Friday, May 29, 2020

News regarding your Disney vacation

This was in my inbox and is apropos to my last post. 

Everything will be timed admission and specific attractions on a reservation.

I'm thinking FastPass+ will also be eliminated/amended in favor of this new reservation system. 

News regarding your Disney reservation
Information on our new Theme Park reservation system. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 

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Walt Disney World Logo
An Important Walt Disney World Update

As we plan for the reopening of our Disney Resort Hotels and Theme Parks, we are keeping the wellbeing of our Guests and Cast in mind. And we're here to help you as we introduce new procedures focused on delivering an enjoyable and magical experience for everyone who visits.

To manage attendance and foster physical distancing during this unprecedented time, we will be changing and suspending some Park experiences. In addition, we will also be introducing a new Theme Park reservation system.

Unfortunately, these new measures have required us to cancel any FastPass+ selections you may have made. We recognize the inconvenience this poses and we're deeply sorry.

However, because you have valid Theme Park admission, you will have access to the Theme Park reservation system before new tickets are sold to other Guests. There's nothing you need to do at this time. We'll be contacting you soon with details on this new system.

At this time, while systems update, we are temporarily suspending all modifications. However, you have the option of canceling your entire reservation.

We're putting great thought into helping you return to the magic and appreciate your patience.

For more information, please visit, call 407-W-DISNEY (934-7639), or contact your travel professional or Member Services.



Disney’s subtle clarification

While the initial report said that they wanted to open select hotels and resorts to guests on July 11th, they amended that and said resorts would not be open. They'll open them "at a later date"

But DVC will still be open, beginning on June 22nd.

The change suggests that they will be catering almost exclusively to dvc guests in the near term. As I mentioned in my previous post, Disney is contractually bound to these timeshare owners. There are certain rights and responsibilities that both Disney and the "fractional owner" has, and Disney has to provide the rooms.

Now owners can start using their points, and it avoids Disney having to amend terms of the agreement, or carryover points for most guests (points expire and there is a financial burden to Disney in extending them). And it stops owners from potentially suing for breach of contract.

This is fairly savvy of Disney. And of course, they can put these guests in deluxe rooms at other resorts at some exchange rate if there is a large number of people taking advantage of the opportunity for a vacation.

With that being the case, I would guess that will mean at least a few reservations will be available to annual pass holders. Disney extended passholder expiration dates by 117 days, so it makes sense to let people use them. But without hotels, only locals can take advantage of this for now. I'm sure they figured out the number of guests that could mean based on historical data, and they will use that to their advantage in determining capacity.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Disney submits reopening plans

Disney submitted its re-opening plan yesterday. I watched it, and to be honest I found the whole thing kind of amusing. Mainly it's because of the formality of the proceedings, coupled with the video conference anomalies.

But also because I was involved with the Orlando naval training center shutdown back in the 90s. Watching those events and the endless meetings with all their formality just seemed, well, silly to me at the time. But there was prime real estate that had to be carved up and sold off for various uses (some for common good, some for profit), and the process had to at least appear fair. 

This is similar in many ways, and the overall nature of it reminded of all the people I met with and talked to during the NTC days. Many saw it similar to the way I did, and would give me insights into the decision making process and how things would inevitably end up because you have a lot of influential players. 

On the surface, Disney's plan seems a little aggressive time-wise, but as you listen to the details, maybe not. 

Okay, first off, we already knew about the NBA, even though it wasn't specifically mentioned.  They're resuming in July at disney world, and will take up some number of hotel rooms somewhere on property. So no matter what, that area will be ostensibly off limits. I imagine they will put them in a nice place (not the all-stars for example), and will consider that hotel and the wide world of sports unavailable. 

I would also take away from the discussion that "for now" most of the (not so) value resorts will remain closed. 

The reason is two-fold. First these are at the southern edge of disney, down by wide world of sports. They could be separated. And second, as I'll get to a minute, the "select groups" likely will include higher value customers. 

On to the announcement and my take on it. Here goes. 

The magic kingdom and animal kingdom will open on July 11th. 

• That is after July 4th. It's still more than a month away giving time to figure out how it will all work through training, planning, and inviting a few select people (cast members, locals, etc) to see what works and what doesn't. 

Epcot and studios open a few days later (July 15)

• Epcot has issues with international staffing so that still has to be worked out. Studios has the enormously popular new attraction and you have to see guest behavior before you consider opening it. 

No fireworks, parades, shows, or character meet and greets, high touch areas are also closed  

• this seemed like a no brainer as you want to make sure people don't crowd together. 

Touchless, no contact options for everything - from checking in to food service will be used. 

