Foggy Friday Reads

Danse Macabre 1918 by Rob W Harrison, 2017

Good Day Sky Dancers!

It’s the second time this week I’ve awakened in the middle of the night to the sound of fog horns on the Mississippi River. The sun has yet to burn off the thick clouds. The big ships blare their horns as they make their way from the wharfs of New Orleans down to the mouth of the river and out into the Gulf. It’s a somewhat haunting and ominous sound as they continually fade only to be followed by another one up river starting the loud blare all over again.

This is totally great for the upcoming Halloween festivities which are supposedly still on despite the country’s uptick in COVID-19 Pandemic cases and deaths. But wow, it sounds like something ominously tolling for the Covid Dead and foreshadowing the upcoming election. Further up the Mississippi, the state of Missouri has hospitals that are turning away ambulances at their emergency rooms. Up the mighty Missouri river–which I spent most of my life living near until now– Kansas City, MO has overwhelmed their care facilities.

This is reported by The Hill.

Some medical facilities in Kansas City, Mo., have turned away ambulances due to an influx of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Metro hospitals and emergency departments reported Wednesday night high enough volumes of patients that facilities temporarily stopped accepting ambulances, a leading physician at St. Luke’s Health System told The Kansas City Star.

Marc Larsen, operations director of St. Luke’s COVID-19 Response Team, said the influx in cases affected eight facilities Wednesday evening. The official did not specify the names of the other facilities.

“We’re bursting at the seams in the metropolitan area, and really across the state and the region,” said Larsen, who is also an emergency physician.

Two of the facilities belong to the St. Luke’s system, a hospital spokesperson said.

St. Luke’s Health System admitted more than 100 COVID-19 patients Tuesday, setting record numbers since the start of the pandemic. On Thursday, the system still averaged 90 virus patients across St. Luke’s facilities.

Danse Macabre 1918 (redo), RW Harrison, drawing, 2017

Anecdotally, my friend Michelle went to have lunch with a nurse friend of hers and, while she was waiting at the Touro hospital here in New Orleans, a nurse at the ER said they are seeing more patients now than they were even in the beginning. So, much for rushing to get those bars back open!

Looking strictly at the data, there’s this from NBC: “Coronavirus case increase sets new U.S. record, rising to over 77K in one day

But, according to Trumperz, we’ve rounded the corner. I’m not sure which corner he means but these drawings kind’ve express my thoughts on that.

So, I didn’t live blog the debate last night since I went across the street to my neighbor’s house with a shepherd’s pie and a bottle of chardonnay to watch with her. We two ladies who are mostly cooped up in our houses have been neighbors for almost 20 years although her job used to take her all over the world and she’d lease it out in the interim to others.

We both wondered if Trump had been sedated since he seemed unusually calmer than his full blown Roid Rage performance last time. Maybe, a few calmer folks than Rudy or Chris Christie prevailed in Debate prep. Republicans are saying that his presentation was so almost normal that he won the debate. I guess we really are in the post-truth and venomous age of enraged white men because a calm presentation of lies and personal slurs is not my idea of an actual debate.

We’re going to repeat this on election day with the hope of ringing out the old and craven administration.

Unknown Title, Joan Miro, 1918

Mike Allen from Axios had this to say this morning: “Trump-Biden venom on display during final debate”. So how is this for equivocation and bothersiderisms that we’ve come to hate so much?

Joe Biden twice referred to President Trump as “this guy,” and Trump called the former vice president’s family “like a vacuum cleaner” for foreign money.

Why it matters: The personal venom — during Thursday’s final presidential debate, in Nashville — was a reminder that even during a more normal debate, nothing this year is normal.

  • A prime example: “Oh, God,” Biden said during an exchange on race.

Foreshadowing the crises he’d face if elected, Biden said America is “about to go into a dark winter” because of the coronavirus:

  • “220,000 Americans dead. If you hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this: … Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America.”
  • Trump responded that he expects a vaccine “within a matter of weeks”: “I don’t think we’re going to have a dark winter, at all. … We have to open our country.”

An exchange that captures the two in a nutshell:

  • Biden: “It’s not about his family and my family. It’s about your family. And your family’s hurting badly. … [Middle-class families are] sitting at the kitchen table this morning deciding: ‘Well, we can’t get new tires — they’re bald — because we have to wait another month or so.'”
  • Trump: “That’s a typical political statement. Let’s get off this China thing, and then he looks [in mocking tone]: ‘The family around the table,’ everything. Just a typical politician when I see that. I’m not a typical politician. That’s why I got elected.”

Japan’s 1918 Pandemic Prevention Posters

Trumperz is obviously projecting about the China thing which is always his political strategy it seems. You accuse the other guy of doing what you’re doing. Grade school playgrounds have better shout outs than this.

Most polls today show that Biden won the debate. This is from CNN’s polling director Jennifer Agiesta: “CNN Poll: Biden wins final presidential debate”.

Joe Biden did a better job in the final debate on Thursday, according to a CNN Instant Poll of debate watchers. Overall, 53% of voters who watched the debate said that Biden won the matchup, while 39% said that President Donald Trump did.

