Weekly adamisacson.com - Issue #25

Hi, thanks for reading. I very much hope that you're well, and that you stay well.

For me at least, this first week of "work at home" wasn't as isolated and meditative as I'd expected. It wasn't Walden Pond: there were virtual meetings—some that went well, some that didn't quite make sense. There were many e-mails and alerts to respond to, especially near the end of the week when the White House closed the Mexico border to "non-essential" travel (we're still trying to understand what that means for asylum seekers). There was, thankfully, a lot of just reaching out to people and getting reached out to.

I still count myself among the luckiest in this circumstance, here at home, employed for now, with people I love. But I'm having moments of overwhelming sadness and powerlessness. How can you not? Go out for a half-hour of exercise and pass businesses that provided income for thousands, dark with paper signs taped to their doors. Think about people incarcerated, in immigrant detention, or stuck in Mexican border towns' migrant shelters and encampments awaiting asylum interviews that may not come. Be terrified for people in countries, like Honduras or Venezuela, that this virus is going to slice through like a chainsaw. Rage at leaders without a shred of empathy or knowledge about how to run a complex government, as they downplay reality, spreading misinformation and lies while hospitals and governors scream for help.

To the extent there's a response to this, it's along the lines of the Serenity Prayer: let the sadness and anger flow about things you can't control, but get really serious about the things that you can control. Stay at home and avoid contact. Share only verified, credible information (please!). Be a source of reassurance and presence for people whose anxiety is more acute than yours. Put toxic people "on mute" and don't engage them. Let elderly neighbors know before you go on a grocery run. If you have skills for which your community needs volunteers, give of your time. Recognize when you're going down a social media or cable news rabbit hole and pull yourself out. Hug your family. Hug them again.

Four Podcasts, for Your Listening Enjoyment

Everybody we know is home and on the internet, being “socially distant” for the good of society. Why not start recording conversations with them?

I usually put WOLA’s podcast out 1-2 times per month because my schedule is cramped, and so are those of anyone I’d want to interview. I often spend as much time on the e-mail back-and-forth arranging episodes as I do recording them.

Not so now. I recorded four last week, and plan to keep up a similar pace this coming week:

  • The Americas Society / Council of the Americas has been keeping an updated record, using the Johns Hopkins database and other sources, of how coronavirus is affecting 19 Latin American countries plus Puerto Rico, and how governments are responding.
  • At The New Yorker, Jon Lee Anderson interviews Evo Morales, Jeanine Añez, and many others for a detailed report on the complexities of an increasingly tense Bolivia.
  • The U.S. Government Accountability Office put out a report on family separations at the border that, under normal circumstances, would have been a bombshell: even now, “it is unclear whether Border Patrol has accurate records of all separated parents and children in its automated data system.”
  • At Nicaragua’s La Prensa, Eduardo Cruz recounts the history of the country’s national police force, which underwent post-conflict reforms that the current government has almost fully reversed. Today, the police are “the guardians of the Ortega-Murillo dynasty.”
  • At Oxford American, Emily Gogolak spends time in Dilley, Texas, home to one of two large ICE-managed, privately-run detention centers for migrant families.


As an urban runner, I always notice the air quality difference when I get a chance to run in a forest or a rural setting. On Thursday morning’s solo run in Washington DC, that’s what the air felt like. The air really is noticeably cleaner. Here's the MacMillan Reservoir about 2 miles north of the Capitol.

All times are Eastern Daylight Time.

Monday, March 23

Tuesday, March 24

Thursday, March 26

Friday, March 27

Humor is Important

There’s a need for humor in these times—and not the dark, unintentional kind you see in White House briefings.

From The New Yorker: https://bit.ly/3dm3JCZ
From XKCD: https://xkcd.com/2280/

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Jamie Larson