Sunday, August 2, 2020

Covid Chronicles Episode 3

Well another week ends and another begins or does any of that time space continum matter anymore? Space the final frontier is actually looking like a good idea, maybe the crackpots Bezos and Musk, are right to hit the rocket and get the fuck out.  Ad Astra does a great job of showing what insanity looks like in space and Tommy Lee Jones could be our space leader, there is something very Trumpian about him.

Trump has returned to our nightly schedule and the ratings are off the roof! I have no idea I just read the recaps as doing anything, cleaning my toilet, going about the street cleaning dog shit has to be more important that watching a doddering crazy old man ramble on incoherently about bullshit that he makes up to validate that he is  doddering crazy old man.  The Lincoln Project is doing a great job highlighting just how crazy he is but they fail to mention the enablers of the GOP who allow this to continue.  All of the worst players in this game are the Southern leadership cohort from Senators Mitch McConnell,  Lindsay Graham, Marsha Blackburn, Thom Tillis are all vociferous cock suckers in ways that defy how I have said repeatedly that the South will bury race, sexual identity and dignity for money.  Look at Mitch McConnell's wife and just ask Miss Lindsay about his love for his former work husband, John McCain.  Blackburn was a former beauty queen, aka, cum dumpster, and Tillis is the 15th richest in the Senate and tried to cash in on Trump's impeachment.   The South has a special kind of trash sleaze unlike any other. Again they have the Noble Cause as they refer to the Civil War to justify well being losers. Again they like the idea that the war between the States was an economic one and the right to secede from the Union. Okay then go with that lie.  Again I have never met more prodigious liars than I have met, better than Southern liars.

As for our Congress on both sides of the aisle, they have made Prostitution legal for years they just fuck everyone over for a fee. As for William Barr he is all that John Bolton wishes he was, for Barr is not about Trump, it is about the office and the agenda of establishing a path for clear Presidential powers in the future when the GOP Rise again like the dicks they are fueled on Viagra.   Trump is their seat filler and a great cover for the politics they do in the darkness, seat Judges, change laws, redistricting, voting right suppression, reproductive access and other economic policies that keep the rich and the checks flowing.

So we are down to less than a 100 days and we are not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and this tunnel is looking more like the ones the Thai boys were stuck in when Elon Musk was the craziest person in media, declaring their Coach a Pedophile.  Good pre-pandemic times!  Is there a Lifetime movie coming out on this? I could use one right now.

As Europe has done a fairly good job leveling Covid but the Southern Hemisphere deep in winter has found themselves now facing a risk they thought they could New Zealand it and shove it back into the closet with the Gays, Liberal Women and Black people.  Oh wait that is the GOP.  Melbourne, Australia is now declaring a state of emergency, and meanwhile Brexit Johnson the PM of Britain is circle jerking with his man-boys to get that country back to his agenda, whatever that was, as folks are jumping off that sinking ship like the Lusthania.

And on the celebrity front, Madonna has finally proven that her talent has largely been appropriated from others, from Gay folks, from Black folks, from sane folks, as she descends into Covid meltdown.  I give her Kayne two stars crazy, as well again I am not sure how much of his descent into madness is real or for Keeping it 100 with the Kardashian real.  They could invite Dr. Immanuel over for one of Kayne's Sunday Meetings.  I would enjoy that as an episode she could discuss the qualities of how a bleach bath removes ashiness, along with your skin, but hey whatever works!

Is any of this shocking? No, not really. Given the lack of education of most Americans, from poor schooling to the individual who has no access to a library (remember those where the homeless hung out all day) or to newspapers where reading is fundamental is a part of the problem.  The inter webs and the magic 3x5 cards don't lend well to reading while searching Facebook for misinformation.  I was told by a friend that he could not handle reading news where it continues on another page and having to do that on his phone.  I gave him the app info for the Daily, the Times podcast, as a source and reprint now all news on single pages to inform him. His colleague had never heard about Podcasts and what they are, so well, sigh and shakes head,  one down one thousand more to go before I lose it with the quarantine. But it won't matter  as the press is banned from the GOP convention which again darkens the message to policy and plans of the GOP.  Ah yes Democracy really is being done in darkness.


And this brings me back to our current state and that is state by state crazy and the quiet uptick in Covid numbers which the Crazy Dopey Grandpa denies and then wanders off to make another claim: Change the election date, ban Tik Tok, Fauci is wrong, I'm the baby Jesus.  All of this throw down is a distraction to keep the great unwashed from focusing on the problem at large - Covid.

By day one, not week one, but day one, a school immediately had to go into lockdown in Indiana when a Student's covid test came back positive.  Proving once again that personal responsibility is zero when it comes to handling yourself during a pandemic.  As that parent knew a test was pending, clearly was not sure if they had been exposed but enough to get tested and then in turn said to their kid, "Go to school you are fine, will be fine and fuck this I can't take one more minute of your pre-teen bullshit." Again proving that education is second place to finding a place to day care your kids the same way you institutionalize your old, you dump them into dumpsters and then they scrounge around for something to do all day from Bingo to disrupting a classroom, at least we can see the circle of life in real time.   But let's just deep clean it into hygiene perfection as that is the solution. Yeah sure, washing hands in a public school with no soap, no paper towels but shitloads of cockroaches, worn out buildings and windows that won't open. Not a problem.  Again the hysteria over all this cleaning is another goal post that moves with the wind when it comes to theories about how its spread.  Its blood borne without the fucking.. herpes folks without dick. Well a big one or small one given what we know about Trump. Irony that the Golden State Killer also small dicked, explains that rampage that lasted over 40 years before amateurs stepped in to revive the crime.  Here is another podcast, Man in the Window, aside from the subject of the GSK, it reminds you why we are protesting the Police, they are IDIOTS -too//two/to. (My Trump tweet for the day). The Book, I'll be Gone in the Dark, also touches on how long and insidious that maniac terrorized California.  This is what white men do, fuck you over until they don't.    You know what?   I am just going to wash that man right out my hair; If I can get a hairdressing appointment before the next lockdown. And yes that is the next phase of the endless moving goal post on this episode of Friday Night Lights.

But the real drama I have contrasted this to repeatedly - Mary Shelley's, Frankenstein. Yes the Monster is free and Igor and the Bride cannot restrain him, the Villagers have risen their Tiki torches and lit the way for the Monster to cross the bridges to the South and he has brought with him the best gift to give to a host - Covid - its the gift that keeps on giving. Taking re-gifting to new heights. So the only way to stop it is to crush it and how? Shut it down and put in the dumpster with all the rest of the shit we put in there and take it to the crusher versus recycling and renewing. I know we need to go green and all but its time to actually do something of use.  Right now we have done nothing but to end each episode with the dramatic musical cue to leave us to wait for the next episode. And anyone whoever watched a soap knows that is not possible or how else could it go on.  Shit I watch the British one East Enders it now has the kids of the former kids who are now the Adults doing the same shit that they did 20 years ago.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Yeah I do need to go to a hairdresser.



Coronavirus threat rises across U.S.: ‘We just have to assume the monster is everywhere’

The Washington Post
By Joel Achenbach, Rachel Weiner and Chelsea Janes
August 1, 2020

The coronavirus is spreading at dangerous levels across much of the United States, and public health experts are demanding a dramatic reset in the national response, one that recognizes that the crisis is intensifying and that current piecemeal strategies aren’t working.