• he emphasized the magic band and being cashless. And clearly said that most things would be done in the disney experience app. You do not want people queuing up or interacting in a high touch way
• I see this as a bit of an issue. One of the best parts about disney is the castmember interaction. They are the magic. He made a point of saying they still are, but how curious that he emphasized that while telling us interactions will be curtailed. 

Select attractions will be open, which can utilize a ride reservation system and you won't wait in a queue. 

• first off, this changes the nature of immersive attractions and makes them "rides" ... 
• there is also the matter of "select" coupled with no queues and general social distancing, that will further limit the number of available rides
• and everything will use ride reservations like "rise of the resistance" and each would have very limited capacity. 
• no standby line was mentioned. And one would assume won't exist. 

There was a vague statement about who will be on the guest list. 

this was an interesting comment. I took away from it that the parks won't be open to just anyone. Rather, they will choose people to invite early on
• there are a large number of DVC owners who they are contractually obligated to, and they typically spend more. It would make sense to include them first. You get the benefit of them not using housekeeping and because they are in studio type rooms, it limits some burdens on the food service.
• dvc members will be allowed to start making reservations for mid June to start using points and having a vacation of sorts, so this fits in the hypothesis.

Reservations will be required to enter the park

• related to the above point, if you have to go online to reserve a reservation just to enter the park, it's easy to make few - or no - spots available to locals, annual pass holders, or day guests - at whatever level they choose. I would assume it would favor those who are dvc, or those who make a reservation to stay at a deluxe resort. And we'll never know. 
• the assumed max capacity of the magic kingdom is 100,000. On a more typical day it might be lower, more like 80,000. If you took maybe 20% of that to start, that would set an upper limit of 16,000 people in the park for attractions that are open. I would argue the other parks are a little lower. In any case, no more than about 15,000 people per day in any park. That's small and reservations would be gone quickly. 
• they didn't say hours of operations or whether there would be a limited time guests can visit. For example, I wonder if they might have people staged at entrance. So your reservation time to come in as at 10, or noon, or whatever. Or if there will be a 4 hour window to visit and then they usher you out and bring in another group. 

Face masks must be worn at all times in public spaces, and regular hand washing is recommended. And of course social distancing will be enforced. 

• this is the hardest one for people to rally around. Why we argue about this is beyond me. But in any event. July, August in Orlando in a face mask doesn't sound like fun. But it's your choice. 
• he also talked about a "social distancing squad" who will help remind guests about the expected behavior in "an enthusiastic way"

There was a discussion about how guests will be reminded about "the rules" before they arrive and while they are there 

• quite clearly in the presentation, they showed a sign they will be putting up. Like the one posted at Disney Springs it reads "enter at your own risk. We assume no liability if you get sick" (but worded in a more disney way). 
• the other part I took away is that is disneys private property. You are agreeing to abide by the rules and the "social distancing team" will be on the lookout for perpetual offenders, or people who choose to flaunt the rules. What they didn't say, but implied: failure to adhere will get you escorted from the park, and removed from disney property. (Remember that has always been true, now they're taking it to a new level)

Bus transportation will be available, but in a limited capacity. 

• monorails are harder to manage because of the queues and wait times. Plus you would need someone monitoring the cars. My assumption is that they will be closed. 
• the skyliner will also remain closed for similar reasons. 
• watercraft also might be closed. 
• it's unknown what the bus capacity might be or how often they come. But this will be interesting. Perhaps they'll select families or groups of families to board? Or maybe use the reservation time at a park as a scheduled bus time?
• most other activities (water parks, mini golf, etc) were not on the list for re-opening. So you'd have no reason to take a bus there. There's no park hopping. So it does seem more likely specific bus trips would be planned and tied to reservations.

Social distancing will be observed in restaurants, and something about select ones being open 

• he didn't say it, but it seems like most sit down type restaurants will be closed for now. Buffets are absolutely closed. 
• I would think that since mobile ordering, touchless type of things would be available, that this would be more like quick service restaurants as primary options for food. 
• tables will be organized in a way to let families sit together, away from other families. 

And of course this means a very different experience, should you decide to go. This is not the disney world we left in March. And who knows if it will ever be that way again?

This is a very controlled situation. You come to the resort. You have a time to go to the park and see this, this, and this. Bus is there and takes you over. You do those things on the schedule. In the times between you get some food. And then you leave at a specified time by bus. And that's it. Otherwise enjoy the hotel and the pool. 

I would imagine that once they kick this off, 15,000 at each park would be overly optimistic. The "crowds" will likely be smaller. 

So yes they have the plan for a phased re-opening. All plans subject to change as needed, whether it's because the nature of the virus, guest reaction, or another reason, this may (or may not) be the norm for some period of time. 

Good on them that they are making an effort. But the devil is in those details. And I imagine there will be guests who will complain loudly that it's too early, or too much, or too little. 

