M.I.A. and at the 19th Hole

A BLM Protester & KKK Member went to a BBQ…

No, that’s actually NOT the opening line of a weird joke. It almost happened this past weekend in Zinc, Arkansas. A group of Black Lives Matter protesters showed up in Zinc to protest near the home of Thomas Robb, the National Director of the Ku Klux Klan. The protesters were met by locals with guns. Police, however, were present to ensure protesters and locals kept the peace and, apparently, they did. This link to an article at Daily Mail.co.uk features a number of photos taken during the encounter in Zinc.

The BLM protesters said they wanted to open a dialogue with local people and, as the photos show, there was some success. The protesters also brought BBQ and all the trimmings with them. They invited everyone and anyone to lunch but it is not clear that any of the locals did.

I liked what the BLM protesters were trying to do and I hope they continue these kinds of tactics throughout the country. Some of my research has focused on the issue of intractable ideological conflict on highly sensitive issues.

Copyright 2013 by Thomas W. Klaus – LEADING IN CONFLICT: INSTITUTIONALIZING CONFLICT THOUGH LEANING RELUCTANTLY INTO THE FIGHT

The model above comes out my research into intractable conflict and represents how some conflict tends to become never ending. In an intractable conflict we may feel so worn out from previous battles that we don’t feel we can fight any more and, in fact, we don’t want to fight anymore. Then a new battle in the conflict emerges and at some point we feel we’ve got to enter the fight. Soon enough, the “gloves come off” and we are in it to win it. However, as happens in intractable conflict, the combatants exhaust one another and both eventually get to their corners only to vow again, “I can’t fight anymore.”

Racism is one of many ideological conflicts we see in American culture and society that is seemingly intractable and never ending. Just as the infinity loop indicates above, it is an iterative conflict until we find the courage to break the cycle. The ability to engage in genuine dialogue is key to getting us out of the loop. Dialogue is not discussion, debate, chatting, or negotiating common ground. It is suspending our words and first impressions, listening, hearing, and finally speaking with respect and understanding.

Kudos to those BLM protesters and Zinc locals who were able to engage in dialogue! Keep going!


POTUS M.I.A.

One of the most disturbing pieces of news over the weekend came from a surprising source – Dr. Deborah Birx. She is the woman with the scarves who would stand with Dr. Anthony Fauci behind Trump during the infamous Coronavirus Updates. She was often thought to be grimacing at the mis-information being provided by Trump yet she rarely contradicted him.

This weekend Dr. Birx told CNN the virus was now “extraordinarily widespread.” With these two words Dr. Birx confirmed the same thing Dr. Fauci has been trying to tell us for quite sometime and something we’ve known instinctively but did not want to admit: we are in deep, deep doo doo.

Trump did not like this very much. In fact, he Tweeted that he thought Birx had been influenced by criticism of her from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

So what is the President of the United States (POTUS) doing about the pandemic? Fortunately, he is on the front lines of protecting America’s golf courses, especially those that bear his name.

Trump Golf Count is a website that tracks whenever Trump takes time to play golf since his inauguration. So far, including those few times when he went to a golf course but might not have played, it is 268 as of August 2, 2020. In fact, this past weekend, he played on both Saturday and Sunday at his course in Potomac Falls, Virginia.

Now, I’m a golfer and I love to play, so I do not fault any golfer for taking any opportunity he or she can to hit the links, including Trump. However, 268 times in the approximately 1,277 days he’s been in office? Seriously, that means nearly 21% of those days have been spent on the golf course. Doesn’t that seem a bit excessive…given:

  1. Trump was so critical of President Obama for golfing too much (it is estimated that Trump plays, on average, 91 rounds per year as president while Obama’s average was less than half that at 42 rounds per year);
  2. It has cost American taxpayers more or less than $138,000,000 at a time when our economy is, at best, struggling; many people have lost or are losing their jobs; and a growing number of people have to scramble just to have enough to eat;
  3. Trumps latest golf outings both came on the same days that Congressional representatives and “White House officials” (which suggests to me one of them might actually be Trump, but nope, it isn’t) were in negotiations on a new pandemic relief package that has stalemated; and,
  4. Worst of all, we are in the midst of a pandemic that has now killed more 150,000 Americans and is likely to kill more than 200,000 by the election in November.

Fortunately, Mr. Trump’s heel spurs have not prevented him from fighting the good fight on our behalf on America’s…well, HIS…golf courses. Thank you, Mr. President! Have another Diet Coke, on us as always, at the 19th Hole, please.

Why is Donald Trump M.I.A. on COVID-19? After reading Mary Trump’s book I have a theory and it is quite simple: It is because Trump never developed the competencies he claims and he is in way over his head. Look, I didn’t say it was going to be an earth-shattering, innovative theory, only a simple one.

Trump’s father, Fred Trump, had those competencies, but Donald Trump does not. Donald Trump became expert at spending money, making bad business decisions, going bankrupt, and getting his father to bail him out and cover up his missteps. Add to these that Trump never really worked for anyone but his father and we can begin to understand why Trump prefers to hide out on a golf course than face the responsibilities of the office he holds. Fred Trump knew the “art of the deal” but Donald only knew the art of getting bailed out of trouble. Like Nero, infamous for fiddling while Rome burned, Trump is puttering about in luxury, enriching his own golf courses with Americans’ taxes, while those same Americans die.


For Your Consideration

If you’ve ever wondered how the myth of Donald Trump came to be, you’ll find this 18-minute segment from The New Yorker Radio Hour to be quite informative. It describes how the guy who gave us “Survivor” also gave us “The Apprentice” and made Donald Trump appear far more competent than he has proven to be, especially under pressure. Listen to An Insider from “The Apprentice” on How the Show Made Donald Trump.

Trump, Inc. is a podcast from WNYC and ProPublica which has been doing in-depth, investigative reporting on Trump, his family, and members of his administration. The project began in 2018 and I listened through what I thought was the full series as I found the episodes very informative and very interesting. In revisiting the website today I learned the podcast has continued up to the present time. Time to put in my earbuds!


chickenman – episode 87

Chickenman finally confronts the Very Diabolical.


Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep striving for justice, peace, and health for all.