This is a new phase of the pandemic, one no longer built around local or regional clusters and hot spots. It comes at an unnerving moment in which the economy suffered its worst collapse since the Great Depression, schools are rapidly canceling plans for in-person instruction and Congress has failed to pass a new emergency relief package. President Trump continues to promote fringe science, the daily death toll keeps climbing and the human cost of the virus in America has just passed 150,000 lives.

“Unlike many countries in the world, the United States is not currently on course to get control of this epidemic. It’s time to reset,” declared a report released this week by Johns Hopkins University.

Another report from the Association of American Medical Colleges offered a similarly blunt message: “If the nation does not change its course — and soon — deaths in the United States could be well into the multiple hundreds of thousands.”

The country is exhausted, but the virus is not. It has shown a consistent pattern: It spreads opportunistically wherever people let down their guard and return to more familiar patterns of mobility and socializing. When communities tighten up, by closing bars or requiring masks in public, transmission drops.

That has happened in some Sun Belt states, including Arizona, Florida and Texas, which are still dealing with a surge of hospitalizations and deaths but are finally turning around the rate of new infections.

There are signs, however, that the virus is spreading freely in much of the country. Experts are focused on upticks in the percentage of positive coronavirus tests in the upper South and Midwest. It is a sign that the virus could soon surge anew in the heartland. Infectious-disease experts also see warning signs in East Coast cities hammered in the spring.

“There are fewer and fewer places where anybody can assume the virus is not there,” Gov. Mike DeWine (R) of Ohio said Wednesday. “It’s in our most rural counties. It’s in our smallest communities. And we just have to assume the monster is everywhere. It’s everywhere.”

Dire data

An internal Trump administration briefing document prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and obtained Friday by The Washington Post counted 453,659 new infections in the past week.

Alaska is in trouble. And Hawaii, Missouri, Montana and Oklahoma. Those are the five states, as of Friday, with the highest percentage increase in the seven-day average of new cases, according to a Post analysis of nationwide health data.

“The dominoes are falling now,” said David Rubin, director of the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which has produced a model showing where the virus is likely to spread over the next four weeks.

His team sees ominous trends in big cities, including Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Louisville, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington, with Boston and New York not far behind. And Rubin warns that the expected influx of students into college towns at the end of this month will be another epidemiological shock.

“I suspect we’re going to see big outbreaks in college towns,” he said.

Young people are less likely to have a severe outcome from the coronavirus, but they are adept at propelling the virus through the broader population, including among people at elevated risk. Numbers of coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the United States went from 36,158 on July 1 to 52,767 on July 31, according to The Post’s data. FEMA reports a sharp increase in the number of patients on ventilators.

The crisis has highlighted the deep disparities in health outcomes among racial and ethnic groups, and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week showed that hospitalization rates due to the coronavirus are roughly five times higher among Black, Hispanic and Native Americans than Whites.

Thirty-seven states and Puerto Rico will probably see rising daily death tolls during the next two weeks compared with the previous two weeks, according to the latest ensemble forecast from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst that combines more than 30 coronavirus models.

There are glimmers of progress. The FEMA report showed 237 U.S. counties with at least two weeks of steady declines in numbers of new coronavirus cases.

But there are more than 3,100 counties in America.

“This is not a natural disaster that happens to one or two or three communities and then you rebuild,” said Beth Cameron, vice president for global biological policy and programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative and a former White House National Security Council staffer focused on pandemics. “This is a spreading disaster that moves from one place to another, and until it’s suppressed and until we ultimately have a safe and effective and distributed vaccine, every community is at risk.”

A national strategy, whether advanced by the federal government or by the states working in tandem, will more effectively control viral spread than the current patchwork of state and local policies, according to a study from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published Thursday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The coordination is necessary because one state’s policies affect other states. Sometimes, that influence is at a distance, because states that are geographically far apart can have cultural and social ties, as is the case with the “peer states” of New York and Florida, the report found.

“The cost of our uncoordinated national response to covid-19, it’s dramatic,” said MIT economist Sinan Aral, senior author of the paper.

Some experts argue for a full six-to-eight-week national shutdown, something even more sweeping than what was instituted in the spring. There appears to be no political support for such a move.

Neil Bradley, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said fresh federal intervention is necessary in this second wave of closures. Enhanced federal unemployment benefits expired at the end of July, with no agreement on a new stimulus package in sight.

“Congress, on a bipartisan basis, was trying to create a bridge to help individuals and businesses navigate the period of a shutdown,” Bradley said. “Absent an extension of that bridge, in light of a second shutdown, that bridge becomes a pier. And then that’s a real problem.”

With the economy in shambles, hospitals filling up and the public frustrated, anxious and angry, the challenge for national leadership is finding a plausible sea-to-sea strategy that can win widespread support and simultaneously limit sickness and death from the virus.

Many Americans may simply feel discouraged and overtaxed, unable to maintain precautions such as social distancing and mask-wearing. Others remain resistant, for cultural or ideological reasons, to public health guidance and buy into conspiracy theories and pseudoscience.

DeWine is struggling to get Ohio citizens to take seriously the need to wear masks. A sheriff in rural western Ohio told the governor Wednesday that people didn’t think the virus was a big problem. DeWine informed the sheriff that the numbers in his county were higher per capita than in Toledo.

“The way I’ve explained to people, if we want to have Friday night football in the fall, if we want our kids back in school, what we do in the next two weeks will determine if that happens,” DeWine said.

The crucial metric

The coronavirus has always been several steps ahead of the U.S. government, the scientific community, the news media and the general public. By the time a community notices a surge in patients to hospital emergency rooms, the virus has seeded itself widely.

The virus officially known as SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted by people who are infectious but not symptomatic. The incubation period is typically about six days, according to the CDC. When symptoms flare, they can be ambiguous. A person may not seek a test right away. Then, the test results may not come back for days, a week, even longer.

That delay makes contact tracing nearly futile. It also means government data on virus transmission is invariably out of date to some degree — it’s a snapshot of what was happening a week or two weeks before. And different jurisdictions use different metrics to track the virus, further fogging the picture.

The top doctors on the White House coronavirus task force, Deborah Birx and Anthony S. Fauci, are newly focused on the early warning signs of a virus outbreak. This week, they warned that the kind of runaway outbreaks seen in the Sun Belt could potentially happen elsewhere. Among the states of greatest concern: Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

Fauci and Birx have pointed to a critical metric: the percentage of positive test results. When that figure starts to tick upward, it is a sign of increasing community spread of the virus.

“That is kind of the predictor that if you don’t do something — namely, do something different — if you’re opening up at a certain pace, slow down, maybe even backtrack a little,” Fauci said in an interview Wednesday.

Without a vaccine, the primary tools for combating the spread of the virus remain the common-sense “non-pharmaceutical interventions,” including mask-wearing, hand-washing, staying out of bars and other confined spaces, maintaining social distancing of at least six feet and avoiding crowds, Fauci said.

“Seemingly simple maneuvers have been very effective in preventing or even turning around the kind of surges we’ve seen,” he said.

Thirty-three U.S. states have positivity rates above 5 percent. The World Health Organization has cited that percentage as a crucial benchmark for governments deciding whether to reopen their economy. Above 5 percent, stay closed. Below, open with caution.

Of states with positivity rates below 5 percent, nine have seen those rates rise during the last two weeks.

“You may not fully realize that when you think things are okay, you actually are seeing a subtle, insidious increase that is usually reflected in the percent of your tests that are positive,” Fauci said.