Whaddya gonna do? 🤷🏼‍♂️

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Vanity Fair: “This Is So Unfair to Me”: Trump Whines About His COVID-19 Victimhood as Campaign Flails

It should be obvious to everyone: he is only in this for himself. He doesn't care about anyone. So continuing to support him is just folly. He will lead us all to ruin, and death. 

"This Is So Unfair to Me": Trump Whines About His COVID-19 Victimhood as Campaign Flails
Raging at campaign manager Brad Parscale and Joe Scarborough, Trump attempts a campaign reset. But "Trump can't pivot to a different strategy," says an adviser. Because he's the problem.

Read in Vanity Fair:

Shared from Apple News

Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Tracking Americans....

There was an article yesterday about some large number of stupid, ignorant people thinking there's some wild conspiracy by Bill Gates to implant tracking chips as part of a made up immunization. 

Sorry to burst your bubble people, but that ship sailed long ago. The "patriot act" was a turning point on that front and we gave up a lot of liberty (and relative anonymous freedom) when we let those go into effect under W Bush (so much for it being a liberal thing...)

Your phone. Your banking transactions, including credit cards. Your car. Your online activity. All of it is tracked, used, stored, and sold. And you can't get out of it. 

Is it bad? Not necessarily. It's the price of progress. 

And if you need a little hint of proof just open up google maps and look at information it shows...because it's been tracking what you do all along. 

Need more? Here's an article that shows just how complete this data is - and goes into the absurdity of lockdown protests for good measure. 

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Aw snap

Looks like Biden got under the weak little mans collar. He “claps back” by attacking Obama....who last I read wasn’t running for office.

Such a douche.  

The future of football (this season)

The NFL has some contingency plans in place for "if" the Coronavirus is still a factor (which is kind of laughable if only because they are only thinking about their economic interests). So for now they are marching to the beat of opening training camps, and business as usual with packed stadiums starting in late summer.

The contingency plans call for pushing back the season a few weeks, or reduced capacity at stadiums. But that's reportedly as far as they've gotten. They're just wishing things away. Just remember that these billionaire Owners can suck up a loss of revenue for a time if they have to.

The nfl typically resumes sometime in late July / early August, but doesn't start their preseason until about 3 weeks later; and don't start playing "real" games until after Labor Day. So their schedule could be tweaked perhaps.

College football is coming at it a little differently. For them, the single most profitable thing major universities have is football. From gate receipts, to booster donations, to big tv contracts, this is the money maker that schools rely on building their budgets around.

But it's clear (and the ncaa has emphasized this) that unless the campuses are more or less open to all students, that football shouldn't happen. And so the bigger conferences (especially in the south) are pushing to get campuses open so they can get the football teams up and running.

But there is absolutely no consensus on when they might start play, or if they'd even allow fans to come to games. While students do make up a portion of these fans, most of them are alumni who travel back to their college campuses to attend the games.

So while you maybe could control testing the student and student-athlete population to keep the virus at bay, having 5 or so Saturday's with tens of thousands of outsiders coming on campus could be a disaster. But these are paying customers who often make a donation back to the university, so you do not want to alienate them. Especially in these weird times where some would argue that the university is taking this too seriously, or not seriously enough.

There is talk of maybe delaying the start of the season into the spring semester, which very well might be the best option they can come up with.

But who knows at this point what is going to happen?

The ncaa has the first scheduled game on August 29th, and usually gives about a 4 week build up time. But since spring football didn't happen, where coaches start building for he following year, they want an extra 2 weeks to practice. That would require athletes back on campus in mid July, or late July if they follow their regular schedule.

Except that most universities will remain closed until the first or second week of August. Can the student-athletes come back early?

And some (all schools in California) won't be open at all in the I guess California schools won't play football?

It's bizarre.


The more you know...

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Court rules “Dueling Dinos” belong to landowners, in a win for science | Science | AAAS

Intriguing. And by the way, this relates back to Disney in two ways.

First, the story of Sue the T-Rex who came out neighboring South Dakota had a long and drawn out legal battle over who owned her (complicated by her being found on an Indian reservation).

And second, when Disney first acquired the Florida property, they only had land use rights, and not mineral rights. So they had to obtain them as quietly as possible and brought in a former cia operative to help make it happen.

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.

Donald Trump's 2014 tweet about Barack Obama comes back to bite him - NZ Herald

Yup. He was golfing yesterday as the number of dead rise to about 100,000.

But what are you gonna do? He ordered flags lowered to half mast and had a flyover to celebrate health care workers.

That's showing leadership in the face of the pandemic isn't it?

“Let then eat cake”

Saturday, May 23, 2020

A follow up about Disney parks.

Disney world has been taking reservations along the way, always starting about one month out, and looking beyond that, into the future. There's a lot of aspiration in the idea of booking in the near-ish future. And I'm sure as a company they are assuming/hoping they can reopen shortly.

But things are very fluid. Disney has no crystal ball and can't see the future. And honestly anyone who is now booking a trip for the immediate future is a fool.

Yes disney is the bubble. The happiest place on earth. A place where you leave your troubles behind. And that's all fine and well.

Except that this virus affects *everyone* and in a crowded space like theme parks, such a thing can run rampant and affect scores of people.

So disney is balancing costs, losses, good will, safety, perception, and the risk of liability.

So as we move along through the pandemic, about 2-3 weeks prior to arrival dates, they send a message to the families with bookings (whether it's new or something you booked last year) and say "sorry we're still closed. Here's a refund on what you paid. Check back soon to rebook a future vacation"

And in April and May they've come along in the last week of the month and said they won't be accepting new reservations for another month further out, so right now you can not book anything new in June.

But here's the thing. The dunderheads of the world overreact. "You've been closed for a while now. I want a vacation in the happiest place. You need to reopen" or "I keep having to rebook and worry about flights and taking time off work. When will this end?"

Or they take umbrage with the policies for when they do reopen "masks? No way man this america! You lost my business"

And what seems lost in here is the very real possibility that Disney will change in some fundamental ways. People want things to "go back to normal" and simply can't be bothered to care that it will be different.

Disney has been seeking a way to tweak their business model for a while now. Keep attendance at a point where they like it, and be more exclusive. Cater to the wealthy more. Put limits on those of us who don't spend as much. Here's the perfect chance. Will they take it?

I mean this can't be easy. There's no one-size-fits-all answer. The dopes in the Oval Office and Tallahassee can say and do whatever stupid things they want. Though of course they shouldn't. Disney will act in their own best interests. And will continue to balance all the things I mentioned above.

A couple of industry analysts were asked to weigh in and speculate on opening dates for the theme parks Disney owns.

While a few were optimistic and suggested late summer (Labor Day seemed to a target), several others thought maybe the fall. And a few just said "we're prepared for it to be 2021."

And that goes right back to the idea of the nba setting the stage for opening.

There is expected to be an announcement in a week or so. Stay tuned.

No, NASA didn’t find a parallel-universe where time runs backward

A reminder to be careful what you read! 

Peter Gorham, the principal investigator on ANITA, says it's "some unfortunate tabloid journalism" and notes an early report by the Daily Star "just made some things up about myself and our experiment."

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Electric Vehicle Charging Technology: Urban Electric - Pop-Up Charger | ...

Necessity is the mother of invention

Deer In The Headlights | Joe Biden For President

Disney world reopening?

The governor of Florida is all in to reopen  the state, consequences meh.

So he asked the theme parks to submit their proposals for reopening. As you may know, Disney has a complex relationship with the state. And in general they don't take orders. They do what they want. The request to submit a proposal was met with an almost yawn.

Though of course the media ate it up because Disney was being asked for their plan. There was a palpable expectation and a little murmur.

For their part, Disney did come up with a general statement for both US parks, but was noncommittal on dates. And it wasn't a plan just a "hey we're looking into it..."

Meanwhile, sea world was trying out rides wearing masks and said they'd submit something soon. And universal jumped in and submitted its proposal to reopen, to the Orlando panel designated for such things. And that panel forwarded the plan on to the state.

But here's where it gets funny. The information about "Orlando area theme parks" submitting (or planning to submit) their proposals, along with a June 1st date for universal, was glommed up by the media as Disney has a plan to reopen on June 1st. 

Which was not the case. But don't let facts get in the way! The stock market reacted to "disneys reopening" and disneys stock price rose before anyone noticed what they fundamentally got wrong. 

Mostly silent, no one knows what Disney will do. 

Meanwhile, there was an interesting thing that happened with the NBA. They really want to finish their season and host the playoffs. But they know they can't do it in front of fans, and using stadiums around the country, with travel and other factors, wasn't going to work. 

So they've been tossing around this idea of playing "in a bubble" somewhere. This location would have to be able to have several courts in close proximity, and would have to have hotel space to host all of the teams and any staff. 

What kind of place could do those things? A few weeks ago disney worlds "wide world of sports" was mentioned as a location. On their earnings call, Disney was asked about this, and they were naturally noncommittal but said they were looking at ways to do things to get games back on espn. 

And now players are being told that there is going to be a warmup period starting in mid-June, and they may resume play in mid-to-late-July....somewhere but not in front of fans. And it will be in a single location. 

Disney world is a natural fit, of course. The large "cheer facility" could have several courts to play on. There are lots of hotels. And the espn tie-in makes this easy in many ways. 

And here's where it relates back to theme parks reopening. If this works out, you could essentially be reopening in a very controlled way. A way that benefits them as a corporation (see my previous comment about how disney does what they want) because there would a moderate number of rooms being used at whatever hotels they decide. You would need catering staff, bus drivers, and arena staff. You'd learn a lot about testing and controlling access. 

And then espn wins because there would be games to show. And all the while it works as a big advertisement. 

....and they don't have to actually open anything to the public at large. Maybe they take the teams on some specific rides and whatnot. 

If everything goes well, this lasts for a month or two, then they gradually re-open some number of rooms and offer select groups of people to come and visit and maybe gives them a few rides, too. 

Don't count out the fact that disney is masterful at putting spin on anything. "We've already reopened! Disney Springs is there! And we're going to merge sports and theme parks but don't want to expose other people from outside the bubble..."

And just like that everyone sees they are open again. Though, not really.

For us, as regular visitors, they surely will change all the rules to require reservations, limit entry, and raise prices. 

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Rigged numbers. Yeah that sounds about right...

I sure am glad I live in a state that is looking out for the well being of its residents. Oh wait. I don't.

Funny. The official numbers were showing an uptick in cases as the state reopened. Then this lady was fired, and suddenly the numbers are much lower.


Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Manipulating public thinking

In the early 1990s, arguably *the* quintessential American store, based in Arkansas was humming along with its tag line that everything they sold was made in America!

They were proud of that fact, and ran ad campaigns touting it. And the patriots who like to wrap themselves up in the flag ate it up. Murica and all.

Then came an economic downturn and an interest in a more global economy. So Wal-Mart made a business decision, and started sourcing products from China. And they re-tagged themselves with the new moniker "always the low prices."

There's a book that came out in 2006 called "the Wal-Mart effect" which talks about the nature of the company, and decisions that they made at the time to evolve into the new brand with low prices. Surely some of it was good and some of it wasn't, but it's interesting reading.

Anyway, back to the story. So they made this fundamental shift. Not made in America, but rather low prices.

And their fans, the ones who were all about American made, simply changed their thinking. Wal-Mart was masterful at marketing themselves and telling people how they could save them money.

The sheeple had very subtly had their thinking changed. Wal-Mart was still the American store. But it turns out it really didn't matter that products were American made.

It's amazing that they managed to make this happen through tv and print ads, and in store, without social media.

...and here's where this comes back to today. You could view the social media campaigns to laud or denigrate any thing the same way. Whether it's an elected official or a store, people can be easily manipulated by playing to their base thinking. Specifically "make America great again" was designed to get the same ensconce-yourself-in-the-flag folks to have a response at a base level. One they will cling to .. it seems like always.

By the way, Wal-Mart is trying to shift back to made in America but they're finding that harder. Costs are higher and it turns out people really do want to pay less.

Sunday, May 17, 2020


January 20, 1961. John F Kennedy is sworn in as president. He gives his inaugural address and closes with:

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country."

"My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

That is a call to civic action. To betterment of our country. To really and truly making America great by being a part of something. Of sacrificing. 

And flash forward to 2016. The nincompotus starts selling a bill of goods of making America great and protecting "our way of life".  It's in no way the same. In fact it's the opposite. 

We've become soft in many ways, watch too much reality tv, and aren't really asked to sacrifice *that* much.

It's easy to "support our troops" or wrap ourselves in the flag. Hold guns and say Murica! Or chant "USA"

There's no real sacrifice there. Send our troops somewhere and mourn those that are killed and talk about the enemy and how we'll get them!

When there's a killing spree domestically, it's a tragedy and we send those "thoughts and prayers" but don't take action because that somehow would impact our way of life.

So here we are faced with an unseen virus and we're asking for actual sacrifice. Stay home. Wear a mask. That undercuts everything that the MAGA movement stands for. We can't wrap ourselves in the flag. So the enemy becomes anyone who tries to enforce those rules.

And you hear Patrick Henry bandied about. They're willing to take a risk and take actual death (that could be avoided) for the sake of "liberty"

Because they were sold the idea that we can overcome anything through superior fire power and a belief in god.

If we had an actual leader, maybe s/he could help make the message clearer. But this guy just fans the flames for sadistic fun - and profit. 

Oh how I miss Obama, or jfk who tried to make the world a little better. Heck I even miss W, who led through a difficult period in the best way he could. The key is that he tried to lead. 

Watch jfks speech. It's inspiring even today.

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.

Disney and the pandemic.

The idiot-in-Chief bungled his way through this crisis. I mean, he showed his true colors, as only caring about himself. 100k dead. Whatever, "I take no responsibility."

