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It does not matter

I have been a registered nurse since 1991. Wow. That’s almost 30 years. When I was still in college, earning my BSN, do you know what was being talked about? The nursing shortage. Guess what we are still talking about? Yep. The same thing. It has not gone away. We have a chronic shortage. There are multiple reasons for that, but the shortage remains.

There’s another group in short supply: respiratory therapists. Guess what those folks do? They manage ventilators and ventilator patients.

New York governor Cuomo says the state needs 30,000 additional ventilators and 140,000 hospital beds to adequately deal with the current pandemic. Here’s the problem. New York has neither the nurses nor the respiratory therapists to meet those needs. If we look at what other states need, the problem gets bigger and more apparent. We simply don’t have enough trained professionals.

Becoming a registered nurse takes 2-4 years, depending upon previous education. Becoming a respiratory therapist takes at least 2 years. What this means is that we do not have and cannot produce in time the number of trained personnel necessary to meet projected needs. We have been beating this drum for, quite literally, decades.

Let’s pretend you are the entirety of hospital administration. I am a registered nurse. The US Navy provided me with a wealth of experience and training beyond what I received in nursing school. I can manage ventilator patients and ventilators. Not all nurses have that training and experience, but I have done it. I can do it at your hospital…if you are willing to pull me away from other patients to do so. Which means you must replace me with another nurse to care for those other patients.

With the above in mind, it doesn’t matter how many ventilators or beds we have.  If tomorrow, we have all the beds and ventilators we need, we still won’t have the trained personnel to go with them.

For all of you hospital administrators, politicians, supposed experts, and professors of nursing who refused to listen as we warned you for the last 30-40 years, as we told you we needed less paperwork and fewer restrictions on practice, what the f*** did you think was going to happen when a situation like this inevitably arose? Responsibility for this does not fall on nurses on the floor. God knows it doesn’t fall on respiratory therapists. Hell, he’s not even served out his first term, so it doesn’t even fall on Donald Trump, given how long we’ve been warning you. It falls on you who have burdened nurses (and almost certainly RTs) with more and more that pulls them from doing what they need to be doing. You brought this on us. Any and all deaths because of it should be laid at your feet, you feckless, power hungry assholes.

Two quotes…

for your consideration. The first is from William Pitt the Younger, when Parliament was considering a bill to reform the East India Company. It was argued that the bill was necessary to save the company from bankruptcy. Pitt responded,

“Necessity was the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It was the argument of tyrants; it was the creed of slaves.”

Years later, F A Hayek would express a similar thought, though he would phrase it differently.

‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.

Regardless of the emergency, and regardless of its severity, it seems almost inevitable that some people will make the attempt to “fix” things, always at the cost of just a little more liberty. I submit the same thing is true now. Is the current pandemic bad? Of course. Pandemics are, almost by definition, not good or even neutral events. But here’s the deal: the world is not ending and the sky is not falling. Those who insist it is are either deceived or simply lying to you. Regardless of the issue, the challenge will always be how to deal with that challenge while preserving liberty. Not “preserving most of our liberty,” mind you but “preserving liberty.” As an American, I will go so far as to suggest that the preservation of our liberty is far more important than the preservation of some much vaunted place on the world stage. Those things can go hand-in-hand, to some extent, but liberty must always be the primary concern.

Related to the above is this: there are those who will tell you that America’s only hope is for us to reelect the current POTUS. There are those from the other side who will tell you our only hope is to elect someone else. Allow me to suggest both of those are lies. Our hope as a nation is not dependent so much upon who we elect as it is upon us. If we wish to remain free, we must elect those who will pass laws consistent with freedom, and hold them immediately politically accountable if they do otherwise, regardless of what else they may promise, even if they deliver on those other promises. Pork is a poor substitute for freedom.

If we wish to remain free, we must be committed to the principles that once made us free. We must reject authoritarians of any stripe. It is a challenge. I pray we are equal to it.

“…somewhere in the darkness

the Gambler, he broke even…”

How very, very appropriate.

RIP, Kenny Rogers

Let’s see…

In spite of his rather acerbic assertion, Bernie Sanders is not dealing with a “f***ing global crisis.” The person dealing with that is someone he likely despises. Hell, I don’t like him much either, but let’s at least have something that approximates honesty about who is doing what. What Bernie is dealing with is his increasing irrelevance and the growing realization he will never be POTUS.

Presumably, now that Canada has closed its borders, it is now okay if ours are closed, too.

When Sarah Hoyt doesn’t sound a hopeful note, it catches my attention. I encourage you to read her post. The most important parts are summed up this way:

Look, there is a possibility, a bare possibility that we come through this okay. The mess Obama left behind, Trump could only get us out of one of two ways: grow past the debt, or inflate past the debt.

The first one was working, but now the enemies-domestic have thrown it in the pot, and all that remains is the painful second. Thank heavens we used the last of our savings getting the kids through college. (She says bitterly.) The smart money now is to spend it all and borrow as much as you can. It’s how inflation works.

But unlike the panicky spokes-twat for the know-nothings, I remember the seventies. Ladies and gentlemen, this one is going to hurt like a MOTHER.

Followed by

Work, my friends. Work as hard as you can. Build under, build over, build around.

And let’s hope G-d in His infinite sense of humor still looks after Fools, Drunkards and the United States of America. And that as grandma assured me, He can write straight on humanity’s crooked lines.

This last week and the events thereof will be playing themselves out for the rest of my life, even if I — which is unlikely — should live to see a 100.