The shutdown blues

Some governors immediately took the White House warnings to heart. On Monday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said at a news conference that he had met with Birx the previous day and was told he was getting the same warning Texas and Florida received “weeks before the worst of the worst happened.”

To prevent that outcome in his state, Beshear said, he was closing bars for two weeks and cutting seating in restaurants.

But as Beshear pleaded that “we all need to be singing from the same sheet of music,” discord and confusion prevailed.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said Thursday she wasn’t convinced a mask mandate is effective: “No one knows particularly the best strategy.”

Earlier in the week, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) demurred on masks and bar closures even as he stood next to Birx and spoke to reporters.

“That’s not a plan for us now,” he said. He added emphatically, “We are not going to close the economy back down.”

The virus is spreading throughout his state, and not just in the big cities. Vacationers took the virus home from the honky-tonks of Nashville and blues clubs of Memphis to where they live in more rural areas, said John Graves, a professor at Vanderbilt University studying the pandemic.

“The geographical footprint of the virus has reached all corners of the state at this point,” Graves said.

In Missouri, Gov. Michael L. Parson (R) was dismissive of New York’s imposition of a quarantine on residents from his state as a sign of a worsening pandemic. “I’m not going to put much stock in what New York says — they’re a disaster,” he said at a news conference Monday.

Missouri has no mask mandate, leaving it to local officials to act — often in the face of hostility and threats. In the town of Branson, angry opponents testified Tuesday that there was no reason for a mask order when deaths in the county have been few and far between.

“It hasn’t hit us here yet, that’s what I’m scared of,” Branson Alderman Bill Skains said before voting with a majority in favor of the mandate. “It is coming, and it’s coming like a freight train.”

Democratic mayors in Missouri’s two biggest cities, Kansas City and St. Louis, said that with so many people needing jobs, they are reluctant to follow Birx’s recommendation to close bars.

“The whole-blanket approach to shut everybody down feels a little harsh for the people who are doing it right,” said Jacob Long, spokesman for St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson. “We’re trying to take care of some bad actors first.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey also got a warning from Birx. On Wednesday, he said all bar drinking must move outside.

“We don’t want to be heading in the direction of everybody else,” said Kristen Ehresmann, director of the infectious-disease epidemiology division at the Minnesota Department of Health. She acknowledged that some options “are really pretty draconian.”

The problem is that less-painful measures have proven insufficient.

“The disease transmission we’re seeing is more than what would have been expected if people were following the guidance as it is laid out. It’s a reflection of the fact that they’re not,” she said.

‘A tremendous disappointment’

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) tried to implement broad statewide measures early in the pandemic, only to have his “Safer at Home” order struck down by the state’s Supreme Court.

With cases in his state rising anew, he tried again Thursday, declaring a public health emergency and issuing a statewide mask mandate.

“While our local health departments have been doing a heck of a job responding to this pandemic in our communities, the fact of the matter is, this virus doesn’t care about any town, city or county boundary, and we need a statewide approach to get Wisconsin back on track,” Evers said.

Ryan Westergaard, Wisconsin’s chief medical officer, said he is dismayed by the failures of the national pandemic response.

“I really thought we had a chance to keep this suppressed,” Westergaard said. “The model is a good one: testing, tracing, isolation, supportive quarantine. Those things work. We saw this coming. We knew we had to build robust, flexible systems to do this in all of our communities. It feels like a tremendous disappointment that we weren’t able to build a system in time that could handle this.”

There is one benefit to the way the virus has spread so broadly, he noted: “We no longer have to keep track of people traveling to a hot spot if hot spots are everywhere.”






Saturday, August 1, 2020

Lockdown Showdown

I have suspected we are moving toward a national lock down right after Labor Day as there is no way to contain Covid and open the schools without a large scale program to force down the virus numbers and slow down positive cases and of course increasing death numbers.

I read this in the Washington Post and once that idea is floated with the Chamber of Commerce no less demanding Congressional intervention (a notoriously conservative leaning group) means that the heat is on to resolve the current issues being debated in Congress and that seems centered on the additional UI benefits that the GOP want to reduce to 70% of the unemployed workers last wages.  Again that would be fine if it was possible but in reality our States have very antiquated systems that cannot simply upgrade, alter or even calculate the equation correctly.  If no one recalls the fiasco about even simply getting benefits to people in a timely basis and in fact some are just receiving them so we have 99 problems when it comes to nationalized systems and policies regarding well fuck all anything.

But here we are with the fuckwits in the White House, the economy is in the shithole,  and Covid is not going away as this first wave is now a Tsunami.  




Coronavirus threat rises across U.S.: ‘We just have to assume the monster is everywhere’

The Washington Post
By Joel Achenbach,  Rachel Weiner and Chelsea Janes
August 1, 2020 a

The coronavirus is spreading at dangerous levels across much of the United States, and public health experts are demanding a dramatic reset in the national response, one that recognizes that the crisis is intensifying and that current piecemeal strategies aren’t working.

This is a new phase of the pandemic, one no longer built around local or regional clusters and hot spots. It comes at an unnerving moment in which the economy suffered its worst collapse since the Great Depression, schools are rapidly canceling plans for in-person instruction and Congress has failed to pass a new emergency relief package. President Trump continues to promote fringe science, the daily death toll keeps climbing and the human cost of the virus in America has just passed 150,000 lives.

“Unlike many countries in the world, the United States is not currently on course to get control of this epidemic. It’s time to reset,” declared a report released last week by Johns Hopkins University.

Another report from the Association of American Medical Colleges offered a similarly blunt message: “If the nation does not change its course — and soon — deaths in the United States could be well into the multiple hundreds of thousands.”

The country is exhausted, but the virus is not. It has shown a consistent pattern: It spreads opportunistically wherever people let down their guard and return to more familiar patterns of mobility and socializing. When communities tighten up, by closing bars or requiring masks in public, transmission drops.

That has happened in some Sun Belt states, including Arizona, Florida and Texas, which are still dealing with a surge of hospitalizations and deaths but are finally turning around the rate of new infections.

There are signs, however, that the virus is spreading freely in much of the country. Experts are focused on upticks in the percentage of positive coronavirus tests in the upper South and Midwest. It is a sign that the virus could soon surge anew in the heartland. Infectious-disease experts also see warning signs in East Coast cities hammered in the spring.

“There are fewer and fewer places where anybody can assume the virus is not there,” Gov. Mike DeWine (R) of Ohio said Wednesday. “It’s in our most rural counties. It’s in our smallest communities. And we just have to assume the monster is everywhere. It’s everywhere.”

Dire data

A briefing document released Friday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency counted 453,659 new infections in the past week.

Alaska is in trouble. And Hawaii, Missouri, Montana and Oklahoma. Those are the five states, as of Friday, with the highest percentage increase in the seven-day average of new cases, according to a Washington Post analysis of nationwide health data.

“The dominoes are falling now,” said David Rubin, director of the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which has produced a model showing where the virus is likely to spread over the next four weeks.

His team sees ominous trends in big cities, including Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Louisville, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington, with Boston and New York not far behind. And Rubin warns that the expected influx of students into college towns at the end of this month will be another epidemiological shock.

“I suspect we’re going to see big outbreaks in college towns,” he said.