Tom

July 21, 2020 – An Audience of One

minimalist strategy planning

Last week I had to turn down a potential client who wanted me to lead a strategic planning process. It’s not that I didn’t like the client or that I’m work adverse. It just didn’t feel right ethically.

A strategy plan is developed in relationship to the context in which an organization or group exists and functions. In fact, the strategy is all about how to negotiate the context or environment to ensure organizational effectiveness, sustainability, or overall success. A strategy plan, which usually is a multi-year plan, is dependent on the context being reasonably stable. It assumes the context will be mostly stable throughout the lifetime of the plan. Traumatic disruptions do occur, of course, often in the form of an immediate crisis that occurs and then passes in a matter of weeks. Even then it may be necessary to put the plan on pause or make some adjustments to it.

What if, though, the context is unsettled, unstable, and uncertain? You know, like in the midst of a raging pandemic that seems to have no end in sight? That makes strategy planning nearly impossible. To begin a contract to lead a strategy planning process in the current environment is not only unethical, it would be a nightmare to do. Until the context and environment settles into some time of regular routine (note, I did not say “normal”) again, I’m encouraging my clients to avoid long-range strategy planning.

However, we want to be able to plan. Plus, our understanding of “best practices” for organizational development have conditioned us to have a strategic plan in place…whether we pay attention to it or not, right? (By the way, there was a fascinating segment from On The Media last weekend about “shifting baselines” that relates to this post and is quite interesting and worth a few minutes of your time.)

The alternative is what I call, for a lack of a better term, “minimalist strategy planning.” It sounds fancy, eh? In fact, it is really just the practice of adaptive leadership but, sometimes, folks just need to hear the words they expect to hear.

Early in our pandemic year (back in April which seems a long time ago now), I worked with several colleagues on putting together some resources for nonprofits. The resources were anchored in adaptive leadership. You can access that series, Leading in Crisis, Part 1 and Part 2, at this top of the page titled Work in the Time of COVID-19 on this website and by just clicking on the previous link.

We created those resources believing they would be obsolete within weeks as we all went back to our “normal” lives with the passing of the pandemic. Now, three months later, I am seeing the resources still offer relevant, solid advice for negotiating the future. They allow us to practice “minimalist strategy planning” as we feel our way through these current times.


an audience of one

I’ve been reading Mary L. Trump’s book on her famous, powerful uncle, Donald Trump, over the past few days. It is a fascinating insider’s view of the Trump family, particularly Donald. What makes it quite powerful is that, by virtue of her training as a clinical psychologist, Mary Trump is able to also write the book from a unique professional perspective.

By the way, in case you were wondering, Mary Trump does not diagnose her uncle. She does suggest the possible diagnoses from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual that could explain his behavior, but she stops short of making a diagnosis.

Though I’m still working my way through the book, the one idea that sticks with me is the degree to which Donald Trump has played, throughout his life, to an audience of one: his father, Fred Trump, Sr. Have you ever noticed, in pictures of Trump in the Oval Office, that a picture of his father sits on the credenza behind him? It is as if he is looking over his shoulder…as he seems to have done in life, from the time of Donald’s birth.

This is a point at which I have some empathy for Donald Trump because I have also played to an audience of one for most of my life. In my case, that one person was my mother. It took me until I was over 50 years old and she was 88 years old that I was finally able to exit her theater. Until that moment the sub-plot of my life was to find a way to win her approval and her love. If she ever felt any of these, she did not express them to me. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t know that she ever expressed them to my sisters either.

Many people have an audience of one they are playing to. It is far more common than we’d like to admit in a culture that worships at the altar of bootstrapism – usually described in terms such as self-efficacy, self-sufficiency, autonomy, and independence. Without help we give away our lives in the pursuit of something we will never get from that one audience member. Our desire to play that part in the hope of even a little applause can drive us to other and self-destruction. The stage lighting blinds us making it difficult, if not impossible, to see that we are responsible for our actions in the play by virtue of our choice stay on stage, in the theater, and pursue the approval of the one.

In truth, we are all responsible for ourselves – our actions, our beliefs, our attitutdes – regardless of who is in the audience and what their approval means to us. Hence, I feel empathy for Donald Trump but he is still responsible for managing it in a way that is healthy for himself, his family, and the country that he has been entrusted to steward.

This last weekend Donald Trump sat for an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News. Kudos to Chris Wallace for a very powerful and revealing interview. I have been watching or listening to him recently on his Sunday morning interview show and have been increasingly impressed with this skills as an interviewer and competency as a journalist.

As I watched the interview this morning I was very aware of Trump’s audience of one. I’m convinced he does not share that same awareness. I’ve put a link to the interview below. It is approximately 40 minutes in the length and it is well worth the time to watch it. Be mindful who Donald Trump’s audience really is -it’s not his base, contrary to what he and many pundits believe. It is his father whose disapproval he has feared more than anything in his life. It is Donald Trump’s refusal – or inability – to get off the stage that Fred Trump, Sr. built, where he is continuously playing to his father, that makes him so very dangerous to all of us in this moment.


chickenman – episode 82

The Masked Maternal Marauder (Chickenman’s mother) has to step in for him while he continues his flight across the Atlantic.


the view from jeff

Jeff explains: With the return of professional hockey I am afraid that I may strain some unused cheering muscles!! I will need to enter in slowly with low stakes cheering – maybe one of the eastern playoff games first.

Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep striving for justice, peace, and health for all.

Tom

July 13, 2020 – News and Info You May Have Missed

Stories of covid-19

So, how is the battle against the Novel Cornavirus going? According to the data, as of yesterday at 2:12 PM, it’s going just GREAT if you are trying to kill off a lot of people in the U.S. Sometimes I wonder if that isn’t the point of Trump’s inaction. Maybe he wins the election by reducing the electorate!?!? Seems a really odd strategy but…geez…weirder things have happened, eh?

Here’s a couple of graphics I grabbed yesterday. First, this one comes from the Harvard Global Health Institute, and you can check out the current data yourself by following the link or just clicking on the map.

This map shows, county by county, the risk levels for each. The redder the county, the higher the risk. In this way the Harvard Global Health Institute folks are trying to answer the question: How severe is the pandemic where you live?

