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Murder hornets! 

Boy oh boy, our government sure has had our backs, amirite? What a country! Greatest in the world! The best system! The very best!

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For instance, how's that $1,200 stimulus payment holding up? You remember, right? Back in April, tRump made a big deal about his signature being on the check.

"Hey everybody! I, Donald J. Trump, just gave you twelve-hundred clams! You're welcome!"

Let's see. Those checks started arriving 107 days ago, so $1,200 divided by 107 comes out to a free $11.21 a day! Do you feel stimulated? You can buy a lot of gruel for a sawbuck! Can we have some more, sir?

Or maybe you were lucky enough to get that sweet extra $600 a week under the CARES Act. I mean, yes, you were on unemployment, so not that lucky, but you could pay your rent and eat, which is nice. That's sure been helpful, as in "has been." It's gone as of the end of July. Still don't have a job? Boohoo. Grab those bootstraps and pull.

Locally, SLO County no longer has an eviction moratorium for renters. That expired on May 31. Pay up or hit the bricks, freeloaders! Hopefully you at least have a car to sleep in! The good news is SLO County, the city of SLO, and CAPSLO joined forces to extend the safe parking program for the homeless, which had expired. The expanded program runs through Dec. 31, 2020. I hope your seat fully reclines.

Even though grocery stores don't want you to bring your reusable bags into their buildings, they're once again required to charge you 10 cents a bag because Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive order waiving the charge—which was imposed as part of the single-use plastic bag ban—has expired.

You know that free parking you were enjoying in SLO Town? In case you didn't notice, that's gone too. Tickets for expired two-hour and 30-minute meters will set you back a cool $50. You'll have to skip your gruel for the next five days.

Cities that were waiving late fees for tardy water and sewer payments are charging again, and you have to pay off your debt by Aug. 31 or, you know, fill your toilet tank with store-bought Perrier, I guess. Who showers these days anyway? And hey, cheer up. You're not living in your car ... yet.

I think this is what they mean by "death by a thousand cuts."

It seems pretty clear that our "leaders" assumed this pesky pandemic would be long gone by now, since all these programs designed to help us muddle through are dropping like COVID-19 case numbers. Ha-ha! Just kidding! The numbers are higher than ever and still going up.

In fact, the numbers are especially high for Latinx folks, who represent 55 percent of California's coronavirus cases even though they make up only 39 percent of our population. Why? According to a Centers for Disease Control report, "Long-standing systemic health, health care, and socioeconomic inequities and systemic racism, which influence life expectancy, underlying medical conditions, and health care access and utilization, as well as current work and living circumstances, are all factors that can play a crucial role in risk for COVID-19 exposure, illness, and mortality."

Let me be the first to say it: This is definitely the worst hoax pandemic I've ever lived through. It's also been very unfair to our president. Very unfair.

Hey, everybody! How does universal health care sound right about now? Do you still think the social safety net is for lazy people? Just imagine if we had a coherent strategy at the federal level! Wouldn't that be swell!

Unfortunately, instead of "draining the swamp," it feels like tRump stocked it with alligators, piranhas, and pythons. If our "representatives" in Washington, D.C., can stop fighting long enough to get something done, you might be looking at another stimulus check arriving sometime this fall. Whoopty-freaking-doo, right? Think of all the money you'll save on rent when you're homeless! Silver linings!

Obviously, this is the perfect time to have a nationwide uprising against police brutality! What's better than a disruptive protest, some vandalism, a bit of graffiti, and a dash of opportunistic looting to give the police a chance to prove they're not inherently brutal? How's that going?

We could ask Tianna Arata, the young Black Lives Matter organizer of a SLO Town July 21 protest that once again blocked Highway 101, but after she was arrested after the protest for participation in a riot, unlawful assembly, conspiracy, unlawful imprisonment, and resisting arrest, she took down her Instagram account. We're all eagerly waiting with bated breath to see if SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow is actually going to file all those charges.

I guess Dow needs to decide if he can sell a jury on the preposterous notion that Arata and her fellow protesters "imprisoned" motorists who ran into protesters because THEY WERE BEING INCONVENIENCED! Dow's job is to prove that two motorists—out of hundreds the protesters encountered—were so in fear for their safety that they were justified in running 2,000-pound vehicles into pedestrians exercising their First Amendment rights. 'Merica!

Let's see. Pandemic? Check. Protests and "riots"? Check. Hey, don't bad things come in threes? I was definitely promised murder hornets. Δ

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