Young people are less likely to have a severe outcome from the coronavirus, but they are adept at propelling the virus through the broader population, including among people at elevated risk. Daily coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the United States went from 36,158 on July 1 to 52,767 on July 31, according to The Post’s data. FEMA reports a sharp increase in the number of patients on ventilators.

The crisis has highlighted the deep disparities in health outcomes among racial and ethnic groups, and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week showed that Black, Hispanic and Native American coronavirus hospitalization rates are roughly five times that of Whites.

Thirty-seven states and Puerto Rico will probably see rising daily death tolls during the next two weeks compared with the previous two weeks, according to the latest ensemble forecast from the University of Massachusetts Amherst that combines more than 30 coronavirus models.

There are glimmers of progress. The FEMA report showed 237 U.S. counties with at least two weeks of steady declines in numbers of new coronavirus cases.

But there are more than 3,100 counties in America.

“This is not a natural disaster that happens to one or two or three communities and then you rebuild,” said Beth Cameron, vice president for global biological policy and programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative and a former White House National Security Council staffer focused on pandemics. “This is a spreading disaster that moves from one place to another, and until it’s suppressed and until we ultimately have a safe and effective and distributed vaccine, every community is at risk.”

A national strategy, whether advanced by the federal government or by the states working in tandem, will more effectively control viral spread than the current patchwork of state and local policies, according to a study from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published Thursday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The coordination is necessary because one state’s policies affect other states. Sometimes, that influence is at a distance, because states that are geographically far apart can have cultural and social ties, as is the case with the “peer states” of New York and Florida, the report found.

“The cost of our uncoordinated national response to covid-19, it’s dramatic,” said MIT economist Sinan Aral, lead author of the paper.

Some experts argue for a full six-to-eight-week national shutdown, something even more sweeping than what was instituted in the spring. There appears to be no political support for such a move.

Neil Bradley, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said fresh federal intervention is necessary in this second wave of closures. Enhanced federal unemployment benefits expired at the end of July, with no agreement on a new stimulus package in sight.

“Congress, on a bipartisan basis, was trying to create a bridge to help individuals and businesses navigate the period of a shutdown,” Bradley said. “Absent an extension of that bridge, in light of a second shutdown, that bridge becomes a pier. And then that’s a real problem.”

With the economy in shambles, hospitals filling up and the public frustrated, anxious and angry, the challenge for national leadership is finding a plausible sea-to-sea strategy that can win widespread support and simultaneously limit sickness and death from the virus.

Many Americans may simply feel discouraged and overtaxed, unable to maintain precautions such as social distancing and mask-wearing. Others remain resistant, for cultural or ideological reasons, to public health guidance and buy into conspiracy theories and pseudoscience.

DeWine is struggling to get Ohio citizens to take seriously the need to wear masks. A sheriff in rural western Ohio told the governor Wednesday that people didn’t think the virus was a big problem. DeWine informed the sheriff that the numbers in his county were higher per capita than in Toledo.

“The way I’ve explained to people, if we want to have Friday night football in the fall, if we want our kids back in school, what we do in the next two weeks will determine if that happens,” DeWine said.

The crucial metric

The coronavirus has always been several steps ahead of the U.S. government, the scientific community, the news media and the general public. By the time a community notices a surge in patients to hospital emergency rooms, the virus has seeded itself widely.

The virus officially known as SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted by people who are infectious but not symptomatic. The incubation period is typically about six days, according to the CDC. When symptoms flare, they can be ambiguous. A person may not seek a test right away. Then, the test results may not come back for days, a week, even longer.

That delay makes contact tracing nearly futile. It also means government data on virus transmission is invariably out of date to some degree — it’s a snapshot of what was happening a week or two weeks before. And different jurisdictions use different metrics to track the virus, further fogging the picture.

The top doctors on the White House coronavirus task force, Deborah Birx and Anthony S. Fauci, are newly focused on the early warning signs of a virus outbreak. Last week, they warned that the kind of runaway outbreaks seen in the Sun Belt could potentially happen elsewhere. Among the states of greatest concern: Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

Fauci and Birx have pointed to a critical metric: the percentage of positive test results. When that figure starts to tick upward, it is a sign of increasing community spread of the virus.

“That is kind of the predictor that if you don’t do something — namely, do something different — if you’re opening up at a certain pace, slow down, maybe even backtrack a little,” Fauci said in an interview Wednesday.

Without a vaccine, the primary tools for combating the spread of the virus remain the common-sense “non-pharmaceutical interventions,” including mask-wearing, hand-washing, staying out of bars and other confined spaces, maintaining social distancing of at least six feet and avoiding crowds, Fauci said.

“Seemingly simple maneuvers have been very effective in preventing or even turning around the kind of surges we’ve seen,” he said.

Thirty-three U.S. states have positivity rates above 5 percent. The World Health Organization has cited that percentage as a crucial benchmark for governments deciding whether to reopen their economy. Above 5 percent, stay closed. Below, open with caution.

Of states with positivity rates below 5 percent, nine have seen those rates rise during the last two weeks.

“You may not fully realize that when you think things are okay, you actually are seeing a subtle, insidious increase that is usually reflected in the percent of your tests that are positive,” Fauci said.

The shutdown blues

Some governors immediately took the White House warnings to heart. On Monday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said at a news conference that he had met with Birx the previous day and was told he was getting the same warning Texas and Florida received “weeks before the worst of the worst happened.”

To prevent that outcome in his state, Beshear said, he was closing bars for two weeks and cutting seating in restaurants.

But as Beshear pleaded that “we all need to be singing from the same sheet of music,” discord and confusion prevailed.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said Thursday she wasn’t convinced a mask mandate is effective: “No one knows particularly the best strategy.”

Earlier in the week, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) demurred on masks and bar closures even as he stood next to Birx and spoke to reporters.

“That’s not a plan for us now,” he said. He added emphatically, “We are not going to close the economy back down.”

The virus is spreading throughout his state, and not just in the big cities. Vacationers took the virus home from the honky-tonks of Nashville and blues clubs of Memphis to where they live in more rural areas, said John Graves, a professor at Vanderbilt University studying the pandemic.

“The geographical footprint of the virus has reached all corners of the state at this point,” Graves said.

In Missouri, Gov. Michael L. Parson (R) was dismissive of New York’s imposition of a quarantine on residents from his state as a sign of a worsening pandemic. “I’m not going to put much stock in what New York says — they’re a disaster,” he said at a news conference Monday.

Missouri has no mask mandate, leaving it to local officials to act — often in the face of hostility and threats. In the town of Branson, angry opponents testified Tuesday that there was no reason for a mask order when deaths in the county have been few and far between.

“It hasn’t hit us here yet, that’s what I’m scared of,” Branson Alderman Bill Skains said before voting with a majority in favor of the mandate. “It is coming, and it’s coming like a freight train.”

Democratic mayors in Missouri’s two biggest cities, Kansas City and St. Louis, said that with so many people needing jobs, they are reluctant to follow Birx’s recommendation to close bars.

“The whole-blanket approach to shut everybody down feels a little harsh for the people who are doing it right,” said Jacob Long, spokesman for St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson. “We’re trying to take care of some bad actors first.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey also got a warning from Birx. On Wednesday, he said all bar drinking must move outside.

“We don’t want to be heading in the direction of everybody else,” said Kristen Ehresmann, director of the infectious-disease epidemiology division at the Minnesota Department of Health. She acknowledged that some options “are really pretty draconian.”

The problem is that less-painful measures have proven insufficient.

“The disease transmission we’re seeing is more than what would have been expected if people were following the guidance as it is laid out. It’s a reflection of the fact that they’re not,” she said.

‘A tremendous disappointment’

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) tried to implement broad statewide measures early in the pandemic, only to have his “Safer at Home” order struck down by the state’s Supreme Court.

With cases in his state rising anew, he tried again Thursday, declaring a public health emergency and issuing a statewide mask mandate.

“While our local health departments have been doing a heck of a job responding to this pandemic in our communities, the fact of the matter is, this virus doesn’t care about any town, city or county boundary, and we need a statewide approach to get Wisconsin back on track,” Evers said.

Ryan Westergaard, Wisconsin’s chief medical officer, said he is dismayed by the failures of the national pandemic response.

“I really thought we had a chance to keep this suppressed,” Westergaard said. “The model is a good one: testing, tracing, isolation, supportive quarantine. Those things work. We saw this coming. We knew we had to build robust, flexible systems to do this in all of our communities. It feels like a tremendous disappointment that we weren’t able to build a system in time that could handle this.”


There is one benefit to the way the virus has spread so broadly, he noted: “We no longer have to keep track of people traveling to a hot spot if hot spots are everywhere.”

Friday, July 31, 2020

Teacher/Student/Parent

I have a sign on myy desk:  IF YOU KNOW TEACH! IF YOU DON'T KNOW LEARN!

I wanted to get back into the classroom in March and the pandemic ended that.  I loathed the public schools of Nashville and the sheer level of daily trauma that existed there infected me with so much self loathing,  I truly thought something was wrong with me.  As a result, I have become well practiced with social isolation and can add physical distancing to my resume. I like kids, those kids engaged, willing and open. They are few and far in between in public schools, as public schools have become dumpsters and the kids and staff are tossed in like garbage and we dumpster dive to find our resources in which to somehow emerge as better than when we came in. We are all recycled in some way.

As we have seen in the last few months the hysterical counterpart to the the Black Lives Matter movement, the white pouter crowd. They wave guns, they eschew masks, they rant and rave about Socialism and monuments to dead Confederates as if they are the most inspirational folks ever to live.  I have news for you, they were on the losing side so really?  Next time the Super Bowl happens let's give trophies to everyone!

Today it was discovered at a sleep over camp in Georgia (as well always, the South is rising alright)that in fact a large percentage of the children and staff contracted Covid.

The report, released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, details an outbreak at a sleep-away camp in Georgia last month in which 260 children and staff — more than three-quarters of those tested — contracted the virus less than a week after spending time together in close quarters. The children had a median age of 12. The camp had required all 597 campers and staff to provide documentation they had tested negative for the virus before coming. Staff were required to wear masks, but children were not

“Asymptomatic infection was common and potentially contributed to undetected transmission, as has been previously reported. This investigation adds to the body of evidence demonstrating that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

The CDC released a separate statement with a headline about “the importance of CDC mitigation strategies,” rather than about the incident’s implications for viral transmission in children. The statement noted that by not requiring campers to wear masks, or airing out cabins, the camp had not followed CDC reopening guidance, and also pointed to “daily vigorous singing and shouting” as potential contributing factors.

“Correct and consistent use of cloth masks, rigorous cleaning and sanitizing, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing strategies, which are recommended in CDC’s recently released guidance to reopen America’s schools, are critical to prevent transmission of the virus in settings involving children and are our greatest tools to prevent covid-19,” the statement read.
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Noymer acknowledged that summer camp likely requires children spend more time in proximity to one another than schools would, and also acknowledged that the children were not wearing masks -- something some schools say they will require children to do. But many skeptics of re-opening have pointed out that children likely will not be diligent mask-wearers or social distancers, so reopening plans that include those measures in theory may not include them in actuality.

“I don’t know if this is a game-changer in part because people seem to be doing what they want to do regardless. People who want to close schools will cite it, while people who want to keep schools open will claim overnight camps have far more contact,” Noymer said.

Authors of the report noted the study was limited by its data set, which didn’t include all the campers and therefore could be missing more related cases. In addition, since Georgia experienced a jump in covid-19 transmission over the summer, some campers may have caught the virus before arriving. The CDC report acknowledged it could not determine which campers did and did not adhere to recommendations for physical distancing, which also limits the kind of conclusions that can be drawn from the data.



Regardless this is where we are with Covid and kids. Not having symptoms, never exhibiting symptoms and then those who quickly show symptoms are all just pennies in a jar. They all touch each other and those who do not have the virus are either fucking lucky or have some strong immune systems. We know shit all about this disease.

I read the two most idiotic opinion essays, one in The Washington Post from some Harvard Scholars telling us the great unwashed about how to open the schools. Not Harvard of course no, but public K-12 schools which undoubtedly neither Gentleman has ever set foot in their lives. The other in The New York Times also largely reiterating the same bullshit script. I am unclear who these fuckwits are to think this is a good idea. So far the only parents loving this are the ones sending kids to a sleepaway camp in the middle of a pandemic and the same people getting hysterical over masks and their rights. These are the people who think we are free day care providers for their children and have no interest in anything scholastic, other than the magagzine of the same name at the Dentist's office. They are the reason we have discipline problems and other funding matters as they are also racist and fear busing. Again these are the average Americans who elected Trump or don't even care to vote. They are as stupid as they are as lazy.

Here is what American Teachers are doing across country, retiring and writing wills. Well that is a lesson plan right there!

School districts around the US are set to begin reopening in August, many with in-person classes, five days a week, despite coronavirus cases rising in many parts of the country.

But the school reopenings have teachers around the US fearful for the safety of themselves, students, staff and family members, with teachers and unions saying that proper protections and protocols have yet to be implemented.

Some teachers have even drawn up wills ahead of classes beginning, others have retired from the profession and teachers unions have said they will sanction strike action for members who deem that they are being forced to take potentially deadly risks.
School reopenings: what can the US learn from other countries' experiences?
Read more

“Educators are afraid because proper policies are not being put in place to protect them,” said Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association. The Oklahoma state board of education has only issued guidelines for school districts, and voted down a proposal on 23 July to issue a mask mandate in schools across the state.
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“The OEA offers members through our personal legal services program a free will. The requests for those free wills are up over 3,000% in the last few weeks,” Priest added.

A report published by the Kaiser Family Foundation on 10 July found 1.47 million teachers in the US – some 24% of the profession – are at greater risk of serious illness if infected with coronavirus because they have conditions that make them vulnerable.

Yet Florida has issued an order mandating all schools must open in August in-person, five days a week. The Florida teachers union responded to the order with a lawsuit.

“We are letting the community down by pretending we can open safely. The districts cannot do what is necessary according to CDC guidelines,” said Stacy Rene Kennett, a kindergarten teacher in Immokalee, Florida, who is expected to begin attending in-person training for school reopenings on 4 August.

Amy Scott, an IB language arts high school teacher in Miami, Florida for 44 years, decided to retire one year early due to the coronavirus pandemic and the instability of the upcoming school year.

“I dreaded it. I wanted to extend it as long as possible because I love kids and teaching,” said Scott. “But then came coronavirus and I realized all the difficulties of holding brick-and-mortar classrooms and the danger involved to teachers, students and the community spread and I didn’t want to end my 45 years of teaching in such a frustrating environment.”

In Arizona, which was designated a global pandemic hotspot in early July, reopening decisions have been left to individual school districts.