Just a glance of the map tells us a couple of things. First, it’s much less risky to be in the Northeast and the Rocky Mountain region. Not a good idea at all to plan vacation travel to Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas or Alabama. Each of these states – as whole – are in the red (highest) risk level category.

The scond thing this tells us, because all of the these states are in the “sunbelt” in the midst of summer, the Novel Coronavirus is not being slowed by the outside temperature. You’ll remember this was one of the theories being floated by Trump a few months ago based on a Department of Homeland Security study, which was not peer reviewed. This is a great illustration of why good data matters and, even more, a good process needs to be used to get to the data. By the way, what IS the status of that study? Was it ever completed? Has it been reviewed? After Trump put it out there as yet another one of his “creative” solutions to the virus, it seems to have disappeared…you know…like the virus… in the sunlight, after you drink a gallon of Lysol, and take a few hydroxychloriquine.

I have one more graphic, this one from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation in Washington State. These are the folks who have been trying to project the number of deaths from the pandemic in the U.S. See below for their latest projection. They are now projecting over 200,000 deaths by November 1. Again, check it out for yourself at the link or by clicking on the graphic.

November 1 – in case you’ve forgotten, this is only two days before the General Election on November 3rd. Please, don’t forget…either this number and to vote.


news and info you may have missed

Maureen Dowd has not exactly been friendly to Joe Biden. She has called him out on some of the faux pas and bad choices he has made over the years. She has a realistic view of who he is. And she has a realistic view of who Trump is. Her column in Satuday’s NY Times is worth reading.

Also worth reading is Ashley Parker and Robert Costa’s piece in the Saturday’s Washington Post. The growing movement of Republicans working against Trump’s reelection seems to be gaining some traction.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of the public radio show On The Media. The July 10th show, 40 Acres, is particularly interesting and informative with regard to housing discrimination and the eviction crisis in the United States. Generally I’m pretty well informed but I do not know much about real estate, financing, and “redlining.” Listening to this show, though, gave me a much better understanding of all of these.

Jo, a regular reader from out West, sent me this great piece from NPR. She and I have worked in the field of sexuality education. She found this story from NPR and passed it on to me, knowing of that part of my professional background. The title of the article says a lot doesn’t it? Starting A COVID-19 ‘Social Bubble’? How Safe Sex Communication Skills Can Help.

Judy, a reader from really far out West, also sent me a piece about the disparties in enforcing stay-at-home emergency orders by Honolulu Police. The Hawai`i Public Radio describes Micronesians, Samoans, and Blacks have been disproportionately cited for violations. Violations in Hawai`i carry some pretty tough penalties – up to $5,000 in fines and a year in jail. However, Hawai`i also has a large homeless population which has further complicated the issue.


Bob dylan, DJ

Another regular reader, Mike, reminded me that Bob Dylan had a radio show on satellite radio back in the early 2000’s. It was called “Theme Time Radio Hour.” I don’t remember if it was on XM Radio or Sirius (before they were joined up and became SiriusXM). I’m inclined to think it was XM Radio because I remember listening to the show a few times and the only subscription I had at that time was to XM.

I found if you open the archive website link in Google Chrome, there will be a player that opens with it to allow you to listen to the show. Firefox may require you to download a player first. If the link above does not open in Chrome, you can cut and paste this link into your Chrome browser: https://www.themetimeradio.com/

The theme for the very first episode was Weather so it featured weather realated music from all genres. Dylan featured music by a wide variety of performers: Muddy Waters, Jimmie Davis, Joe Jones, Dean Martin, Sister Rosetta Tharp, Jimi Hendrix, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, and one of my all time favorites, Fats Domino.

The show was on for three seasons. Seems like some good Summer time listening!


chickenman – episode 80

Ms. Helfinger continues her breakdown and her visit with the psychiatrist. However, she flips the couch on him!

Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep striving for justice, peace, and health for all.

Tom

June 7, 2020 – Hard Choices

hard choices

Clemencia and I, like many of you, have been making many difficult decisions over the past few months of the pandemic. You’ve probably noticed too that they aren’t getting any easier.

Recently we’ve been facing the decision of how much to go back out into the world. In our state, Maryland, the positivity rate for the virus is 4.53%, up slightly from yesterday, but still the lowest it has been in months. The lowered positivity rate gives confidence that people can begin to move about more freely outside their homes.

With that new sense of freedom, we begin to wonder how much moving about is too much. It also raises the question “Just because we can begin to go out again, should we?”

We’ve answered that question for ourselves. Given:

  • the changing understanding that the coronavirus is not only spread by droplets but aerosol;
  • the risk it poses to older people like ourselves and, now as we are learning, for young people;
  • the gross failure of the Trump administration and many governor’s to act in accordance with the best science available to contain the virus; and,
  • the overall failure of American’s to use the simplest mitigation practices: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance,

we are deciding to shelter-in-place until a vaccine is widely available.

Yes, we know that could be many months, even years. However, the possibility of catching or spreading the virus seems completely irresponsible to us given all we know about the virus and what COVID-19 does to people. It isn’t just that it kills many older people, it now appears to destroy the bodies of younger people. Actor Nick Cordero, who was only slightly older than our own children, is a horrific case in point of just how much the virus can devastate the body.

For us, it is easy to stay at home because we can both work from home and online. We do not have to go out. Still, it is a hard decision because we know it means we cannot be with family or dear friends.

Earlier today, after sharing this decision with a friend and colleague, I was asked, “But what would you do if you had young children?” The presence of young children presents an even harder choice. I had to stall a little as I quickly thought about it.

Finally, I said that I’d do everything I could to keep my children home with me. I say this fully aware that, though I am not a wealthy person, I live a privileged life compared to many others. And it is privileged compared to my younger self, too. I know what it is to live paycheck to paycheck; to be far behind on payments; to be on the verge of eviction; to have my credit ruined because of debt delinquency; and to miss meals because I couldn’t feed my family and also feed myself.

