to work. Die! Die for capitalism!
Continuing evidence that we're living in strange times. Not to get into celebrity gossip, but Comrade Spears has personal experience of exploitation and alienation of her labor, so perhaps it's not so strange.
Here's something to listen to while you wander around the empty streets of your hometown. Remember to mind the curfews, and don't get caught out after dark.
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