“There is no consistency across the state,” said Marisol Garcia, a middle school teacher and parent in Phoenix who currently serves as vice-president of the Arizona Educators Association. “We are left to our own devices to figure out how to keep our families safe and ensure our students are safe”

Garcia explained current class loads in Arizona make social distancing impossible in districts where in-person learning is permitted, as she had no less than 31 students in each class last school year, and it remains unclear if any schools will face repercussions for not following guidelines for coronavirus protections. She also warns many of her colleagues may retire early.

In Georgia, state agencies have issued guidelines for school reopenings, deferring decisions to school districts on when and how schools reopen in the coming weeks.

Several school districts outside of metro areas in Georgia are reopening in August with in-person classes, five days a week, leaving teachers there concerned over safety protections as coronavirus case rates have been rising around the state over the past several weeks.

“We’re very concerned that when we’re once again in school buildings, children, educators, and their family members will become sick and perhaps die,” said Lisa Morgan, president of the Georgia Educators Association.

According to Morgan, several school districts in Georgia that are reopening in person, five days a week, are not following CDC guidelines, with no mask mandates, large classroom sizes making social distancing impossible, and responsibility for extra cleaning measures placed on teachers to carry out.

Even as schools are expected to reopen in the coming weeks around the US, school districts and teachers are scrambling to create plans for restarting schools, whether classes are conducted in person, virtually, or a hybrid of in-person and remote learning.

“The country is asking teachers and children to lead the way, yet no one seems to know what direction we’re headed,” said Angela McKeen, a high school science teacher in Clarksburg, West Virginia. “My concerns at this point are for my students. Can we prevent huge outbreaks? Can students effectively learn in such fluid situations? Can teachers effectively reach their students at not just their places academically, but also emotionally during this time?”

Teacher unions have raised the possibility of walking off the job unless comprehensive safety plans are implemented for schools to reopen.

The head of the Colorado Education Association recently said teachers may refuse to report to work as schools are set to reopen in the state in August if teachers’ criteria for school reopenings aren’t met.

The union cited a survey of nearly 10,000 members, where about eight out of 10 teachers asserted they would be willing to refuse to work if teachers aren’t provided a voice in how safety protocols are implemented, such as mask mandates and social distancing procedures.

“We don’t want schools to be epicenters of outbreak in our community. It would crush any student or staff member if they brought coronavirus into school,” said Ernest Garibay, a high school math teacher in Jefferson county, Colorado, and local union representative.

I like kids, their parents on the other hand.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Two George Wallace's

Listening to Obama eulogize John Lewis once again reminds me that dignity is a word we don't use enough.  I had said to someone right before ending communication with them that I needed respect. No, I need dignity.  Respect is for a position, for a place of holding, which you earn but you have dignity regardless.   And yet they are the same in some ways.  I respect the Office of the Presidency, but not the office holder.  I believe that First Lady regardless is a position of dignity while we often don't necessarily respect the person.  The subtle differences is that a title often gives you the illusion of respect and in turn you carry yourself with that in mind during your interactions with those around you.   A Doctor and Lawyer are thought of with respect and yet I can think of none who have earned it nor carry themselves in any manner deserved of it.  Our current First Lady is another example of one who holds the card but has nothing of substance behind it to merit it.  And well let's not bother with Trump.


Respect:  a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
"the director had a lot of respect for Douglas as an actor"
h
Similar:
esteem
regard
high regard
high opinion
acclaim
admiration
approbation
approval
appreciation
estimation
favor
popularity
recognition
veneration
awe
reverence
deference
honor
praise
homage

Dignity:

the state of being admired or respected.
"his first chance in over fifteen years to regain respect in the business"
a person's polite greetings.
"give my respects to your parents"

2.
due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.
"young people's lack of respect for their parents"

Similar:
due regard
consideration
thoughtfulness
attentiveness
politeness
courtesy
civility
deference

Opposite:
disrespect
3.
a particular aspect, point, or detail.
"the government's record in this respect is a mixed one"

the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect.
"a man of dignity and unbending principle"

a composed or serious manner or style.
"he bowed with great dignity"

Similar:
stateliness
nobleness
nobility
majesty
regalness
regality
royalness
courtliness
augustness
loftiness
exaltedness
lordliness
impressiveness
grandeur
magnificence
ceremoniousness
formality
decorum
propriety
correctness
righteousness
respectability
worthiness
honorability
integrity
solemnity
gravity
gravitas
reserve
sobriety
sedateness
composure

Opposite:
informality
a sense of pride in oneself; self-respect.
"it was beneath his dignity to shout"

As you see one is a manner an internalized version of self-respect that leads others in which to follow and respect is earned but also again given by position or place in society. And in that case we have some exceptions.

Never in my lifetime would I think that not one but three different serving members of Congress would pass and the President not attend one single service or memorial.  Wow.just.wow. To quote him: "I guess they just don't like me."  No, no they don't.

Mr. Lewis is being buried today in Alabama and again having known two people from Alabama, both of them prodigious liars, sexually confused, one a raging fucking idiot and the other a religious crackpot I feel that is enough with Alabama for me in my lifetime.  Seriously what the fuck is wrong with these people?

But again it centers on one thing - Religion. Yes the man is a screaming racist but he has been a Pastor in a Church and preaches forgiveness and understanding, yes the fundamentals of Christianity. The caveat there is that means WHITE.  Religion is sacrosanct in the South and they see fundamental acceptance of racial superiority via said text in the Bible.  And hence another good reason to be an Atheist. 



Alabama politician resigns as a Southern Baptist pastor after KKK leader’s birthday celebration

The Washington Post
By Sarah Pulliam Bailey
July 30, 2020

Alabama state Rep. Will Dismukes (R) said this week that he has no plans to resign from his state legislator position amid national calls for him to step down after he attended a private celebration of the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. On Wednesday night, however, he resigned from his job as a Southern Baptist pastor of a rural church.

The national uproar began after Dismukes posted on Facebook that he took part in a celebration of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest the same weekend as ceremonies honoring the life of civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) in Alabama. Lewis, who died this month at age 80, had led protesters in a march decades ago across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on “Bloody Sunday” in Selma.

Dismukes, who represents Prattville, gave the invocation July 25 at an annual birthday party for Forrest at a place called Fort Dixie in Selma. Dismukes’s Facebook post was later removed.

The controversy puts the spotlight on how leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention handle issues of racial discrimination when its churches are autonomous. Dismukes’s resignation from Pleasant Hill Baptist Church took place after local Southern Baptist leaders met with him Tuesday.

“We are saddened and grieved to learn of the recent Facebook post by State Representative Will Dismukes who also serves as a bivocational pastor,” five local leaders wrote in a statement. “In the wake of tremendous controversy, we reaffirm our opposition to any kind of racism.”

Seven church deacons met with Dismukes on Wednesday night, and they voted to accept his resignation, according to Mel Johnson of the Autauga Baptist Association. Johnson said many did not know about the controversy until he met with them and explained to them what had happened. He later clarified that the church has a diverse range of ages but that some members aren’t on Facebook. Johnson said he was concerned about the timing of the celebration and that church leaders were worried about the backlash that it had caused.

“It was a tough decision in accepting his resignation,” Johnson said. “They understand the confusion and the struggle and what took place and how folks can have mixed feelings on both sides of the table.”

Dismukes did not respond to several interview requests from The Washington Post.