In reality my younger-less-privileged-self would not be able to stay at home and keep my children at home too. My heart aches for the parents who feel they have no recourse but to send their children back to school in a few weeks. My blood boils at Lame, Lummoxed, Loggerheaded Leaders who are so lacking creativity and courage that they cannot re-imagine how education could be – if resources were made available. We can help parents teach and manage their children even as they need to continue to work, from home or outside the home, even as essential workers. It still wouldn’t be easy for a parent but neither is sending a child off everyday to an environment you are not sure is really safe for them.

If those “Leaders” wanted to, if we as a society had the will, we could make the investment for every parent and every child. In turn, they could make the easier choice of keeping their children safer at home this Fall. Really, can’t we do that?


chickenman – episode 77

This episode focuses on life back at the Commissioner’s office in Midland City. Ms. Helfinger realizes the Commissioner has a brother! A rum running brother!


Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep striving for justice, peace, and health for all.

Tom

July 6, 2020 – An Untold Grief

in the words of frederick douglass

On July 5, 1852 Frederick Douglass delivered a speech in Rochester, New York titled What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? This year National Public Radio gathered several descendants of Frederick Douglass and asked them to read excerpts of his famous speech. Below the video you can download an abridged version of the speech.

Yesterday, in Rochester, New York, on July 5, 2020, a statue of Douglass commemorating the speech was ripped off its pedestal.

The problem with statues is that they are never an adequate representation of the person they are intended to memorialize. A statue tends to hide the facts of the person’s life and words – whether good, bad, or just plain ugly. Words must be tested by deeds over time, but they are still a better memorial than any inanimate object.


An untold Grief

An untold grief hangs in the air. We inhale it even as we try to avoid inhaling the Novel Coranavirus. There is no mask known to protect us from it. It surrounds us, it permeates us, and it defines us in this moment. A grief that cannot be expressed with words – an untold grief – is the most painful of all.

The untold grief is not the same for everyone.

  • For some it is the grief of both individual and systemtic oppression and victimization at the hands of the majority.
  • For some it is the grief of losing a loved one to an endless war in far off lands, especially now that it seems a bounty may have been placed on their lives while our country’s leaders failed to notice or whose silence was complicity.
  • For some it is the grief of losing someone to COVID-19 compounded by the grief of not being allowed to be present and to say good-bye.
  • For some it is the grief of so many losses during the pandemic – a social life, a job or career, simple human contact.
  • For some it is the grief of watching the American ideals of freedom, justice, and equality subverted by their perverse articulation by Trump.

Lincoln affirmed the ideals of America — freedom, justice, equality for all — and the personal ideals of honesty, integrity, command of facts, common sense and service to a greater good.

Dan Rodricks, American Ideal: What We Were Told, What We Learned, Why We Vote, November 5, 2018
The Scream, by Edvard Munch, 1893

While the origins and causes of our untold grief may be different, it is a collective grief that can only be expressed in a collective scream. I believe this is what I was hearing throughout the holiday weekend. I could hear it over the very few celebrations I witnessed around our home, the fireworks, the flyovers, and the hateful rhetoric of Trump. Our collective scream is low and barely audible but it is growing. Soon it will be a deafening roar and there will be no way to silence it, placate it, or ignore it.

What will that sound like? What will it mean? I wish I knew. Do you know?


the view from jeff

Jeff Explains: Had a bunch of online meetings and classes today. Didn’t feel like wearing my designated zoom shirt… but also didn’t want to iron a new shirt. I remember my Grandpa had a few of those fake turtleneck units that you tuck under your shirt!! Wish I had a couple myself.

chickenman – episode 76

Chickenman offers assistance to a swimmer, who is en route to Paris, on his Trans-Atlantic flight.


Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep striving for justice, peace, and health for all.

Tom

July 1, 2020 – Truth in an Age of Untrustworthiness

A Note from the Past

Early in the morning on March 14, 2020 I could not sleep. I was doing a two-day strategy planning session in Jackson, Mississippi and I was to start the second day later in the morning. I had made the decision to start the drive home immediately at the close of the session instead of waiting until the next day, Sunday the 15th, to start after a good night’s sleep.

Why the change in plans?

The day before, Friday, March 13, the COVID-19 natioanl pandemic emergency had been declared. Since I couldn’t sleep, I wrote the following blog that I never posted. Still, it inspired me, two days later, to begin daily blogging. First as Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place (for 77 straight days) and now as The Daily Drivel. Today marks 108 consecutive days of posting a blog. Before you now it, it will be 110!

I’ve been taking in and sitting with all the news over the past couple of days about COVID-19. When I sat down to write today’s blog, I accidently clicked on the “Drafts” section and this unsent blog popped up. I began to read it and had a terrible, sinking feeling. At this point I want to quip something funny like one of the famous sayings from Yogi Berra, specifically, “It’s deja vu all over again.” However, it isn’t funny. It is tragic. March 13th is nearly four months ago but, folks, we are right back there like in some kind of cruel Groundhog Day but without Bill Murray to make us laugh about it.

I’ve decided to run that blog today unedited and in its entirety. Bear in mind it was written the morning after the declaration of national emergency. Mississippi, where I was working, would have its first reported case of coronavirus later that day. None of us were expected to be sheltering-in-place more than two weeks. Who could have imagined we’d be in the place we are today with 2.6 million Americans confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nearly 130,000 dead?

I know this is going to sound nonsensical but I wish it were not still March 14, 2020. The only difference, it seems, is that I’m writing from my office at home and not the Hampton Inn Downtown Jackson.


Truth in an Age of Untrustworthiness

Today, March 14, 2020, two opposite things are true: Life goes on as normal and nothing about life is normal.

I’m writing this from Jackson, Mississippi where I finish up some work with a really terrific client today. What is normal about today is that I’m doing work I often do. I have done strategy planning sessions with many organizations. There is nothing new in this work for me. It is part of my normal life.

However, nothing about how I am doing this work this time is normal. Because of the spread of the coronavirus we are: practicing social distancing (keeping six feet away from one another), regular hand washing and sanitizing, trying to keep our hands away from our faces, and wiping down every surface we can in our meeting spaces a couple of times each day. Notice I said “meeting spaces.”

The only meeting rooms available to us were too small to accommodate all 15-17 people seated at a distance of six feet apart (an appropriate social distance). The group was divided into two – one meeting in a small conference room in my hotel and the other meeting in a small conference room at the organization’s offices. Using Zoom videoconferencing we are able to work together from our separate locations. It worked, but nothing was normal about it.

