COVID-19 Narratives (7): Elegy for a Father

Elegy for My Father
Daniella Mieles

Opening up and discussing my experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic is very difficult, and not something I would ever have expected to do, but perhaps doing so will create more awareness about the dangers of this pandemic to those who still seem to regard it as a joke. People always talk about how life today is so much more advanced than it was in the past, and yet here we face a pandemic disease for which there is no cure. And there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for any of us. Continue reading

Suicide Solution

Job description for EMT position with Capital Health in New Jersey, verbatim from LinkedIn:


  • Responds to dispatched emergency assignments.
  • Implements patient care procedures by using assessment skills pertaining to the illness or injury.
  • Identifies and manages rapidly changing situations of an emergency patient care situation. Assesses patient’s current condition through physical and verbal exam via patient or others present.
  • Collects all available pertinent patient information form patient, family, friends, medical records, and medications.
  • Transfers the patient to care provider and facility providing the receiving staff with a report. Completes all paperwork requirements during patient transfer.
  • Completes patient care record including demographic information, clinical findings, history, medications, allergies treatment rendered, and any changes during transport.
  • Provides a comprehensive written incident report describing any unusual event.

In other words, hurry to the scene of medical emergencies in a big van and save people’s lives. Continue reading

Going Out in Style

After writing some sixty-plus blog posts on the COVID-19 crisis, I now have to go on a bit of a hiatus from blogging. I’m not sure how long it will last. Knowing me, it’ll probably last a day or two, but it’s supposed to last longer than that. I will continue to post entries from my COVID-19 Narrative Project (a few have piled up), and I want to draw attention to a few items I’ve seen online lately. But for the most part, it will (or should) be awhile before I blog at anything like the rate you’ve recently seen.

As a small handful of you may know, this past Friday, I resigned my position at Felician University in protest at what I regard as the egregious malfeasance of the university’s administration–in particular, the malfeasances of the (imminently-departing) Dean of Arts and Sciences, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the President, along with the instructor whose egregious delinquency they decided to tolerate and sweep under the rug. Continue reading

Farrell, Brennan, and the Great Debate Over Public Choice

No, don’t expect an attempt at adjudicating the quarrel between Henry Farrell (Crooked Timber) and Jason Brennan (BHL) over public choice here. Not my lane. Just wanted to draw attention to the overall trajectory of the “debate.”

May 5: Henry Farrell writes a post at Crooked Timber critiquing Public Choice theory. There’s a discussion there. It goes on for 89 comments.

May 12: Farrell writes a follow-up post on the same subject at Crooked Timber.  More discussion. By May 14, we’re about twenty-some comments deep into the discussion.

May 14: Clearly pissed at Farrell’s “silliness,” Jason Brennan decides to write a rebuttal of sorts to Farrell at BHL. Discussion commences at BHL, taking this form: Continue reading

Coronavirus Diary (45): An update

Coronavirus Diary 45 was originally a memorial post about Dave Jarvis, a cook in the cafeteria at Felician University. When his death was mentioned at a faculty meeting several weeks ago, we were told that it was due to “COVID-related complications” or something of that nature. I just got a message from a member of his family to the effect that that was incorrect; Dave died of some other causes. I had only meant to write an affectionate piece about Dave, whom I liked, but his family seems to have taken offense at the post. I regret any offense caused, and have deleted it. Continue reading

Coronavirus Diary (59): Arguing About Dentistry Under Lockdown

I had an argument with a dentist the other day about a predictable issue: dentistry under lockdown. The argument turned into a predictable, pointless stalemate.

As a dentist, he was angry that his business was under lockdown. He’s been losing money, his patients are suffering and need medical attention, he knows how to protect himself and others against infectious disease because he’s done it for decades, so he saw no point in delay. Open up now, was his view. (Terminological point: I’ll assume throughout this post that dental procedures are a type of medical procedure.) Continue reading

I Call That a Concession–the Best I Ever Had

Remember Jason Brennan’s loud, proud, and rather idiotic declamations against me at BHL on the subject of police brutality?

Memory refresher: I wrote this post on the subject of non-compliance with government anti-disease-spreading orders. Brennan responded (with Phil Magness in tow) by mischaracterizing my view and defaming me at BHL. In full anticipation of the fact that he would eventually regret his posts and delete them, I copied and pasted them into the comment section of my own post on the subject. I rebutted his claims in some detail, twice, and got no answer from him but a few cheap, embarrassing, off-topic polemical jabs. Continue reading

COVID-19 Narratives (6): Nursing Assistant in a War Zone

Nursing Assistant in a War Zone: COVID-19 at Englewood Health Center
Kendra Francisco

Three to eleven pm was the shift I worked. I remember being at work one evening, looking at the news, and regarding myself as lucky not to have to work with or around COVID patients. Unlike a lot of my colleagues at Englewood Hospital, I wouldn’t need to wear a mask or protective gear because I was just a nursing assistant on a regular surgical recovery floor that Recovery shared with Pediatrics. “We’ll never get COVID patients here,” I remember thinking, “because for one thing, there just aren’t that many cases in the country, and second, kids don’t get it, so we won’t face the risk COVID-positive pediatric cases.” I went home that day without a worry in the world. Little did I know that the next twenty-four hours would change my life forever. Continue reading

Charles “Rob” Roberts, RIP

I’m saddened to report the death, due to COVID-19, of my friend and one-time neighbor Charles “Rob” Roberts, of the Glen Ridge (NJ) Police Department. My deepest condolences to his wife Alice, and his kids, Natalie, Shea, and Gavin. Even in memory, I think of Rob as too vividly alive to be fully gone. I will miss him deeply, as will many others in his family, his department, his community, and beyond.

This is a tweet from the police department in neighboring Bloomfield Township; the Glen Ridge Department will make a formal announcement later.

Notices in, Essex Daily Voice,, and

I first mentioned the story here at PoT back on April 22nd.

Requiescat in pace.

Coronavirus Diary (58): Yet More on the Jersey Surge

I often find myself disagreeing with academics, and particularly academic philosophers, about the value of journalism. Many of the philosophers I know look down on journalism; ordinary reportage seems philosophically jejune to them, and the arguments one finds in editorial writing tend to be weak on precision and rigor. There’s something to that, but I think it could with equal validity be said that academics lack the robust sense of reality and common sense that some of the best journalists tend to have. Sent out into the field, the average philosopher (or data-oriented social scientist) would, I think, quickly fall prey to some version of Meno’s paradox: not knowing what to look for at the outset of the inquiry, and not grasping the significance of what one encountered along the way. By contrast, journalists solve that apparent paradox every day–just without any sense that it is one. Continue reading