Alarums and excursions, March 20, 2020

MERCED (BLJ) -- A woman parks her car in front of a laundromat, opens a backdoor, takes out a basket of dirty laundry just as friend exits the laundromat with a basket of clean laundry.

"The Chinese Disease," the in-going woman says cheerfully. "Drag ass."

Their predicament strikes them as funny and they both laugh too loudly.

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Telephone calls, emails throughout the day. They aren't focused, not quite queries, worries. The last person said he was afraid Trump was going to cancel the election. Another one asked if Trump hadn't weakened the federal government to the point that the states are having to defend themselves against it and that perhaps that signals a permanent change in power. The other one that that was too theoretical.

If only we could feel we were going into the fight against the virus with less arrogance and fear and more equipment and information. Then we wouldn't be dwelling on political theory. Has the Right achieved its purpose of shrinking the federal government to a size that it can be drowned in a bath tub? And is the result impenetrable incompetence and corruption at the top of the executive branch in the face of pandemic?