Out of Focus

light rings 0520
I have lots of blurry pictures of my own, but “chuttersnap” provided this one from a website I was, for once, invited to help myself to.

I don’t know that I have any cogent thoughts for you today. I am on my third day following poorly-slept nights with large periods of lying awake, and for some reason this makes it hard to think.

Some of this is stressing over a stupid $500 charge from a workers’ comp company I’m no longer doing business with. About a quarter of that is actual premium due, some of it is math no one can explain or agree on, and most of it is a “mid-year cancellation fee.” In any other year, I would be pissed off, but I would just pay this as the final inconvenience from the Hartford, a company which has been absolutely odious to deal with from Day One.

This year, $500 is a whole lot of money, especially when it’s not serving any useful purpose. I have no idea how The Hartford has been harmed enough to deserve any cancellation fee, when every time I call with what seems to me a reasonable question I’m the one who suffers though three transfers and multiple blocks of time on hold. Blocks of time sufficiently long to allow me to re-sign with Pinnacol, the company I left due to a huge increase in rates but which I otherwise never had any complaints about.

So there’s that, and then there’s the completely unapproachable IRS, which is supposed to be facilitating the federal assistance program my business signed up for but which so far hasn’t sent any assistance for my request three weeks ago today.

At least I have some cash; I read an article (offered by the Hartford, so I should have figured it would be wrong) that was rather full of misinformation (telling people they could get $5,000 per employee per quarter when it’s really for the year) and lacked basic specifics like how to go about utilizing the Employee Retention Credit. The comments that followed the article were filled with desperation, summed up most neatly, if not heartbreakingly, by one plaintive poster: “I need help.”

The Associated Press ran an article yesterday on unemployment. One man they interviewed, laid off in March, estimated he has called his state’s phone line 4,000 times, still without success. Florida’s system is purposefully designed not to give out unemployment, and that seems to be working well for everyone except the people who have no money.

In the meantime, some institute in Aspen (sorry, the name is escaping me) with a fund balance of $115 million and a board full of billionaires, is refusing to give back its PPP money, arguing that it meets all the qualifications with its 430 employees, well under the 500-employee cap.

Food banks across the country are on overdrive, but some farmer in the state of Washington can’t even give away his one billion pounds of potatoes. And now it sounds like large numbers of livestock are going to go the way of the potatoes due to bottlenecks at meatpacking plants, which appear to be just as bad a place to work today as they were 100 years ago when Upton Sinclair wrote about The Jungle. I just read today that the author said he was aiming for America’s heart, but hit it in the gut instead.

Sort of; it now appears that we just take gut punches and keep going, no acknowledgement of reality required. It seems pretty clear from here that we’re going to be one of those countries, like many obscure ones, that will give up on mitigation of this virus. “We’ve had lots of viruses before,” a 70-year-old woman in Weld County said, adding that she has nothing to worry about because she is protected by her Lord Jesus.

The interviewee was eating at an illegally opened restaurant, but unlike the one in Castle Rock that gained national prominence for opening to a huge crowd on Mother’s Day (which now has been shut down by the county and had its license revoked by the state), the restaurant near Greeley was reopened as carefully as the owner could manage, but if she can’t afford her $1,600 monthly health insurance premium, her rheumatoid arthritis will put her in a wheelchair, which she might not be able to afford either.

I read a columnist yesterday (again, sorry, don’t remember who), who managed to surpass even me for cynicism, suggesting that Congressional Republicans have seen the writing on the wall and know that the president is going to lose re-election, but in order to not give Democrats any credit that could be used on the campaign trail, they aren’t going to work with them to pass any further relief.

And they don’t seem inclined to come up with any legislation on their own that isn’t corporate welfare. Did you see where the big companies are using their rescue money for stockholders rather than wasting it on employees?

It also kind of feels, right now, that if a vaccine were to be developed the Wisconsin State Supreme Court would rule against making it available to state residents. This court, which tilts extremely heavily to the conservative, has gone out of its way to put residents in the way of this virus.

I was going to say “harm’s way,” but a third of Americans don’t seem to see it as that. It’s just another virus, after all, and the Lord Jesus is looking after all of us except the 81,000 and counting he doesn’t like.

So I’m very tired, and rather unfocused, and of course late for work because I didn’t know where to begin and now I don’t know how to end, so I will just keep writing this sentence, which hopefully is not a death sentence, until I figure my way out, which is going to take awhile, because while Dr. Anthony Fauci’s work was good enough to five or six presidents before this one he’s now just flat-earth-out wrong and part of some anti-Tucker-Carlson plot to destroy America by trying to provide scientific information . . . there is no end to this sentence, is there?

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