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Two Florida judges violated Florida law by requiring cash bond for “unlawful assembly” charges. The reason? The police union personally threatened them if they did not issue cash bond amounts that exceeded the bail schedule for protesters who were protesting against police violence.

The police union. Threatened judges.

And the judges buckled.

Our police are out of control. They feel they are judge, jury, and executioner, and can dictate to judges and prosecutors what charges to file and what penalties to inflict. And I don’t think it’s resolvable within the current structure of policing.

The only — ONLY — way to fix this is to completely abolish police departments as they currently exist, as a paramilitary occupation force that has impunity to do anything they like with the sole punishment being a paid vacation for anything short of murder (and sometimes for murder, too). Abolish all police departments and all police unions, and replace them with Community Safety departments staffed with Community Safety officers armed with pepper spray and nightsticks and a *small* armed unit (perhaps a dozen armed officers for a city of 250,000) to respond where the Community Safety officers can’t handle things.

This is how policing is handled in most Western nations — most Western nations do *not* put handguns and rifles into the hands of barely-trained kids just out of the police academy, you have to work hard for many years showing you can handle the job without resorting to deadly force before you’re promoted to a position where you are allowed to carry deadly force. Only the United States, and tinpot 3rd world dictatorships, dresses up their cops like occupation soldiers complete with machine guns and tanks.

Or if we can’t do that: Defund police departments. Strip all the Robocop equipment from the police. Make them walk beats wearing dress shirt and dress pants and black shiny shoes and a police hat, rather than combat BDU’s and steel-toed combat boots and a combat helmet. Fire those with white supremacist tattoos or white supremacist “fashi” or “skinhead” haircuts. Arm them with .38 revolvers and a nightstick with a civilian style 12 gauge pump as backup rather than military-style high-tech semi-automatic pistols and selective-fire assault rifles. Make them drive regular SUV’s and regular cars with a $1,500 police radio and dashcam setup, rather than specially-equipped $60,000 SUV’s outfited with $50,000 worth of high-tech electronic equipment that officers regularly operate while the car is moving and as a result regularly end up with officers — or civilians forced off the road — dead after smashing into a tree. Take police departments back in time to where Officer Obie enforced the law without needing to be frickin’ robo-cop. A small SWAT team armed with better equipment is all that most departments need. Every officer being armed with assault rifles and pistols with enough rounds to ventilate an infantry company? Madness.

And REMOVE ALL ‘WARRIOR TRAINING’ AND THE INCESSANT PARADE OF VIDEOS SHOWING COPS BEING KILLED from the police academy training curriculum. They aren’t helpful. They teach cops that all suspects are violent murderers out to kill them, and thus if a suspect even twitches, kill the suspect. There are some training scenarios that are useful for improving the decision-making of police officers, but these aren’t.

Will any of this happen? Nope. The reason? Racism. White America relies upon police to be their personal racism valets, keeping them thare darkies in their place, operating as occupation forces in minority communities to make sure those communities do not erupt in overt violence against the structural racism that keeps them from thriving. And if police are used by white America as an occupation force to keep the darkies down, they have to be armed and trained as an occupation force.

And so it goes. At least until America is majority-minority, at which point all hell breaks loose.

– Badtux the Racism-smellin’ Penguin

For some of them, they’re scared. They got less than 1000 hours of training in my state (California), less than that required to become a hairdresser (1600 hours of training in California), and a huge chunk of that training was them watching dash cam and body cam footage of cops being killed. Bam. Bam. Bam. Bam. Dead cop bodies all over the place. I’ve seen one of those training films, and even though the cop died off-camera, the mere *sound* of a human being dying is enough to give you nightmares. And they watch film after film after film of this. This instills into them a terror of the people they’re going to be dealing with, which in turn means their trigger finger is on hair trigger. The public they are dealing with are now the enemy, and a police officer must instill terror into the public or they will kill you. Even the “good” cops excuse the “bad” cops with, “well, if the bad guys know that some of us will kill them if they do the least thing wrong, it’s good for the rest of us because then they’ll be terrified of us.”

What irritates me and annoys me the most about today’s cops is about how many of them are absolute weenies who kill because they’re terrified. I mean, brutal cops are not a new problem. When I was a kid the big Irish bruiser cops of my home town were racist AF and could be absolutely brutal. But they weren’t scared of *anything*. In a lot of situations where cops today shoot people, they woulda just grinned and pulled out their hickory nightstick and go to town on the perp. They knew how to handle themselves in a street fight without pulling their gun. Today’s weenies… not so much. Heck, most of them don’t even carry a tactical baton anymore. They rely on tasers — which are not 100% reliable — and pepper spray — again, not 100% reliable. And if those don’t work, then they shoot people.

