Heroes work here? Guess what? They don’t feel like heroes

I have fully explained what’s gotten me so pissed at Google that I will never again deal with the Google Store, never again buy a Pixel, and never again use Google Fi as a carrier in a new blog post entitled, “Customer disservice and the Google ecosystem.” No one, under any circumstances, should tolerate the idiocy that customer service seems increasingly to be descending to.


COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

I was on my way to an Uber order when I reached an intersection that offered a vantage point on an elevated walkway between two buildings very near the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Presbyterian Hospital. It had, in big bold letters, “HEROES WORK HERE.”

I’ve not been impressed by such empty language as we’ve been treating a lot of those “heroes” as expendable workers.[9] And I’ve heard again and again from medical workers about their fury over COVID-19 denial. Platitudes, such as “HEROES WORK HERE,” could hardly be expected to remedy the psychological toll of such a highly politicized three-year-old pandemic on people who actually work with or near patients who are actually suffering from the disease.

While Jennifer Abbasi does not mention the politicization or the denial, she reports that many physicians and nurses are leaving or have already left their practices. Burnout and feelings of hopelessness abound. And platitudes won’t help.[10]

Jennifer Abbasi, “Pushed to Their Limits, 1 in 5 Physicians Intends to Leave Practice,” Journal of the American Medical Association, March 30, 2022, doi: 10.1001/jama.2022.5074


Ukraine

I obviously disagree with Serhiy Leshchenko, whom Julia Ioffe interviews, about the possibility that Vladimir Putin will launch a nuclear war. Even if he is right that one man cannot do this alone,[11] Putin has plenty of sycophants at the Kremlin.[12] Surely, he can count on some of them being in the right place to help push that metaphorical red button.[13]

Leshchenko argues in favor of further U.S. support. Diminishing the risk of a nuclear World War III is part of that argument.[14]

But I would argue differently. I would argue that U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization dithering does not diminish the risk of World War III. You can argue that Putin needs a victory and that failure to achieve it in Ukraine will result in escalation.[15] You can argue that Putin’s ambitions extend far beyond Ukraine and onto NATO territory and that a Russian victory in Ukraine would merely whet Putin’s appetite for more. Neither argument diminishes the risk. And I still do not see a way that that risk is diminished short of Putin’s removal from power, which still seems wildly improbable.[16]

When war is inevitable, we might as well get on with it. And I think it’s inevitable.

Julia Ioffe, “Life and Death and in Between in Kyiv,” Puck News, April 11, 2022, https://puck.news/life-and-death-and-in-between-in-kyiv/


  1. [9]David Benfell, “On a baffling presumption of goodwill toward ‘essential’ workers,” Not Housebroken, April 29, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/29/on-a-baffling-presumption-of-goodwill-toward-essential-workers/
  2. [10]Jennifer Abbasi, “Pushed to Their Limits, 1 in 5 Physicians Intends to Leave Practice,” Journal of the American Medical Association, March 30, 2022, doi: 10.1001/jama.2022.5074
  3. [11]Julia Ioffe, “Life and Death and in Between in Kyiv,” Puck News, April 11, 2022, https://puck.news/life-and-death-and-in-between-in-kyiv/
  4. [12]Isaac Chotiner, “The Purges in Putin’s Shrinking Inner Circle,” New Yorker, March 22, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-purges-in-putins-shrinking-inner-circle; Mark Galeotti, “How does Putin extract himself from this nightmare of his own making?” Times, March 5, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-does-putin-extract-himself-from-this-nightmare-of-his-own-making-v2ktvw08g; David Remnick, “The Weakness of the Despot,” New Yorker, March 11, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/stephen-kotkin-putin-russia-ukraine-stalin
  5. [13]David Benfell, “Nuclear survival,” Not Housebroken, April 6, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/13/nuclear-survival/
  6. [14]Julia Ioffe, “Life and Death and in Between in Kyiv,” Puck News, April 11, 2022, https://puck.news/life-and-death-and-in-between-in-kyiv/
  7. [15]Bruno Maçães, “‘Russia cannot afford to lose, so we need a kind of a victory’: Sergey Karaganov on what Putin wants,” New Statesman, April 2, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/04/russia-cannot-afford-to-lose-so-we-need-a-kind-of-a-victory-sergey-karaganov-on-what-putin-wants
  8. [16]David Benfell, “Where does Vladimir Putin stop?” Not Housebroken, April 8, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/04/where-does-vladimir-putin-stop/

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