Look I could sit here and talk about that all day. But, on a deeper level, he created downstream issues that don't get enough press.

I'm a fan of Disney world. I enjoy going there as a way to escape reality for a few hours. It's "the bubble" and it's easy to put your troubles behind you.

When the virus first arrived, we knew it would affect travel and the theme parks. But the question was how much. They did what was reasonable, but looked for guidance from the state (or states, because Disneyland should be mentioned too) and from the federal government.

The feds could have, and *should* have been trying to understand the way this was spreading, using whatever tools other countries were using and building on that. The feds should have stepped out in front to try and actually deal with the pandemic threat rather than throwing up their hands, and passing along responsibility.

Supposing they had started screening at airports, cruise terminals, and directing states for how to test at large gatherings.

Disney surely would have followed and maybe we would have a better ideas for what to do - and, more importantly, maybe we would have innovated and found more efficient means to quickly test in gathering spots.

So disney world closed and it wasn't clear if this was going to be for a week or a month.

It's been 2. And the feds still don't have a plan. There's no thought for how to proceed and keep people safe. It's more of a "hey just reopen. What's the worst that can happen?"

And so private organizations, foundations, and companies are going to need to step into this void and try and lead and innovate in some way.

How can disney world reopen and keep guests safe? Short answer: right now they can't. So we have to wait until they figure it out, or maybe until another one of those organizations steps up and innovates. Or until a new president steps in, in January, and we get some actual leadership and direction.

Someone "admonished me" on Twitter for being more political and less about the escape of Disney.

I don't see how at this point you can separate the two. Politics (and abject stupidity) has led us here. Disneys magic is lost for now among a sea of jobless claims and a string of deaths that have nothing to do with them directly. Even if they found a way to open, who knows how many travel there? And what would the experience be like? And would those people follow the rules?

But because there's no real path for them to reopen safely, no guidance on what to do, this is ultimately on the feds and their inaction.

So, yeah, I can't talk about Disney without talking about politics. Sorry random stupid person (psych! I’m not sorry)

100,000 dead and...yawn.

I had this random thought. Back in 2001, there was this moment that we rallied around. On 9/11 planes were flown into the World Trade Center buildings, taking them down.

It's a (mostly) unexpected terror attack.
We show empathy for New York, and we
unite as a country.

I distinctly remember one ad campaign. "They thought they could divide us, they were wrong."

We had an enemy who we could identify (they were essentially boiled down to "Muslims who wanted to change our way of life") and it wasn't clear where, when, or if they might strike again.

But here's the thing. We allowed some of our constitutional rights to be subverted. We allowed big brother to watch us. New banking rules. New security rules. Hell we were okay with a version of a strip searches at airports.

Sure it was probably (mostly) warranted. And arguably necessary.

But on that day 6,000 people died. Not to use their memory in a bad way - this was indeed a tragedy - but put that in perspective with what's happening today.

100,000 have died because of a virus. That's nearly 20x the number that died on 9/11.

Again New York suffers the most, but in this case we hear people deriding New York. It's too..whatever and we can't be bothered to care or help them.

And instead of uniting, we're fighting with each other. There's no enemy per se. We buy toilet paper and carry guns into legislative buildings to protest....Something.

We tell people to stay at home. To wear a mask. To social distance to stop the spread. And what we hear is "No you're infringing!"

Dear leader is inept and clueless. He wants this to just be over and wish it away. He blames everyone he can think of. He starts talking up the military because that's going to protect us against a virus I assume?

And people want to just back to "life as we knew it" and I don't think we will be able to. There's another evolutionary step we'll take. More security. More screenings. More things that change "our way of life."

And I think I finally understand why this is a problem. When there's a world issue we release our military on it. We chant "USA" and "support our troops"...there's an enemy. And we have to protect our way of life. That idea of American exceptionalism or the ideal.

And in this case, our military can't be utilized. It's an unseen enemy. There is no exceptionalism in play. And what we're asking a nation to do is *actually* sacrifice for the way of life. And that MAGA ideal that the "incompetent, sociopathic, impeached president" has been touting may be lost, especially the "great."

That's simple unacceptable. We need to just go back to living the way we living and supporting our troops and deriding immigrants.

And the sacrifice becomes more about just letting the virus run through us. Better to embody (stupidly) Patrick Henry's immortal words "give me liberty or give me death" quite literally - than to find ways to fight it.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Sports in bizarro world

I woke up this morning and turned on a broadcast of the only live sports currently on: Korean baseball.

It's bizarre for so many's sports like, and it's baseball, but it's in Korea so you can't read players names (not that you would know them anyway). There are no fans in the stands. Its quiet. Umps are wearing masks, as are any non-players. It's 6am. The announcers aren't at the game - they're in their own houses, so there are oddities in the way they interact with each other and the game itself.

How they handle it (being a country that in the whole takes the virus seriously): they check temperatures regularly, and test whenever there are symptoms reported or observed or if temperatures are high.

And yes, boog (at one point he was a marlins broadcaster) is one of the announcers, and he made a marlins joke about teams playing in front of empty stands.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Snoop Dogg listening to “Let it Go”

This makes me oddly happy. 

Wartime presidents

The term "wartime president" didn't really come up until WWII, when FDR rallied a nation, set about fighting an actual war, with an actual enemy, to produce ships, planes, equipment, and more. He acted in a way that would support the growing war effort.

So there is no clear definition for the term. However, it's been applied at times to presidents who rallied a nation to fight a common enemy. 

Each had the courage to take personal responsibility for their actions – and, equally courageous, for their inaction. The courage to admit error and learn from it.  

As I noted earlier the term was coined under FDR, and somewhat became a thing because of what Winston Churchill did in England in 1940. In short, he saw Germany as an aggressor and boosted production of aircraft, taking a risk in rallying a nation. He said of this: "To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour."

Roosevelt a short time later, likewise rallied our nation to achieve greater things. And this is how he became the war time president. He harnessed the power and prestige of the federal government to mobilize the national effort.

First he saw the threat. 

And the second thing he did was financial. He managed to get appropriations to support the effort.  

After that, he directed companies to produce ships, equipment, aircraft, and equipment.

And he did this *before* Germany invaded France, because he saw the threat mounting and acted decisively to counter it.  

FDR was well aware of the risks. And he proceeded in spite of them. He didn't shrink, rather he got bolder. There were many who preferred that America ignore foreign conflicts. Amusingly one was called "the America First Committee" which sounds like something trump might have made a slogan. 

Roosevelt said of them:  "Frankly and definitely there is danger ahead—danger against which we must prepare. But we well know that we cannot escape danger, or the fear of it, by crawling into bed and pulling the covers over our heads."

And I should note that the other president who you could say presided over a war in that sense was Lincoln.

It might very well be the most apt parallel to today. The nation was divided over something that seems almost silly. And as it happened, the Union sustained a long string of battlefield defeats in the first years of the Civil War. But Lincoln did not blame these losses on the generals, the Union governors or anyone else. Instead he made the hard and unpopular decision to pursue the war – fully expecting that it would cost him his reelection. 

Because it was in the best interests of ultimately uniting a nation. 

So trump thinks this will help him with re-election, even though he has done exactly the opposite of what FDR or Lincoln did. 

Trump punted on responsibility for preparation and said early on that "We pretty much shut it down coming in from China" and later doubled down saying "It's going to disappear. One day—it's like a miracle—it will disappear."

And then when it did spread here, he had the audacity to say, "I don't take responsibility at all."

And as for the decisions Roosevelt made in gearing up production, trump didn’t and then said this  "We're a backup. We're not an ordering clerk. We're a backup." Trump essentially told states to procure materials on their own, saying the federal government is "not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we're not a shipping clerk."

If you look at what it takes to be successful, it's four things. Let’s look at those and see how trump did. (1) accountability. He gave us the middle finger. (2) financial. He never asked for funds to do anything. (3) working at defeating an enemy.  There isn't one. If you say it's the virus then what is he doing to try and defeat it? And (4) Gearing up production for a greater good. He didn't rally us to do anything. In fact if there’s an opposite, he’s doing that. 

So for comparison, let's look through history and see presidents who were in office during a war, let's see how they did in their re-election bids.

War of 1812 - James Madison. Won re-election, though the war wasn't a huge factor. 

Civil war - Lincoln, won re-election but died in office. Andrew johnson served afterward, as the war ended, and was not re-elected. . 

World war 1 - Woodrow Wilson. Won re-election as the war was ongoing. 

The depression - not so much a war but it was another big moment. Herbert Hoover was president.  Lost his bid for re-election 

WWII - FDR, won re-election several times. But he also took over and led us in rebounding from the depression; he may have been our nations greatest leader. 

Korea - Harry Truman Lost his bid for re-election 

Vietnam - this one swallowed up many presidents including Eisenhower (not re-elected), Kennedy (died in office), Johnson (He was re-elected but the kennedy assassination was a driving factor more than the war), and to a point Nixon (left office).  Ford took over and led us to the end of the war but also wasn’t re-elected 

Cold War - this was fairly complicated and spanned for many years. You could argue that that Reagan won re-election based at least in part because of his efforts in the Cold War.

Iraq - elder bush was not re-elected. 