Oh, how often do cops get murdered on duty? Well, the murder rate for cops on duty is less than half that of the city of Oakland, California. Yep, it’s literally twice as safe to be a cop as to walk down a typical street in Oakland, California.

But you take a 21 year old kid and show him film after film after film showing cops being murdered in horrifying detail, and that statistic doesn’t even begin to register. He begins his career in terror, and continues his career only if he controls his terror by inflicting it upon others in even greater intensity.

And that’s why even today’s “good” cops are dangerous AF and probably shouldn’t be on the streets. They’re young, undertrained, terrified (and usually hiding their terror by putting on a front of bravado), and given deadly weapons that they have no business handling and told “go get bad guys.” And they do, mostly, but sometimes…. well, sometimes they get “good guys” too. Because they are so terrified they just can’t tell the difference anymore.

– Badtux the Weenie-observing Penguin

Snowy the Cat

If you’re going to San Francisco / Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

Snowy was a local feral, and very wild. I trapped her after her first litter of kittens and adopted the kittens out and had her neutered and vaccinated. Unfortunately she was way too wild to tame and adopt out — she really made that trap shake rattle and roll.

This winter she started sleeping on my back covered patio in a kitty pile with Patches, a neutered male feral, initially on the rear door mat. I put out cat beds and made a little kitty tent by putting a blanket over a sawhorse. She spent the winter sleeping in a cat bed with Patches when he was sleeping, and sitting under the shelter of the covered patio waiting for him when he went out on patrol. Later, when the weather warmed up, she would move out to this stump, or to the back corner of the yard, or to the side yard where she would sleep under the lemon tree.

This morning I realized that I hadn’t seen Snowy for several days. So I went walking around the neighborhood, looking in all the places that ferals hang out, seeing if I could see her. Then I went to the back patio and looked behind the blanket. She was lying there dead, eyes closed, no obvious injuries. Checking the security cameras, she staggered there at around 4:45, looking like she was having more trouble than usual breathing. She never came out. She likely expired shortly thereafter, likely from a combination of her asthma and a kitty cold.

Just another small life that accomplished nothing of note and that no one will remember. Just like all of us here.

– Badtux the Sad Penguin

Her kittens, who hopefully have a better life in their new homes:
Kittens!

Unarmed black man killed by cops.
Riot follows.
Cue hand-wringing about riots being bad and how can we stop them.

Another unarmed black man killed by cops.
Riot follows.
Cue hand-wringing about riots being bad and how can we stop them.

Another unarmed black man killed by cops.
Riot follows.
Cue hand-wringing about riots being bad and how can we stop them.

I feel like I’m in frickin’ Groundhog Day.

Here’s a hint, people: If there’s always a riot after an unarmed black man is killed by cops, then the way to stop the riots is to *stop killing unarmed black men*. Gee whiz. You’d think some people flunked cause and effect in freshman Science class.

— Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Laser Eyes

Chuck and T’Challa are charged up and ready to blast any MAGAt who makes it past the doorway.

– Badtux the Cat-owneed Penguin

Nurses are complaining they are screening possible COVID-19 patients in the emergency room and being sent into COVID-19 patients’ rooms without proper personal protective equipment. The problem is, there isn’t enough personal protective equipment. And why that is so basically boils down to two things: The normal operation of the supply chain, and the orange underwear skid mark.

It’s not a problem of short-sighted administrators not buying PPE. PPE is in short supply for the same reason that toilet paper is in short supply — the supply chain isn’t capable of meeting the demand. Nobody keeps a six month supply of PPE in their supply closet in case of a pandemic, just as nobody keeps a six month supply of TP in their bathroom closet in case of a pandemic — it just won’t *fit*. Hospitals have at most a month’s supply of PPE under *normal* usage, because it’s bulky, has a short lifespan, and has a reliable supply chain where every week they order their usual amount, and a few days later it arrives with the rest of their shipment from their local medical supplies vendor.

Until it doesn’t, because demand for it has basically quadrupled while the supply… hasn’t.

At this point it doesn’t matter how much money administrators want to spend, they can’t get it. The supply chain will at most deliver their “usual” amount, because that’s all the supply chain is *capable* of delivering right now, because no government entity intervened to ramp up the production and stockpiling of PPE months ago despite lack of orders from hospitals for PPE months ago because they had no place in their store rooms to put more PPE. And attempts by suppliers to increase their supplies of PPE are being impacted by the pandemic because much of the economy is shut down and we are finding out just how interrelated the parts of the economy are, as critical things needed to get new PPE factories running turn out to be in as short of supply as PPE.