And we’re going to need all the luck, all the work, all the desperate struggle we can muster so that our children and grandchildren don’t live in one of many competing national socialism(s).

Socialism kills, fast or slow. National or international it’s just a matter of speed and directness.

Let’s keep it from our shores yet once more.

On a more pleasant note, the brisket is in the smoker and the smoker is producing nice, clean smoke from a mixture of oak, pecan and hickory. Soon, it will be noon and I can have a frosty beverage of choice.


Covid-19 thoughts

I’ve been trying to come up with a creative and witty way of phrasing this post, but it appears my muse is currently quarantined.


Once more, preparedness, properly conceived and executed, is part of a normal, healthy lifestyle. Panic buying is not preparedness. Actions which declare “my plan is to panic” is not preparedness. Those things are, instead, an indication that you have either decided

  1. nothing can ever go sufficiently awry to disrupt your life, or
  2. you simply don’t want to think about such things

If that is what you’ve done, so far, I have a single question: How’s that working out? If you don’t have a plan, don’t panic. You can still come up with and implement one. You cannot do that, however, if you don’t force yourself to remain calm and to objectively consider your circumstances and resources.


If you are sharing memes which suggest people can avoid (or even, I kid you not, cure) Covid-19, by

  • drinking water
  • gargling with vinegar
  • any other asinine idea floating around in meme-land

then please pay attention. Those things are not true! They are, at best, the idle speculation of the grossly misinformed. At worst they are willful, deliberate lies. So, please, stop sharing them. What did other people do to you that lead you to hate them so much you would willingly contribute to their possible demise?

Getting closer to submission date

To my beta readers, thank you so very much for taking the time to read my short story entry for this year’s Baen Fantasy Adventure Award. You guys all did what I asked, which was to be honest and pick the story apart. Many of your observations and suggestions made their way into both the first and second revisions. They made the story better.

To my editor, LC. Your keen eye and insight transformed the story into something I could have never written on my own. I’m working on other projects, now, so there will be more to come.

Regardless of how the story does in the competition, all of you have made it better than it was. Thank you, so very, very much.

There are days I kind of like this writing thing.

RM’s views


  • Toilet paper? Really? Look, if the current impending collapse of civilization and world ending time paradox has you thinking seriously about preparedness, that’s a good thing. However…if you really believe that you will need 500 rolls of toilet paper should you be stuck at home for a couple of weeks, allow me to suggest you rethink your approach. A case of ramen would be a much better purchase.
    • Once the current cycle of impending doom and destruction comes to an end, if your response is to abandon preparedness, then you will have learned nothing.
  • People are just starting to get a little weird as they cozy up to panic. My recommendation is to keep that in mind when out and about. If you’re shopping at SAM’s and people start acting at all hinky, just leave your cart and go home. Even if it’s a cart full of toilet paper.
  • I don’t know how many times I’ve said this, but it bears repeating. Preparedness is part of a normal, healthy lifestyle. If your version leads your friends, family and neighbors to stay away because they all think you’re weird, the odds are that they’re correct.
  • Here are what I think of as the top three when it comes to preparedness. I suggest saying them repeatedly to yourself if you are buying for any sort of emergency preparedness.
    • Water
    • Food
    • Security


  • There’s a decent chance you’ll become infected. Unless you fall into one or more of the high risk groups, the odds are very low that you will wind up in the hospital. Again, unless you fall into one or more high risk categories, the odds are even lower that you will die of COVID-19.
    • Scared, angry people are a much bigger threat than the virus of which they are so terrified.
  • With the above in mind, even if coronavirus doesn’t get you, I can guarantee you that one day, unless Jesus returns first, you will die. So will all your friends, neighbors and family.
  • No. If your person, whoever that might be, had been or is elected, that would not have prevented the current pandemic. Why, you ask? Because it would have made no significant difference in our response to it. It’s fun to pretend otherwise, but that’s just an exercise in self-deception. Which is not healthy.
  • Unless you have and are wearing a properly fitted N-95 mask, wearing a face mask will not provide protection. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. No, it will not “help a little.” What it will do, if you think it will provide any protection, is make you sloppy. “Oh, I can (insert stupid activity for those who are concerned about becoming infected) because I’m wearing a mask.” As it turns out, stupidity is a risk factor for becoming infected.
  • Wash your damn hands!


  • Contrary to a rather popular belief, a nation’s woes will not be cured by getting the “right people” into office.
  • If you really believe that your person cares enough about you to do something that will somehow make your life better, I submit you need to seriously reconsider your focus. No one should be more concerned about your life than you. Neither Donald Trump, nor Joe Biden, nor Bernie Sanders is going to fix you and your mess. Don’t abandon absolute personal responsibility and accountability, and the freedom they bring, for the security of having someone else take care of you and yours. Slavery is slavery, even if the collar is made of gold.
  • No, we most assuredly do not need to embrace socialism in the US. My recommendation, my heartfelt and serious recommendation, is that you not try to force it on your fellow citizens, for we do not wish to do the thing.
    • If your response is any version of “roads, public parks, the military, etc are socialism,” you are either a liar or an idiot. Or both.

Gun control

  • If you are a supporter of the right to keep and bear arms, there is something you must recognize. To wit, gun control supporters will never stop. It does not lie within busybodies and authoritarians to abandon their efforts to control you for your own good.
  • If you are a gun control advocate, allow me to be very clear. I have gone as far as I will go. Regardless of any further restrictions you might somehow get legislated into law, I will not comply. Ever. Under any circumstances. You are hereby cordially invited to go pound sand.