Johnson said that Dismukes described his involvement in the celebration as a “lapse in judgment.”

“Perception is reality in the minds of many people,” he said. “We work to shun the very appearance of evil. I’m not saying he had evil intent.”

Johnson said that he would not personally attend an event like the one where Dismukes gave the invocation and that he has been involved in conversations with Black leaders in recent months to ease racial tensions.

“I would not want to be perceived as racist at all,” he said. “What another person does in my denomination, I can’t control that, I can’t judge a person’s motives.”

Southern Baptists value the autonomy of local churches to hire or fire their own pastors, but nationally, leaders are working to amend the convention’s Constitution to create a formal process to disaffiliate churches that do not handle claims of racial discrimination or sexual abuse well. However, what will qualify as racial discrimination is still to be determined. In 2018, Southern Baptists expelled a church in Georgia over charges of racial discrimination, the first and only time in recent memory.

Johnson said that some people want to celebrate their Confederate past while others don’t want to dwell on Confederate history. And as someone who was born in Iowa, Johnson said, he doesn’t want to wade in on whether Confederate celebrations are appropriate.

“Some people think that what Will did was racist. Others think it was an innocent mistake. That’s not for me to judge,” he said. “Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on, I’m going to point everyone to Jesus.”

Johnson said that many Southern Baptists see themselves as history buffs, but he was troubled when he saw someone online describe Dismukes as a Confederate because he was a Southern Baptist pastor.

“That’s not who we are,” he said.

When Dismukes took over the church last year at age 28, the Montgomery Advertiser reported that it had about 100 members. Johnson said that most Southern Baptist churches in the state are meeting with about 30 percent of their usual members because of the novel coronavirus.

Leaders from Dismukes’s own Republican Party, including state Sen. Clyde Chambliss Jr., called for his resignation, noting the timing of the celebration taking place as ceremonies honoring Lewis were happening.

In an interview with a local television station, Dismukes said he was not thinking of the timing of Lewis’s death or the connection between Forrest and the KKK.

“I guess, with the anti-Southern sentiment and all, and the things that we have going on in the world today, there’s a lot of people that are seeming to be more and more offended,” he told the news station. “We live in a time where we literally are going through cancel culture from all different areas and people are even more sensitive on different issues and different subjects. This was just one of those times that it didn’t quite go the way I expected, and I never intended to bring hurt to anyone, especially my own family with everything that’s been said.”

The birthday party for Forrest is an annual event. An invitation for the 2016 event said: “But, hopefully, we garner another soldier who has come to know the TRUTH about our history and our heritage and has joined the fight to save our noble Christian culture..”

“I know that in view of the past year since June 17, 2015 after the ‘Charleston 9’ shooting, our fight for our Southern history and heritage and our very IDENTITY has certainly escalated to an intensity that appears to have had an injection of steroids,” the invitation stated, according to the Southern Heritage News & Views newsletter. “… Our culture is a Christian culture and Christianity is the bullseye of their target! Western Civilization must be eradicated in order for the one world government to exist! But in the face of adversity, we MUST PERSEVERE!!!”

When asked to comment on Dismukes’s actions, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said in a statement that the church must stand “with a gospel that is the opposite of racist hatred or any approval or minimization of the sinfulness of such hatred.”

“Racism is a grave sin against God and against neighbor. Neo-confederate and other white supremacist groups are not only morally wrong, but are also in contradiction to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. “The enslavement and torture of human beings made in the image of God, and the domestic terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan, are as far removed from the explicit witness of Scripture as imaginable and should be utterly repudiated at every level.”

In June, Dismukes was also called upon to resign from his state legislator position over his support for the Confederacy, Confederate monuments and his membership in a Prattville Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter.

The Final Journey

 I have nothing to add here as these words speak for many.  Do they speak to you? For yyou? About you?  Ask yyyourself how you can honor and respect the memory of a man with so much dignity that he understood pride goeth before a fall and he did not fall he rose despite all those who did around him. He was not afraid, he was courageous, he was brave and he was resilient. Those are qualities of a true hero and patriot.


Together, You

Can Redeem the Soul

of Our Nation

Though I am gone, I urge you to

answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.

By John Lewis

Mr. Lewis, the civil rights leader who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death, to be published upon the day of his funeral.

• July 30, 2020
The New York Times

While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.
________________________________________


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Gaslight/Gaslamps/Gasbags

This was a movie with Ingrid Bergman called Gaslight that led to the coining of the phrase, Gaslighting.  What that means is when a person lies for their own gain to another person so repeatedly and with so much confidence that the victim begins to doubt her own sanity. And, as the film puts it, a bit of Stockholm Syndrome develops as well: The victim, now uncertain that she can perceive reality correctly, becomes dependent on the gaslighter, more attached to him than ever.

We have evolved this to include moments when trying to recount an incident or recollection about someone's behavior or an encounter that person contradicts you to "remind"you that you are wrong and that actually they know the truth and that implicates one of two things: You are a liar or nuts. The number one industry that has this down to perfection in the Legal one and the criminal justice system has managed to make it a work of art. The strongest players are almost always men, who use their gender to implicate your own idiocy in every encounter. Which is why where you deal with men as a woman it happens more often than naught. Think of Auto Sales and Repair and my personal favorite Contractors and of course Movers. There are few examples where I can say I dealt with men in any of those fields and felt not ripped off nor gaslighted in some manner. The worst I can recall of late was College Hunks Moving in Nashville. Now Nashville has the art of Gaslighting down to an art in a way that made me daily question my sanity and my safety. It is the Southern way perfected over a century of abuse and violations of humans that began when our Country won the Revolutionary War and the South was the prime economic center of the newly emerging country. They in turn did so by enslaving human beings and treating them as animals, abusing them and violating their bodies through sexual and physical abuse. But they perfected the mind fuck like no other. And that is something you see in the South today. I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on my time there and there is not one person there that I knew that was not fucked up beyond belief. Some were open minded and hearted but even today the minimal contact I do have it again shows that few of them have any clarity or identity beyond being "Southern." It explains the violence, the racism, the rage and the lack of education as they see nothing beyond that identity. It is the most tragic of places I have ever been and one of the most complicated places I have ever lived. Trying to explain it requires a dance that is not one you would see on Dancing with the Stars as the moves so intricate, so delicate and yet done so slowly and deliberately you realize that it is not something one masters unless one has practiced for a lifetime.

I wrote in my last post about Sociopaths and Psychopaths and that is well the Southern Man, they are charming, bellicose, deliberate, abusive and obsessive. They use the Bible as both a tool and weapon to encourage compliance and when that fails, fists, belts and guns are there for the reminder that if one does not go along to get along they too are available. That is the mind fuck, the idea, the very notion that you could be killed or seriously harmed is enough reason to not misbehave. How do you think Plantation Owners instilled cooperation and compliance with little more than one overseer with hundreds of young physically strong Black men and women? It only takes one beating and the rest is all psychological torture. And we still do that today as we have in relation to the war against terror. We have done it to those we allege are terrorists and we have done it here with laws that enable the Government to arrest and hold anyone without charges when it comes to terror, to snatch people off the street while protesting and surveiling our phones and emails and other private communications with impunity. And we have let them all under the guise of "being safe." And that too is Gaslighting, when we agree to shit that we know is not right, not sane, nor actually good for anyone but we do under the belief that we have done nothing, so what do we have to be afraid of. It doesn't me us right, the good people? Well think again.