In January 1942, less than a month after Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the War Production Board comprised of the CEO’s of the biggest manufacturing companies in America to devise a plan to produce all of the weapons needed to win the war. By March 1 2020, over a month after being warned that we had a pandemic that was going to require more supplies than were available in the supply chain, the response of the Trump administration was… [crickets]. That, in the end, is the problem. Not only do we not have the PPE, we don’t even have a *plan* to get the PPE, other than to beg the Chinese for it, which isn’t a plan, it’s an abdication.

One last thing: Should governors have been stocking up on personal protective equipment in February?

Answer: Not really. Look at the supply chain I described above. It’s basically a just-in-time supply chain. The manufacturers make what the distributors order, with as little slack above that as possible because slack resources aren’t making them money. The distributors order what the hospitals order, because keeping large warehouses of PPE around doesn’t make them money, either. And the hospitals order what they can fit into their supply closets, which generally is going to be what they usually use in a month. Unlike the Federal Government with its Defense Production Act, states don’t have the authority to order manufacturers to open up more production of PPE and doesn’t have authority to order distributors to warehouse larger amounts of PPE. The only thing states could have done by attempting to stock up in February would have been to take PPE away from hospitals that needed it, because there wasn’t any more PPE being made than what hospitals already needed. And manufacturers aren’t going to voluntarily add capacity to manufacture more PPE just for a short time use. It takes a lot of money to build a factory, and if the pandemic is only going to last six months or so, that’s not enough time to amortize the cost.

What was needed was a President, a President willing to invoke the Defense Proeduction Act and force manufacturers to act back in January, even, a President willing to declare a state of emergency and order the production of everything needed to fight this thing. What we got was an orange charlatan.

– Badtux the Manufacturing(*) Penguin

* Yes, I’ve been a manufacturing engineer before.

Here’s the place *NOT* to get it: Blogs.

Seriously. Don’t be a #COVIDIOT . Get your information from reputable sources.

Primary sources (preferred).

Secondary sources (verify against primary sources): These *must* be verified against primary sources because information on the coronavirus is changing daily, and secondary sources are not always up to date. Still, they can do a good job of translating highly technical medical language into something that laypeople can digest

Some secondary sources:

Please *don’t* spread unvetted things from:

  • Blogs like medium.com and dailykos.com
  • Facebook, Nextdoor, Reddit, and other social media posts
  • Editorial or opinion pieces that do not state the primary sources for their information, or which are more than a week old (please note that things are changing *rapidly*, so outdated information might no longer be applicable)
  • Newspaper and television reports that cannot be validated against primary sources, especially from less reputable newspapers or television networks such as those run by cults or by far-right or far-left extremists.
  • Statements of politicians, preachers, Cousin Andy down at the mailroom, etc. — these are not medical personnel, and their statements rarely reflect current medical knowledge — or any knowledge at all.

Don’t be a #COVIDIOT . Stop the spread of misinformation. Make sure what you’re spreading is real information. Check against primary sources, and if you don’t understand the primary source or can’t find a primary source — DON’T SPREAD IT.

Thank you.

— Badtux the Healthcare Penguin

RIP John Prine

Dead of COVID-19 at age 73.

His first self-titled album would be a “best of” compilation for any other artist. Get it if you can. Many of his other albums had some good songs on them, but this is the classic one.

He considered himself halfway between Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. Not a bad place to be.

— Badtux the Music Penguin

So the coronavirus is now starting to hit *hard* in Europe. Countries that once were smug about their handling of the situation, like Germany, are now finding out that nope, they’re not immune either. Germany’s infection rate is going up and up, and their death rate is rising too. France is even worse, the death rate in France is higher than in the United States.

I haven’t been posting on a daily basis because my job depends on having one product available and ready for a major billion dollar corporation next week. If we don’t have money from them, we’re out of business. So I’ve been basically working 9 to 9 on that. At least I don’t have to commute anymore, and can take breaks to do things like e.g. go shopping this afternoon.