I know. Some of you reading this will see this as an over reaction on my part and that of my client. I’m okay with that. Actually, we had some fun with the “abundance of caution” here as well. I get it. During uncertain times when we are feeling a bit shaken, humor is an important resource. What I don’t get are the people who see the coronavirus thing as a big joke or even a hoax. I know. This is America, the land of the free where we are all entitled to our own thoughts, beliefs, and speech – no matter how ill informed, damaging, or hurtful they may be. If it were not for this freedom, I couldn’t be writing this post.

Here’s the problem though. We live in an age of untrustworthiness. As Americans, we have been lied to by many different people – too many of them in leadership – in the past and present. Some have invented conspiracy theories and outright hoaxes.

  • Some have lied because they erroneously believed they were serving a greater good by being less than candid.
  • Some are pathological liars.
  • Some are innocent, ignorant, and well intended – but pass on things they’ve heard from a “reliable source” but which is still neither reliable nor true.
  • Some are just plain evil and use lies to create chaos and confusion to their own benefit.

Be careful about “who” you read into what you just read. The “who” is all of us. Though some of you will believe I’m referring to a particular leader or groups of leaders and some will believe I’m referring to the media. Nope.

I don’t always appreciate how addiction to ratings and revenue often drives the media to make meaningless stories important and sensational stories even more sensational. Nonetheless, I believe they have, on the whole, tried to do more good than harm with their reporting of the Novel Coronavirus. Even in the media there are bad actors who hold to political loyalties and party lines rather than the truth. I believe the media has been trying to get our attention long enough to focus on a real threat while others would prefer to distract us from it.

The reason for a lie never really matters because the damage of the lie is still the same. It sows mistrust, lack of confidence, and we find ourselves living in an age of untrustworthiness.

My professional field is leadership not public health. However, I have spent the majority of my career working on matters related to public health. I’ve had the privilege of working with local, county, and state public health departments around the United States, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and major health and medical research universities. When it comes to matters of public health, I do not listen to our leaders or the media but directly to the people from the public health world. Sometimes, of course, leaders or the media may be channels by which public health messages get out so it is impossible to avoid them altogether. As good consumers, though, it is our obligation to pull back the curtain on leaders and the media to assess the quality of the information they are passing on.

We are in a moment when the clear, factual voice of public health is still struggling to be heard through the political rhetoric. In this moment, I believe the truth is to be found in what public health people are trying to tell us. If they could get through to us, here is what I believe they’d want us to hear:

  • We have a much bigger problem than we’ve been led to believe because too little is being done too late. The coronavirus did not just “pop up” in the past few weeks as some leaders would have us believe. Our leaders have known about it and its potential as a very serious threat since early January. They were warned by the epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on January 21 that cases of the virus were expected in the United States and globally. Still, our leaders put out information that was less than candid about the risk. In what may be the race of our lives, the coronavirus had a nearly 10 week head start on us and we have just barely left the starting blocks.
  • Infections are growing exponentially which means far more of us will become sick and die than what we ever imagined. The mathematicians have worked out the numbers for us. Epidemiologists tell us that the number of coronavirus cases doubles ever six days at its current rate of growth. If it continues at that rate, we will hit 1 million cases in the U.S. by the end of April. Two weeks later, by the middle of May, we will have 4 million cases. The mortality rates for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may as low as 3% to 5% but recent re-estimations of death rates published on March 12 show they may be as high as 15%, even 20%. More fun with math…Do you know how many American’s died of the Spanish Flu in 1918-1919? The final toll is estimated at 675,000. How does this compare with the potential death toll for COVID-19? You can do the math yourself to come up with the truly frightening number of deaths which could result from COVID-19. Remember, the Spanish Flu first appeared in the United States in January 1918 in Kansas. It came in two waves, with the second more deadly than the first.

Tell me, please. Are we simply picking up where we left off on March 14th? It seems so.


The return of weird al wednesday

So, weirdly, people really liked Weird Al Wednesday last week. So much so that Mike, a regular reader from here in Maryland, sent me this wonderful performance by Weird Al when he did a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR. Enjoy!


chickenman – episode 74

Chickenman continues his flight across the Atlantic Ocean all the while confusing and befuddling an airline pilot who spots the Wonderful Weekend Warrior on his trek.


Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep striving for justice, peace, and health for all.

Tom

June 30, 2020 – Sources & Resources

Today is a mash-up day. I’ve put together a list of interesting reads and places to visit over the Independence Day holiday. These should give you something to do so you can stay inside, or away from people, and remain safe.

Yesterday, during an interview on National Public Radio (NPR), I heard Tom Frieden (former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) say that right now we need to be practicing the three W’s:

  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Watch your distance

I really appreciate the clarity of the message. Seems simple enough, eh?

sources and resources on current events

Recently I’ve been reading a daily newsletter that comes into my email from Popular Information. Judd Legum, the guy who writes it, is a former political researcher. His writing is clear and his research seems to be pretty good as well. However, this is not his first rodeo, as you will see when you read about him. Recently, Legum and Popular Information have doggedly on the trail of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook for their consistent failure to monitor hate speech. Today this article came out about how Facebook has been losing advertising dollars from many companies (approaching 250) for both the failure and their reticence to correct the problem. In the spirit of full disclosure…I hate Facebook for all the reason Legum spells out and more.

In the realm of politics, there are several interesting thing to examine over the holiday break. First, this whole thing with Russia and the bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan is big and getting bigger. The New York Times is reporting that Trump did learn about it in the Presidential Daily Briefing back in February. Then, Fox News seems to be putting out a story that GOP operatives may be trying to force Trump to leave the race. Interesting, huh? Not sure what to make of it but I did find this video that provides some context for the issue. Finally, with regard to the Presidential race, there is was an interesting article in The Guardian a few weeks ago by Art Cullen, Pulitzer Prizing journalist and editor of The Storm Lake Times, a family-run local newspaper in Storm Lake, Iowa. In The Guardian article Cullen argues that Midwesterns are doubting Trump putting his re-election at risk.