9/11 - again not so much a war, but W won re-election 

So as you can see, the bump that trump perceives as a benefit for his re-election isn't necessarily that. When the nation is in peril, the eyes turn to the leader. If they are good at their job and lead us through it, they get to remain in office. And if not, then the person behind the deli counter is saying "next!"

Trump is pretty much failing us on all fronts and should (hopefully) be relegated to the dust bin of history. The "Ineffective and incompetent presidents" wing of the museum. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Howard Stern hates Trump supporters and says Trump does too - New York Daily News

Donald Trump Acts Like He’s a King

I got issues...

Of course the idiot in chief started with the virus being a hoax, then he started the blame game, and who knows what tomorrow will bring?

But the issue I have is with the rhetoric that is being spilled by the dotard, by the gop on the whole, and by "conservative media outlets." They still are holding steadfast that it's not a threat to the general public and life should "return to normal"... that more people die from the flu, from car crashes, or from birdwatching.

They quote the numbers correctly (somewhat surprisingly; who knew? They can do math). But what they're missing is context.

I fell into a bit of a rabbit hole yesterday, following comments about school reopening. This group took umbrage with keeping schools closed, and called anyone who believed in science, who was exercising caution, a libtard, socialist, leftist, dem something or another. They told of personal experiences, and their braveness because they're unlikely to get it (even if they are in a vulnerable age group).

Because obviously bravery and name calling will prevent this virus from spreading.

The context they are missing is how virulent this is. How it can spread quickly among people. And how it is mutating in various ways, making it harder to really understand. So yes, the odds of dying from it remain relatively low - for the time being. And yeah, the odds of getting fairly sick from it are a little higher, but still low. But the number of people who have tested positive is still low *because we've taken steps to slow the spread*. With no immunity and no vaccine, we can't just go "okay, we're good, let's just go back to large gatherings."

It's not that simple.

A quick bit of math. Let's suppose 20% of the population gets it (say 66,000,000 people). And 2% of them die. That's 1,320,000 people who might die, just because we want to return to a previous state of being.

You may say 20% seems like a lot. A recent count says that 8.3 million tests have been done in the US. There have been 1.4 million confirmed cases. That's about 17% and excludes people who didn't get tested, but died of the virus anyway. And since this is a small percentage of the population who have access to (and in some cases can afford testing), I would posit the number is actually much higher, perhaps 30% instead of 20%.

You may also say (ignorantly) that it's less than 1% of the population on the whole. Then you really don't get this. There's a secondary issue that there don't appear to be any antibodies that last, and no immunity. So you could get it more than once. And we don't know how your body will react to a second (or third, or fourth) exposure. So keeping it running through society will just keep the death toll mounting. Maybe we develop an immunity over time. Maybe there's limited effect after a first exposure. We don't know enough yet to make a determination - and that's a scary notion. So it could be a continual, repeating 1% of the population that dies off.

But in any case, the rate of acceleration would probably increase, meaning it propagates faster. And that would overwhelm healthcare in every city.

So. No. The only viable option is to stay the course, and find new ways to conduct business. Sure, we could allow for takeout, or limited number of barber seats to be used. But maybe they have different hours to accommodate more people. But movies? Sports events? Large gatherings? Those don't seem like good ideas. And face masks should be worn at all times for now - at least until we know more.

Maybe we keep looking for ways to allow for less-risky travel and vacations. Maybe we just need to be smarter about how we approach it, rather than diving in headfirst or "throwing caution to the wind."

AP reports on antibody test, gets one fact as the headline, then reports speculate wildly

The test was a great start, checking antibody levels on most MLB players and people associated with the clubs.  It was not the test for the virus, and it doesn't mean that no one had it - only that they don't have the antibody.  As the researcher said "this is good and bad" because it's hard to draw any conclusions. And besides these are mostly young, healthy men who have been using masks and washing hands, and who have been in quarantine. So it's not necessarily conclusive, in itself.

The study goes off for peer review, and then we'll know more about It.  But the follow up testing will also be interesting to see how it goes. 

But of course the <1% having the antibody grabbed the attention, though the AP struggled to explain why it was meaningful.  Of course "sports!" Latched onto it because that's what they do in the absence of games, and started positing that this means baseball can begin soon....because...again no one can quite explain why they think that (intelligently anyway).

But at least we're seeing some actual scientific studies being conducted.  Here's to hoping there are a lot more, and soon!

Headline "Under 1% of MLB Employees Test Positive for Virus Antibodies | Sports News | US News"

Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Trump Has Lost the Plot - The Atlantic

I love the quote about how he's not playing chess he's eating the pieces.

Honestly a pet rock would be doing a better job and have higher ratings - just because it wouldn't be actively trying to undermine any sense of reality, undercutting science, or just blathering on about what a great job it's doing.

Timeline | Joe Biden For President

Why you should wear a mask

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.