Shopping was a weird experience. There was no shortage of bread, eggs, and milk, the basics I was looking for. They even had some luxury items in like Nathan’s All-Beef Franks and ‘kraut. I didn’t check on toilet paper, paper towels, or hand sanitizer, since I still have plenty of those. Most people were masked. Most people did social distancing, but not all. We had lines on the floor 6 feet apart to keep us 6 feet apart while waiting in line to check out. Reusable bags aren’t allowed anymore inside the store anymore because they’re a possible source of infection, so instead my groceries got put into the cart and I got to bag them at the tailgate of my Jeep. I was gloved and disinfected everything including my gloves, then when I took off the gloves, made sure to use the sanitizer on my hands (and on the key I’d used to unlock the Jeep!) before touching anything inside the Jeep. Unfortunately a few people did not do the social distancing, they were the same people wearing neither gloves nor mask.

They say that this thing is mostly being spread by asymptomatic people and the normal droplets they emit. So wearing a cloth mask is now recommended to keep you from infecting other people, even though it won’t stop you from being infected. We’ll see how that goes.

It looks like the red states are going to be failed states shortly. Meanwhile we seem to have flattened the curve a bit here in the SF Bay area by being out in front so early in social distancing and closing things down. Meanwhile distribution of gloves, gowns, and masks to hospitals has completely broken down. Some hospitals have hoarded closets full of the stuff, and other hospitals can’t get any no matter how much they want to pay. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that much of our supply of these goods come from China, and huge amounts were recalled because of contamination. Back in WW2 we dealt with that by having the Federal Government handle rationing via ration tickets and allocating critical goods so that they got to where they needed to be without any hoarding, and also price controls to keep profiteers from driving up prices of goods beyond the ability of ordinary citizens to pay, but that was when we had a functioning federal government with a competent President. Unfortunately we have neither of those now.

The Captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt jumped on a grenade for his crew. He knew he was ending his career when he sent a letter above his chain of command, a chain of command which was doing nothing to help his sailors, but he did it anyhow. He was relieved of his command quite loudly and publically… and his sailors were, let us say, respectful of him as he left his ship for the last time. To say the least. Many of those sailors, off the record, say that Captain Crozier was the best skipper they ever served under. I’ll also note that the TR didn’t have the running rust that I see on so many of our supercarriers today… it looks like a ship that’s taken care of. That’s what a good captain does, he inspires his sailors to go above and beyond.

I was somewhat surprised, actually, by the very public way in which Captain Crozier was relieved of duty. Usually the Pentagon, when a flag officer makes them look bad like that, said flag officer is “asked” (ordered, actually) to retire. A couple of weeks later he slinks off quietly to a rocking chair in civilian life, underneath the notice of the press but a warning to the other skippers that stepping out too far is not going to be tolerated. But for some reason the Trump Administration wanted to make a huge spectacle of this. It’s par for the course with the Trumpanzees, it’s all about spite with them, not about the good of the service. So now they’ve told the sailors in the U.S. Navy that they’re supposed to die of coronavirus in order to avoid making the perfumed princes in the Pentagon look bad. You know that has to be making moral go into the crapper, as well as causing a lot of powerful people like Senators to Have Questions that the Pentagon has no good answers to.

BTW, for those who say that his letter let our adversaries know that we had a disabled task force — no. Every single carrier task force out there has a Chinese submarine following it around reporting on its movements, as well as satellites, spy planes, and outright spies. The moment the TR came into dock in Guam and started offloading sick sailors, the Chinese knew what had happened. They knew the TR had stopped in Vietnam just as Vietnam’s COVID-19 epidemic was getting started. They aren’t idiots. They had civilization with cities and agriculture while we Europeans were still hanging out in caves with spears while dressed in bearskins. Expecting our adversaries to be stupid is, well, stupid. Because he stepped outside the chain of command Captain Crozier’s career was over the moment he jumped on that grenade for his crew, but usually that kind of thing gets handled quietly with no drama — the captain gets quietly told to retire, he retires, a new captain takes over, no drama. Now we’ve told our adversaries that we have fucking amateurs running our Navy. Yay.

Basically everybody at a local nursing home has the coronavirus. Nursing homes have been hell on Earth for at least the last 40 years. Nobody gave a shit because the prunes went there to die anyhow, so who the fuck cared if they died a little sooner rather than later? Now all the understaffing and lack of basic cleanliness and infection control is coming home to bite the assholes who own these hellholes on the ass. Well, at least we won’t have to worry about overcrowding in the nursing homes anymore. Because they’ll be fucking empty, yo.

Goodbye to Bill Withers, who passed away due to heart failure:

Ain’t no sunshine where he’s gone, six feet under.

So, Hobby Lobby illegally reopened stores in two states…. then when braced on it, Closed all stores and furloughed all employees without pay and without allowing them to use vacation time. Which, by the way, is illegal as hell here in California — you gotta pay them their vacation time. And by furloughing the employees rather than laying them off, Hobby Lobby also fucked with their unemployment benefits in many states. Hopefully state regulators come down on these sick Christofascist fucks like a ton of bricks and their shitty-ass stores never re-open. Assholes. Fucking assholes.