As the general election draws nearer, I’m finding myself drawn to websites and resources that give me more information than opinion. Here are several I’m finding useful:

  • Snopes.com – I use Scopes.com to investigate the latest thing I’ve heard before I decide to believe it.
  • Politifact.com – Politifact.com does something similar to Snopes.com except it focuses specifically on politics.
  • AllSides.com – In a previous blog I also featured AllSides.com because it gives you the news from the left, the center, and the right in an effort to ferret out the media bias.
  • RealClearPolitics.com – RealClearPolitics.com is a great site to visit for information on the latest political poles and the stories behind the polls.

tough conversations

There are at least four resources to help you have the challenging conversations you need to have with people in your life on issues such as race, politics, mask wearing, conspiracy theories, etc.

Talking About Race is a new resource from the National Museum of African American History & Culture at the Smithsonian. The website is designed to provide information and guidance on how to have conversations about race with one another. It is well done and offers resources for teachers, parents or caregivers, and anyone who is committed to equity.

There are three groups that are trying to bring people together across ideological divides to have important and courageous conversations. I’ll let their websites speak for themselves:

stories of covid-19

Three items related to COVID-19 have caught my interest recently.

First, there was a very good article today on the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Tracker. It was created last January by a PhD student at Johns Hopkins University. Data from the tracker are used extensively by many media outlets for following the progression of COVID-19 around the world. The story of the tracker is very interesting and gives some additional insight on how to use it.

Second, as story from NPR gives us good advice for using masks for outdoor activity. I know there…there is some debate about whether you even need a mask for outdoor exercise. Check out the article to learn more.

Third, earlier today Anthony Fauci (of the National Institutes of Health) warned that the U.S. is not in control of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak and the number of cases could rise to 100,000 per day. That’s not good news. In that same meeting, Senator Lamar Alexander chastised Trump for not wearing a mask at least some of the time.


chickenman – episode 73

Chickenman is on his way across the Atlantic Ocean…yellow raincoat and all!

Meteor watch day

Today, the last day of June, is Meteor Watch Day. Seems like a great day to go out on Perry Como’s “Catch a Falling Star.”

Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep striving for justice, peace, and health for all.

Tom

June 19, 2020 – Juneteenth & the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Today is June 19, 2020, also known as Juneteenth. In my June 18th blog (which got posted late due to a technical glitch) I wrote about Juneteenth, provided several links to excellent resources about the holiday and focused on the anthem which is associated with it, Lift Every Voice and Sing.

This date is also significant for something that happened 99 years later, on June 19, 1964. After a 54-day filibuster, the United States Senate passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by a vote of 73 to 27. The House passed the legislation by a vote of 290 to 130. President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law on July 2, 1964.

President Kennedy had pushed hard for the passage of the Civil Right Act in the Fall of 1963. When he died by assassination in November 1963, President Johnson took up the cause of its passage and moved quickly on it. On March 26, 1964 the Senate debated the bill. On that day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X both showed up to watch the debate. The two men met for less than a minute. It was the first and only time the two would ever meet.

Despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 fifty-six years ago, there has not been the progress made that was hoped. Today, however, there is some hope that an inclusive, just, and equitable society will finally emerge.


stories of covid-19

There is no good news on the Novel Coronavirus front today.

We are approaching 120k in the number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Today, at this moment, we stand at 118,695 deaths. Over the weekend it is likely we’ll hit the mark. IHME is now projecting over 200,000 deaths by October 1.

Dr. Anthony Fauci told The Washington Post that we are still in the first wave of the pandemic. He explains it this way:

The one that we’ve been dealing with over the last few months has been what’s called “mitigation,” namely to, in a very dramatic way, separate the virus from people by the so-called “physical separation” of one person who might be infected from another. That’s the reason why we talk about the distances of physical separation, wearing of a mask, washing hands to interrupt that interaction between the virus and society that has been successful to help contain the onslaught which we’ve unfortunately experienced, which has been very severe, with now 120,000 deaths . . . in 2 million cases in the United States, which is extraordinary. That you would consider a wave.

How do you go from one wave and not have another wave going? Well, first of all, unfortunately for us, we still are in the first wave because even though there’s variability throughout the country, where some places like New York City are going very nicely down, staying down so that they can start to reopen, simultaneously, we’re seeing in certain states an increase in cases and even now an increase in some of the states of hospitalization. What that directly is related to is complicated. It’s a combination of testing more, but not explained completely by testing more, because some of the states really do have a real increase in the percent of the tests that are positive.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, The Washington Post, June 18, 2020

The World Health Organization is reporting that the pandemic has entered a “new and dangerous phase” and the pandemic appears to be accelerating. Yesterday (Thursday) 150,000 new cases were reported worldwide, a new one-day record. Almost half of the new cases are in the Americas.

Just ahead of Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma scheduled for tomorrow night, the state reported a surge in new Novel Coronavirus cases. Yesterday (Thursday) 450 new cases in a single day were reported, which outdistanced the previous one day total 259 by nearly 200. Tulsa had 82 new cases and Oklahoma City saw an increase of 80 cases.

Despite this and warnings from public health officials, Trump is forging ahead with the rally. In do so, he also adds fuel to the country’s other pandemic – racism and discrimination. There are protests planned for the rally and Trump has responded by saying that:

“Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis,” 

Trump, USA Today, June 19, 2020

When you read the full article, be sure to read the response to this threat by William Kristol, former editor of The Weekly Standard.

God help us all. God save us from the Stupid (having or showing a great lack of common sense) and the Ignorant (lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about a particular thing.)


salsa friday

One of our favorite performers is Carlos Vives, who, like Clemencia, is a native Colombian. Anytime he has been on tour in the DC area over the past several years, we’ve been in the audience. Of course, live shows may not be around for a while so we are becoming content with recorded music and music videos. Carlos Vives is best known for the revival of villanato, a nearly lost style of Colombian folk music. Don’t imagine it to be anything like American “roots” folk music. In this recent release, Vives is performing with Rubén Blades a very danceable salsa. Enjoy! It’s a great way to dance into the weekend!


chickenman – episode 63

The Hummer, the Crowned Prince of Wordless Silly Songs, is still on the loose. The Winged Warrior is hot on the trail…kind of…if he can only get into his chicken suit.


Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep striving for justice, peace, and health for all.

Tom

June 16, 2020 – What if This is the New Normal?

Today is Tuesay, June 16, 2020 a day to celebrate veggies! Fresh Veggies Day, observed every June 16, is a call to everyone to eat healthy today. You won’t believe what is observed on June 17th. Check back and find out.

Today is also the birthday of Goyahkla (“one who yawns”) in 1829. He is better known as Geronimo, an Apache chief and medicine man. He is known for his resistance against the encroachment of Mexicans, the U.S. Government, and even other tribes, such as the Navajo and Comanche. The crucible in Geronimo’s life was when his wife, three children, and mother were all murdered when Mexican soldiers attacked his camp. From that day forward he vowed vengeance against those who had committed the crimes.

Following Apache tradition, he burned the belongings of the deceased family members. Geronimo says that after he left that site and moved into the forest, he heard a voice which told him: “No gun will ever kill you. I will take the bullets from the guns … and I will guide your arrows.”

In 1886 Geronimo was the last Native American leader to formally surrender to the U.S. Military. He spent the last 20 years of his life as a prisoner of war. He died in Oklahoma and is buried there.


stories of covid-19: today’s headlines

No Vaca in Miami Please: Miami-Dade County has seen a spike in the COVID-19 infections. The number of cases has exceeded 2,000 per day for two days in a row and it is prompting some businesses to close up again on their own. While officially local government is not rolling things back to greater restrictions (they are currently in Phase 2 re-opening), it is not moving the county into Phase 3 yet.

We’d have fewer cases if we just didn’t test. Wait, who said that? That’s right! Ding! Ding! Ding! Donald J. Trump! Really, no, that’s not possible! Really! Read for yourself here or there:

So, there is not really good news though I think we are supposed to believe there is good news?!?!

We may have one treatment that actually does work. Researchers in the United Kingdom have found that a low cost steroid, Dexamethasone, appears to be effective in treating people who are sick with COVID-19. They believe the drug is responsible for cutting the risk of death for people who are on a ventilator by a third and cutting that risk by a fifth for people who are on oxygen. And what of hydroxychloroquine? Still not working, still dangerous, and now the FDA has withdrawn its emergency approval for use of the drug in treating COVID-19. This was a favorite of Mr. Trump whose own “scientific” study on an elderly population (N=1) led him to conclude it was just fine to use.

You’ll want to see this! A regular reader in Hawai`i sent me a link to Flourish which does these really interesting graphic representations of what is happening with COVID-19. This link shows the growth in deaths since the 10th death that was recorded. Notice who is leading the way. Thanks Judy for putting me on to Flourish!


what if this is the new normal?

We all seem to be waiting for the new normal to arrive, right? Implicit in the idea of waiting for the new normal (which sure sounds a lot like Waiting for Godot) is a belief that everything will magically return to the way it was before we ever heard of COVID-19.

But what if this is the new normal? That’s a question a colleague and I bounced around this afternoon. We were reflecting on a group meeting we had both been in (via Zoom) in which nearly every person expressed their weariness with Zoom. They are just so over Zoom and want to be done with Zoom meetings.

But again I ask, what if this is the new normal? Actually, I suspect it is. Businesses of all kinds – nonprofit, public agencies, and corporations – are finding that work is still getting done by teams in diverse remote locations, people can be productive working at home even if they are occasionally distracted by children and family pets, and it is even possible to develop close, strong relationships with people via Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, etc.

The uptake of comfort with video technology has been very, very swift. In barely three months it has become a competency acquired by people of all ages. It is being used to an extent none of us ever thought possible only a few months ago.

One of the worst things about Zooming or using other video platforms are the disparities in connectivity. Some people have really great connections so the video and sound is great. Others have so-so connections which can be annoying but you can still get a lot of work done. Some, though, have lousy connections making it difficult to see them or even hear them. However, even that is changing.

People are upgrading their equipment and internet service at home to support their video conferencing. Plus, the U.S. is moving – slowly but surely – to 5G technology which should really make videoconferencing on tablets and phone work so much better.

I don’t think we’ll ever return to the “old normal,” you know, the way it all was before COVID-19. That’s not to say we won’t be able to, I just think we are going to find we can be more productive, less stressed, and at reduced risk of everything (colds, flu, irritating co-workers, etc.) when we really embrace working remotely and allow ourselves to become expert at it.

Right now I think the hope for a return to the old normal is still too strong. We are reluctant to let go of it and embrace what is today and the possibility we are already in the new normal. Like Godot, the old normal is not coming back.

However, before we have to play catch up, we can lean into the new normal even now. We can learn how to work more effectively with the video conferencing platform of our choice. Here’s one, focusing on Zoom, to get you started.


chickenman – episode 60

Chickenman begins his race with the Bear Lady. When he arrives at his grandmother’s house, though, he gets a big surprise.


Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep striving for justice, peace, and health for all.

Tom

June 12, 2020 – Who is Antifa?

Today is Friday, June 12, 2020 also known as National Jerky Day. Yes, it is a day to celebrate that chewy, severe-halitosis-creating tasty treat of dried meat. It is a fairly new “holiday,” created in 2012 by the Jack Links Beef Jerky company which is in full celebration mode. Interesting factoid: Jerky is an ancient food that has been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. However, it was not until 1996 that it became a space food for astronauts. Finally, the astronauts have something they wash down with all that Tang.


who is antifa? (or, do you really know what your grannies are up to?)

The Washington Post had a fascinating article this week that I’ve been reflecting on for two days now. It is titled Know the Signs: How to Tell if Your Grandparent has Become an Antifa Agent. I’ve been studying the signs very carefully and have finally arrived at this conclusion: I must be an Antifa agent. I thought I qualified simply because I’m anti-fascist but that doesn’t matter much according to list of tell-tale signs.

For a while I thought I was the lone Antifa agent in our house then I saw this:

Gathers with loose-knit, disorderly group of figures you have never met to play “mah-jongg,” governed by mysterious “rule cards” issued annually from a nebulous central authority.

Alexandra Petri, The Washington Post, June 10, 2020

Now I know Clemencia’s secret identity too!