What this has also done has made us the most narcissistic nation there is. I am a level four as I like to say about my placement on the narcissist scale but I am also really obsessive about my privacy which sort of adds to the problem instead of protecting me it also spotlights me. Southerners have no boundaries and the first person I met here was originally from the South and since the pandemic has long gone and I am relieved. He was a fake as the Picasso on my wall but it was early days here and I was trying to be open after being so closed off in Nashville. Then came the warning bell in something he said to me and right away I knew that it was time to run and Covid showed up. And with that it ended that. And from Covid I was given a reset button to just be how I like being - alone. But boredom sets in and that any port in a storm and this is a hell of a storm, so I am back with the crew of a coffee shop but this is not Nashville and for that I am grateful. Shutting that door was essential in my well being. And for some this quarantine is like the show Big Brother, you scheme, you plot but you do what you have to do to stay in the game. So once I realized that having people shop for me and relying on delivery was not going to work I took to gloves, masking and being cautious. I took public transport but was (and still am) very careful as one can be, I observe everyone around me and move when I feel at risk. So far so good. But I have always lived a rule of personal responsiblity and self respect is one thing that we all can use and need. Perhaps that is why there is such a problem now with regards to Covid and compliance to follow a protocol that requires masking, distancing and of course still some social and physical isolation. Going back to work is great but you have to change your behavior and expect those around you to do the same. And if they don't, you leave. You take the initiative to control that dynamic and when you do that makes gaslighting near impossible. But also it prevents the "talking" the recounting the whole circle jerking that contributes to this phenomena. The endless filming of Karen's and maskless morons, the shaming, the cancel culture by digging up past idiocy once again makes people defensive, angry and afraid. What is the purpose and what is the end result and what do you want to accomplish. Making someone feel bad, stupid or crazy. Okay thanks and you are a Gaslighter. But you are also a Narcissist as you can only see how you know what is best, what is right and what needs to be done and how it is to be done, no one knows better than you as you are a very special genius. Hmm, who does that sound like?

I read this by Paul Krugman and again it is about hypocrisy and the ability to say one thing do another and then turn around and shame and bully you for not doing what they said to do or not do. Do as I say, not as I do? Gaslight much? Or is that an Oxymoron, emphasis on moron. Note that much of the issues surround Covid are Southern and this is not shocking but the numbers in California and Washington are not going down and that is two reasons: California is a very big state and Washington is largely conservative in nature. It is like Tennessee only tucked up in the corner of the United States it was a gateway to industry and travel and Seattle has very very rich people. But again Washington is a income tax free state, relies on regressive taxes, is incredibly racist and marginalizes its underclass, they just happen to truly be the natives of the land. It is again not surprising that Portland and Seattle are the liberal bastions and are going nuts as well homelessness, poverty and drugs are there they just happen to belong to white folks who have never faced risk doing what they do. Welcome to the world white people, how is that working for you now? When they were shoving Latin folks in vans a few months ago that was terrible but not the histrionics we are seeing now. It was kids in cages who got that attention, but shoving folks in vans, not so much. I do find it interesting that few black faces are being absconded, and why? They know better. And for the record it is the same crew ICE who are under the Dept. of Homeland Security. Funny what are they securing us from? Oh Domestic Terrorists? Remember that? We all circle jerk our way back to that one.. see how that works? We enabled it, we empowered it and now we live with it.




The Cult of Selfishness Is Killing America

The right has made irresponsible behavior a key principle.


By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
Opinion Columnist

July 27, 2020

America’s response to the coronavirus has been a lose-lose proposition.

The Trump administration and governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis insisted that there was no trade-off between economic growth and controlling the disease, and they were right — but not in the way they expected.

Premature reopening led to a surge in infections: Adjusted for population, Americans are currently dying from Covid-19 at around 15 times the rate in the European Union or Canada. Yet the “rocket ship” recovery Donald Trump promised has crashed and burned: Job growth appears to have stalled or reversed, especially in states that were most aggressive about lifting social distancing mandates, and early indications are that the U.S. economy is lagging behind the economies of major European nations.

So we’re failing dismally on both the epidemiological and the economic fronts. But why?

On the face of it, the answer is that Trump and allies were so eager to see big jobs numbers that they ignored both infection risks and the way a resurgent pandemic would undermine the economy. As I and others have said, they failed the marshmallow test, sacrificing the future because they weren’t willing to show a little patience.

And there’s surely a lot to that explanation. But it isn’t the whole story.

For one thing, people truly focused on restarting the economy should have been big supporters of measures to limit infections without hurting business — above all, getting Americans to wear face masks. Instead, Trump ridiculed those in masks as “politically correct,” while Republican governors not only refused to mandate mask-wearing, but they prevented mayors from imposing local mask rules.

Also, politicians eager to see the economy bounce back should have wanted to sustain consumer purchasing power until wages recovered. Instead, Senate Republicans ignored the looming July 31 expiration of special unemployment benefits, which means that tens of millions of workers are about to see a huge hit to their incomes, damaging the economy as a whole.

So what was going on? Were our leaders just stupid? Well, maybe. But there’s a deeper explanation of the profoundly self-destructive behavior of Trump and his allies: They were all members of America’s cult of selfishness.

You see, the modern U.S. right is committed to the proposition that greed is good, that we’re all better off when individuals engage in the untrammeled pursuit of self-interest. In their vision, unrestricted profit maximization by businesses and unregulated consumer choice is the recipe for a good society.

Support for this proposition is, if anything, more emotional than intellectual. I’ve long been struck by the intensity of right-wing anger against relatively trivial regulations, like bans on phosphates in detergent and efficiency standards for light bulbs. It’s the principle of the thing: Many on the right are enraged at any suggestion that their actions should take other people’s welfare into account.


This rage is sometimes portrayed as love of freedom. But people who insist on the right to pollute are notably unbothered by, say, federal agents tear-gassing peaceful protesters. What they call “freedom” is actually absence of responsibility.

Rational policy in a pandemic, however, is all about taking responsibility. The main reason you shouldn’t go to a bar and should wear a mask isn’t self-protection, although that’s part of it; the point is that congregating in noisy, crowded spaces or exhaling droplets into shared air puts others at risk. And that’s the kind of thing America’s right just hates, hates to hear.

Indeed, it sometimes seems as if right-wingers actually make a point of behaving irresponsibly. Remember how Senator Rand Paul, who was worried that he might have Covid-19 (he did), wandered around the Senate and even used the gym while waiting for his test results?

Anger at any suggestion of social responsibility also helps explain the looming fiscal catastrophe. It’s striking how emotional many Republicans get in their opposition to the temporary rise in unemployment benefits; for example, Senator Lindsey Graham declared that these benefits would be extended “over our dead bodies.” Why such hatred?

It’s not because the benefits are making workers unwilling to take jobs. There’s no evidence that this is happening — it’s just something Republicans want to believe. And in any case, economic arguments can’t explain the rage.

Again, it’s the principle. Aiding the unemployed, even if their joblessness isn’t their own fault, is a tacit admission that lucky Americans should help their less-fortunate fellow citizens. And that’s an admission the right doesn’t want to make.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that Republicans are selfish. We’d be doing much better if that were all there were to it. The point, instead, is that they’ve sacralized selfishness, hurting their own political prospects by insisting on the right to act selfishly even when it hurts others.

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What the coronavirus has revealed is the power of America’s cult of selfishness. And this cult is killing us.