So in the red states, you still got the dumbasses insisting that the “beer virus” ain’t real. This shit is starting to knock them down like pins at a bowling alley, but they aren’t going to admit they ought to be paying attention to experts rather than deranged megachurch pastors and talk radio gasbags. But hell, these stupid-ass motherfuckers are gonna be denying there’s a such thing as COVID-19 all the way until the time they cough their lungs out in the middle of a Walmart and gasp their last breath as they slump over the handlebars of their Hoverrounds. These are some stupid-ass motherfuckers.

Oh yeah, the #Covidiots keep coming up with more conspiracy theories. Rush Limpdick’s conspiracy theory above was only one of them. Another one is that the whole coronavirus thing is actually because of the gay agenda. Which apparently flies over America with its gay ray of gayness sprinkling magic coronavirus particles everywhere or some shit.

Sprinkling gay coronavirus all over America since 2006

I dunno, these religious dumbasses don’t make sense, they don’t have to, because their sheeple are even dumber than they are..

Meanwhile the refrigerator trucks keep rolling into New York City to collect the bodies of the dead….

– Badthx the Plague Penguin

So, our quarantine here in the SF Bay area has been extended to May 3. Yay. The good news is that it appears that our efforts here are flattening the curve. We’re expected to have a whole dozen ICU beds left by the time the plague peaks here in late April. Of course, that could tip either way, but hopefully not by much.

Florida, on the other hand, already has almost as many cases as us and only now are they talking about putting in social restrictions. Eep. They are going to have thousands dead like New York City, but they don’t have as many ICU beds or ventilators as New York City. This is going to be bad. I mean, it’s already bad in New York City, with thousands dead, but Florida is going to make New York City look like pie. Assholes like this “Christian” pastor in Tampa FL are going to get thousands killed all by themselves.

My diet continues to be horrible. What can I say, when the world is ending, right? Ate hot dogs for breakfast. Fried bacon and egg sandwiches for lunch. Fresh-baked chocolate brownies with milk for supper. My inner three year old is craving comfort food.

Talking about which, my job situation now officially sucks because of this fucking coronavirus. We laid off 25% of the engineering department yesterday because an expected $1M deal that had already been signed, suddenly the cash didn’t arrive because 50% of the customer’s business collapsed due to the coronavirus. That’s a big fucking pile of money for a small company like ours. Everybody’s pay was cut 15% too in addition to the layoffs. We’re going to apply for one of the small business loans for the “Paycheck Protection Program” in the COVID-19 bailout package so hopefully will be able to meet payroll next month, but the PPP only covers the first $100K of salary. As I’m sure you know, here in the SF Bay Area you can’t afford to rent a closet on a $100K salary. At least I can’t be evicted at the moment. Even after that order expires, the courts are closed until May 4. Nobody’s going to be ordering a Sheriff to evict anybody before then.

The goal is to survive this goddamn virus. If we’re alive, we can rebuild. If not, we can’t. So it goes.

Suppliers of medical masks, ventilators, etc. asking hospitals for money up front before they’ll deliver. Most community hospitals don’t have the money because they’re clogged with non-paying coronavirus patients. Ireland and Spain just nationalized their entire hospital systems because of this problem. Community hospitals were already running on the edge before the pandemic, managing to squeak by on high-paying patients undergoing elective procedures. Now they’re overwhelmed with patients and out of money for buying basic supplies. What this is showing is that our whole health care system here in the United States is a sham. No hospital in Singapore worries about running out of money. But they’re backstopped by the government, and our hospitals… aren’t.

John Prine is critically ill with COVID-19. That fucking sucks too. If the fucking caravan of fools hadn’t fired the pandemic response coordination team at the National Security Council, things might have been different. Instead, we had all the various agencies involved in pandemic response — FEMA, FDA, CDC, NIH, HHS, DHS, etc. — all working at cross purposes because there was nobody coordinating their efforts and overrule bureaucratic bullshit as necessary. So testing was late, contact tracing was late, making sure there was enough ventilators and masks and gloves and gowns was late, everything was late, and thousands are going to die because of that, including probably John Prine. Motherfucking murdering fools.

We now have twice as many cases of COVID-19 as China. We’re #1! We’re #1! U S A! U S A! MAGA!

Are you tired of winning yet?

— Badtux the Surviving Penguin