A Haircut!

Today I got my first professional haircut since February 21. That’s it. Just wanted to let you know. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I tried cutting my own hair in late March with a cordless hair clipper and a handheld mirror. What a stupid idea! I won’t say never again, but before I try that stunt again I’m going to have to be more desperate than I was at that time.


Chickenman – episode 56

The Police Commissioner sends the “emergency chicken” to summon the Winged Warrior to help save the world from the big, bad Diabolical.


News from back home

“Back home” for me is Iowa…you know, one of the mostly square states on a map of the U.S. found in the middle of the country and which appears mostly green when you actually fly over it? Somehow I started receiving the digital version of The Burlington Hawk Eye which was the newspaper I grew up reading. For the past several months I’ve been trying to read the paper to keep up with news from there. Plus I’ve always loved the Sunday comics section of the paper.

In today’s Hawk Eye there were two articles which illustrate so well the juxtaposition of ideologies in Iowa today. The first is an article about a move by the majority party (Republicans) in the Iowa Senate to restrict the use of mail-in ballots for the Presidential election in November.

I know. When we talk politics in Iowa you think of the notoriously racist Steve King who, thankfully, lost and won’t be on the ballot for the Republicans next Fall. And, of course, you think about the terribly botched Democratic caucuses last January. However, Iowa also holds primaries. Now, unfortunately, you may have a third befuddling faux pas to add to the list.

In preparation for the June 2nd primary, Secretary of State Paul Pate (Republican) mailed absentee ballot request forms to all registered voters in the state in an effort to keep voters and poll workers safe in the midst of the pandemic. Please note, he did not send them absentee ballots, only the request forms, which they would still have to complete, find a stamp, and mail back. Pate’s good work resulted in a record-setting 80% of all votes cast were by absentee ballot.

“My goal was to protect Iowa voters and poll workers while finding ways to conduct a clean and fair election,” Pate, a Republican, said in a statement sent to the Des Moines Register last week. “… I stand by my decisions.”

Paul Pate, Iowa Secretary of State

For this, Mr. Pate deserves a medal for keeping democracy alive in the midst of a public health crisis. So what did he get for his effort?

The Republican legislature decided to pass a law that now prevents him from sending any absentee ballot for the November election unless voters first request it on their own initiative. But wait…there’s more…the bill prevents county auditors from decreasing the number of polling places by more than 35% which some counties did to decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19. And even more…this bill was a 30 page amendment attached to a bill that was only one page in length. Ironically, I could find no evidence in the story that Republicans raised an objection to the most obvious drawback of proactively sending request forms to all voters: the cost of postage. Hey, aren’t they supposed to be the fiscally responsible ones?

Democrats in the Iowa Legislature are now accusing the Republicans of trying to suppress the vote. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…

One step forward: getting rid of Steve King. Two steps back: Make it more difficult for people to vote.

On the other hand, there is Kennedy Mitchum, a May 2020 graduate of Drake University (one of my alma maters). When she saw the video of George Floyd’s murder she was compelled to act on a matter that had been bothering her for sometime. As a public relations major, with special studies in law, politics, and society, she had been in numerous debates with other students where Merriam-Webster’s definition of racism had been used to defend negative behaviors.

Believing the dictionary did not have a significantly robust definition of racism, she wrote the editor. Her goal was to encourage Merriam-Webster to expand its current defintion of racism to include systemic elements of racism that oppress minorities.

“I just stated my claim that it’s not just prejudice, it’s prejudice mixed with power,” she said.

Kennedy Mitchum

She very quickly received a response from editor Alex Chambers, triggering several email exchanges. In the end Merriam-Webster agreed that the expansion of the definition was needed. Mr. Chambers indicated to Ms. Mitchum that a revision of the definition for “racism,” based on her feedback, will be forthcoming in the next few months.

Thank you, Kennedy, for two steps forward. You did both Missouri (your home state) and Iowa proud! (To learn more about Kennedy, check out this CNN story.)


PRIVILEGE ILLUSTRATED

A blogger I follow daily is Seth Godin, an entrepreneur, author, and former dot.com executive. In fact, Godin inspired me to try this daily blog thing. His blogs are usually very short and quite pithy, unlike mine which tend to be long and drivelous.

You can sign up to follow his blog by following the link below the quote. And, of course, you can also sign up to follow this blog where it is says Follow Blog Via Email in the upper right hand corner of this page. 🙂 If you sign up for Seth’s blog and mine, we’ll both send you an email to let you know we’ve posted a blog.

Seth Godin’s blog this morning got my attention for how it explains and illustrates the concept of privilege.

I didn’t spend any time yesterday worrying about being eaten by a grizzly bear. Or that I would get cholera from the water in my house.

Over time, we’ve built layers of insulation between ourselves and the world.

Shoes make it easier to walk around. We can put one foot in front of the other without constantly scanning for rocks or rusty nails.

This invisible insulation is a form of civilization.

And when it’s unevenly available, it becomes privilege. Just as invisible sometimes, but to make things better, we need to look at it and realize that it’s there and do something.

If other people have shoes, it doesn’t make your shoes less functional. But if they don’t have shoes, then everything else they contribute (to you, to me, to everyone) is going to be different.

We’ve done a shameful job of offering insulation to far too many people. Access to health care. Clean water. Good schools. Freedom of fear from state violence. And the benefit of the doubt, which is easy to overlook. Because it all adds up, every day, for generations.

It’s almost impossible to make a list of all the things I didn’t have to worry about yesterday. We need to work overtime to make that true for more people.

Seth Godin, June 12, 2020 – Invisible Insulation

The Passing of the Shakespeare Lady

Earlier today we registered nearly 115,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States. Many news outlets tell us about the famous people who have died of the disease. Some even try to make us aware of the not-so-famous who were still important to their families and colleagues.

Today I read the obiturary of a woman who died from complications of COVID-19 who was one of those marginalized members of our society. I won’t repeat the story here because I think you will want to read it for yourself. As with most obituaries, it is a quick read: Margaret Holloway, the ‘Shakespeare Lady’ of New Haven, Dies at 68.


Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep striving for justice, peace, and health for all.

Tom