Viewers once again said that Biden’s criticisms of Trump were largely fair (73% said they were fair, 26% unfair), and they split over whether Trump’s attacks on Biden were fair (50% said yes, 49% no).
That’s a more positive outcome for Trump. In a CNN Instant Poll after the first presidential debate, just 28% said they thought the President had won the debate, and 67% called his criticism of Biden unfair.
All told, though, the debate did not do much to move impressions of either candidate. Favorable views of Biden before the debate stood at 55%, and they held steady at 56% in post-debate interviews. Likewise, Trump’s numbers held steady, with 42% saying they had a favorable view of the President in interviews conducted before Thursday’s debate and 41% saying the same afterward.

More debate watchers, though, said Trump’s performance raised concerns about how he would handle the presidency (55%) than did Biden’s (41%).

And while we’re on the subject of looking like death, what is with the Grim Reaper’s hands and bandages?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hands have become the unlikely subject of wild speculation on social media as people obsess over how badly bruised they look this week, but Kentucky’s longtime senator isn’t saying much about it.

A photograph taken earlier this week showed McConnell’s noticeably discolored hands, which had a couple of small bandages on them. A little bruising around his mouth also was noticeable during a public appearance.

People theorized online that the reason for the apparent bruises could be that he has COVID-19, is taking blood thinners or has some other health issue. Snopes, the well-known fact-checking website, even put out a post confirming the photograph of the senator’s hands is real.

In light of all the rampant conjecture on the internet, a few reporters in Washington, D.C., asked McConnell about it Thursday, according to dispatches from the Capitol Hill press pool.

Bresnahan said he was feeling OK. “Good for you,” McConnell replied.

“But I’m serious, is there anything going on we should know about?” Bresnahan followed up.

“Of course not,” McConnell said.

Another journalist asked about the bruising, too, and McConnell said there were no concerns. He did not respond when asked if he was being treated by a doctor.

During a debate in Lexington on Oct. 12, McConnell had no discernible bruising on his hands, according to photographs from the event.

This isn’t the first time the senator has dismissed questions about his personal health.

Earlier this month, after President Donald Trump and Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah both confirmed they had contracted COVID-19, McConnell refused to say whether he had recently been tested for the virus.

Egon Schiele, Portrait of the dying Edith Schiele, 1918,

Mask Up Ya’ll! This is a pandemic data chart about the efficacy of masks.

Despite the clear opposition to masks within the Trump White House and among its allies, Americans of all political stripes overwhelmingly support their use as a public health measure and say they wear them whenever they’re in public.

Still, there are significant differences in mask-use rates at the state level. And data from Carnegie Mellon’s CovidCast, an academic project tracking real-time coronavirus statistics, yields a particularly vivid illustration of how mask usage influences the prevalence of covid-19 symptoms in a given area.

There’s a really interesting graphic there about the frequency of mask wearing per state and the infection rates that you should check out.

Meanwhile, back in Grim Reaper Territory:

We do have confirmation today that Alaska Senator Lisa Murskowski will vote no on the SCOTUS nomination Of Donald. This is from Newsweek.

Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski signaled on Thursday that she will vote against confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next week.

The Alaska lawmaker, who met with the conservative nominee earlier this week, would join the likes of Senator Susan Collins of Maine, the only other Republican who plans to vote against the Trump nominee on Monday. Barrett’s nomination was advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday by unanimous consent after Democrats boycotted the vote.

“I’ve shared for a while that I didn’t think we should be taking this up until after the election, and I haven’t changed,” Murkowski said, according to a congressional pool report.

Maine’s Susan Collins indicated on Oct. 16th that she did not support the nomination.

So, that’s some of the grim news today.

What’s on you reading and blogging list today?

17 Comments on “Foggy Friday Reads”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Have a great weekend! Be safe! Let us know how you’re making out during all of this stress!!

    • NW Luna says:

      …despite wanting to comply, many, particularly those on low incomes, break the rules to go to work or perform caring duties.

      Yes, need to look at the broader situation.

      • dakinikat says:

        Public health issues aren’t just about medicine. I keep thinking backs to the AIDS epidemic and changing behaviors and situations were key like condoms and clean needles.

  2. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      I really appreciated Biden calling out the Dump administration as “criminal” for their role in separating 545 children from their parents and then losing track. And he said it twice. I just hope they follow up on that with prosecution.

      Also liked his stance on weaning us away from oil. I think that took some guts.

      Finally the way Biden emphasized the risk to teachers in opening schools in contrast to Dump’s complete acceptance of that risk. How people think Dump has their interests at heart is cognitive dissonance on steroids.

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. MsMass says:

    Biden speaking of COVID now:

  5. NW Luna says:

    From the WaPo article Kat posted:

    One other observation to note is that almost without exception, the states with the highest rates of mask-wearing were won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. In other words, more Democrats, more masking — a vivid reflection of how partisanship has been a factor in much of the response to the pandemic.

    Though I’d say instead of ‘partisanship’ it should be ‘intelligence.’

  6. Rebecca Falk says:

    I agree that Trump had to have been sedated. I can’t get over that no one calls out his lies but the other candidate, so it seems like a he said, he said situation.

  7. Enheduanna says:

    Another cool night for astronomy! Conjunction of moon, Jupiter and Saturn tonight: