Flog but don’t clog my blog

January 1972

Why are you writing a blog? some people ask me…

The answer is simple and complex at the same time….
Blogging, especially today, is akin to a safety valve. When the pressure of the world closes in on you, you carefully open that valve and let some steam out. This mechanism prevents you in times of crisis from exploding and harming somebody.
I daresay that If there were more bloggers in the world, there would be fewer homicides.

Today, even though we have a new commander in chief, there are still many things to be mad about. My latest beef has been with Kaiser Permanente and its flagrant inability to provide vaccines for its membership… my blog is my way of venting.

I cannot comprehend why Kaiser with 12.4 million members does not have enough clout to procure vaccines for at least half of its membership. If it was a two-bit outfit I would understand, but 12 million people…

In a recent bulletin, Kaiser said:

“Based on current supply, it is estimated that the current prioritized populations will take a few months to vaccinate. We expect vaccine supply to increase over time so that all adults can get vaccinated by late 2021.”

Thank you, Big K, for this very comforting bit of news.

They say Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines are in short supply, but those are not the only vaccines available. There are some others.
The American press has had a lot of fun deriding the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, but as it turns out, it is “91.6% effective against symptomatic Covid-19 and 100% effective against severe and moderate disease.”

“The vaccine is already approved in Russia, Belarus, Serbia, Argentina, Bolivia, Algeria, Venezuela, Paraguay, Turkmenistan, Hungary, UAE, Iran, Guinea, Tunisia, Armenia, and the Palestinian territories. Sputnik V has so far been administered to more than 2 million people worldwide.”

So, if there is a shortage of Western approved vaccines, what prevents outfits like Kaiser to purchase the “commie” vaccine? Politics? Is it better to have millions of people perish rather than purchasing stuff from Putin and his cronies? I don’t think so.

So, this so-called shortage is as usual artificial and hamstrung by politics and money.

And my statement is definitely not as outrageous as congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene “calling for Pelosi to be shot in the head, claiming that the California wildfires were started by a Jewish space laser, and harassing a survivor of the Parkland school shooting.”

And the above my friends is partly why I write a blog.
After getting this off my chest, I definitely feel better and resigned (one more time) to wait a little longer to get my shot in the arm, thank you.


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Where is my vaccine?

Vaccines are coming, vaccines are coming! Millions of doses…This was advertised with great fanfare at least 2 months ago… But at the beginning of February 2021, where exactly are these exotic animals? It seems to be a well-guarded secret. No matter where I turned to, I hit the same wall. We don’t have them… we will tell you when we’ll get them. Wait your turn.

Well, I have been waiting and waiting (and occasionally calling) but with no appreciable results. Kaiser Permanente, my health manager, has not been particularly helpful or forthcoming. When you call or check their website, you are regaled with the following message:

“Due to limited vaccine supplies we are currently prioritizing health care workers and people 75 and older.”

I understand the policy about essential workers, and I approve of it, but as an octogenarian (phase 1b) I am still waiting for my shot. I am still in limbo while younger non-essential workers already managed to get inoculated.
So what am I? chopped liver?

What happened to the highly touted “warp speed” (an extremely rapid rate of speed) operation? A general (now MIA) was in charge of that program and after months of questionable delays I suddenly remembered what Georges Clemenceau thought about military leaders:

“War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men.”

Because (and I am tired to repeat it) we are in a war, and it ought to be taken seriously.
Instead of generals and politicians, we ought to hire a Silicon Valley kid to streamline and expedite the vaccine operation. These guys have more brainpower than the entire American Senate.

As a matter of fact, I would not mind putting Elon Musk in charge of this war. I recently watched a video about his career and accomplishments, and I am sold on the bloke. This man has more ideas than I have hair on my skull. He really knows what warp speed is and would be eager to prove the naysayers wrong.

I visualize a slow assembly line where people would lie still while a bunch of smart robots would inoculate them at an almost warp speed.

So, what do you say Kaiser? Are you ready to speed up the process? I am waiting for my vaccine and I have too many ants in my pants.


The new Dreyfus affair

In the aftermath of the presidential elections, many American families are now divided by a deep chasm. Due to their sharply contrasting views of the Trump legacy, they are not on speaking terms anymore. And this phenomenon is often intergenerational, pitting liberal college-educated children against conservative parents, or vice-versa.

But this particular situation is not unprecedented. In France, in 1894 amid rampant antisemitism, Captain Alfred Dreyfus was falsely accused and convicted of selling military secrets to Germany.  A French officer of Jewish descent, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and deported to Devil’s Island in French Guiana.

The French population became deeply polarized and this situation generated countless editorials and cartoons.

Caran d’Ache (Le Figaro, February 1898)

The most famous of them (February 1898) was called “un diner en famille” (a family dinner). The first frame depicts a family gathering with a caption saying “surtout ne parlons pas de l’affaire Dreyfus” (above all, let’s not talk about the Dreyfus affair).

The second frame shows all the guests at each other throats with the caption saying “Ils en ont parlé” (they talked about it).

This case brought France to the brink of civil war.

After serving 5 years in Devil’s Island and after a ceaseless campaign spearheaded by his family and by (future Prime Minister) George Clemenceau and novelist Emile Zola, Dreyfus was ultimately found innocent of any crime. He was reinstated in the French Army with the rank of artillery major.

This episode pretty well summarizes what is presently happening in the United States. A deep cleavage separating Trumpists and anti-Trumpists. An unhealthy climate likely to last for a few years…

The subsequent question is: can you remain friends with buddies and relatives despite your sharp political differences?

It depends on the degree of polarization of both parties. Hardcore and vocal devotees of any cause are unlikely to change their colors and the break might be irrevocable. No use to argue with fanatics.

But with reasonable people, it might be different. It can be politely agreed by both parties to disagree and to never bring up that subject again… just like the uncle who spent 5 years in prison for undisclosed reasons.

Life is too short to waste time with distasteful negativity.