Lazy Caturday Reads

Tetsuo Takahara3

Good Morning!!

Today’s Caturday illustrations are by Japanese artist Tetsuo Takahara.

We are getting our first Nor’easter of the season today and tomorrow. I don’t know how much snow we will get yet, but it’s already stormy out there. Coastal Storm Could Bring 18 Inches Of Snow To Parts Of MA.

BOSTON — A nasty Nor’easter has taken aim at Southern New England Saturday, with snow totals again upped to more than a foot in parts of the state. What started as a rainy day will turn into snow, leading to messy conditions across the state.

The National Weather Service has continued to raise the expected snow totals in the days leading up to the storm, with Saturday morning’s updated forecast showing parts of the state could see as much as 18 inches of accumulation. A winter storm warning is in effect from 1 p.m. Saturday until 7 a.m. Sunday.

Most of the state should see the first flakes fall by early-to-mid afternoon, though the northwest corner of the state could see snow as early as 10 a.m. Worcester is expected to be hit hardest, with a foot to a foot and a half of snow expected.\

The combination of the wet, heavy snow with high winds could lead to downed trees, power lines and widespread power outages. While the Cape and islands aren’t expected to see too much snow accumulation, they’ll be hit the hardest by the winds, which could top out at 65 mph in Provincetown. Keep electronic devices charged in case of a power outage.

Testsuo Takahara1Sorry for the local news, but this is quite a shock. It’s very early for us to be getting a winter storm. This storm is actually impacting the entire East coast from the Carolinas to Maine. CNN: First nor’easter of the season could turn into a ‘bomb cyclone’ in New England.

A rapidly intensifying nor’easter will bring heavy rain and snow from the Mid-Atlantic through New England this weekend, triggering winter weather alerts in several Northeastern states….

“As the system rapidly intensifies, it will also bring windy conditions, especially along the coast from the mid-Atlantic through Maine,” said CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward. “Expect winds to gust 30 to 40 mph Saturday, with some gusts perhaps even topping 50 mph in areas like Cape Cod.”

Gale warnings are in effect along the coast from the Carolinas to Maine. A reduction in visibility, along with strong winds, are expected to cause hazardous seas, which could capsize or damage vessels.

This storm could intensify fast enough to become a “bomb cyclone,” a phenomenon characterized by a pressure drop of at least 24 millibars within 24 hours and increased precipitation and winds.

The heaviest rain will fall along the Eastern Seaboard, particularly from Richmond, Virginia, to Boston, where rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches are expected.

The heaviest snow will likely fall between Worcester, Massachusetts and Caribou, Maine, where 8 to 12 inches is forecast. Over one foot of snow is possible for isolated locations, especially in Maine.

So if you’re in the path of the storm, stay inside, get cozy and comfortable with a good book or other favorite indoor activity.

70236ec8f93c827a416d137f0aa89523If you’re getting the feeling I’m avoiding the political news, you’re absolutely right. But I’ll force myself. Here are some of today’s top stories.

Trump had a devastating day in court yesterday.

The New York Times: Judge Orders Government to Fully Reinstate DACA Program.

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore an Obama-era program designed to shield young, undocumented immigrants from deportation, dealing what could be a final blow to President Trump’s long-fought effort to end the protections.

The program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was created by President Barack Obama in 2012. Over the years, it has protected more than 800,000 individuals, known as “dreamers,” who met a series of strict requirements for eligibility.

But those protections have been under legal and political siege from Republicans for years, leaving the immigrants who were enrolled in DACA uncertain whether the threat of deportation from the United States could quickly return with a single court order or presidential memorandum.

Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn directed the administration on Friday to allow newly eligible immigrants to file new applications for protection under the program, reversing a memorandum issued in the summer by Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, which restricted the program to people who were already enrolled. As many as 300,000 new applicants could now be eligible, according to the lawyers who pushed for the reinstatement.

The memo from the Department of Homeland Security also limited benefits under the program, including permits to work, to one year, but the judge ordered the government to restore them to a full two years. Judge Garaufis, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, also said the government must find a way to contact all immigrants who are eligible for the program to inform them of the change.

The judge said the government must announce the changes to the program on its website by Monday.

5b1acce4221514ee0caea371adb2a734--japanese-art-cat-artAnd then there were the baseless claims of election fraud. Donald Trump’s brutal day in court.

President Donald Trump and his legal allies earned a platinum sombrero Friday, striking out five times in a matter of hours in states pivotal to the president’s push to overturn the election results — and losing a sixth in Minnesota for good measure.

It was another harsh milestone in a monthlong run of legal futility, accompanied by sharp rebukes from county, state and federal judges who continue to express shock at the Trump team’s effort to simply scrap the results of an election he lost. Several of the most devastating opinions, both Friday and in recent weeks, have come from conservative judges and, in some federal cases, Trump appointees.

The losses included a rejection in Wisconsin from the state Supreme Court, where the majority was gobsmacked at the effort by a conservative group to invalidate the entire election without any compelling evidence of voter fraud or misconduct.

“The relief being sought by the petitioners is the most dramatic invocation of judicial power I have ever seen,” said Brian Hagedorn, a conservative elected justice, in a concurring opinion. “Judicial acquiescence to such entreaties built on so flimsy a foundation would do indelible damage to every future election. Once the door is opened to judicial invalidation of presidential election results, it will be awfully hard to close that door again. This is a dangerous path we are being asked to tread.”

An Arizona county judge, similarly, tossed a suit brought by state GOP chair Kelli Ward. “The court finds no misconduct, no fraud and no effect on the outcome of the election.” Ward has vowed to appeal that ruling.\A Nevada judge issued a point-by-point rejection of every claim lodged by the Trump team, emphasizing that the facts they presented were sparse and unpersuasive. Carson City District Judge James Russell’s opinion repeatedly emphasized their case would not have succeeded “under any standard of proof.” [….]

b08d5e5aa610438a6bc83833b3136e1cIn one of the most prominent cases — a suit in Georgia brought by controversial lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood — a federal appeals court dismissed an appeal seeking to expand a restraining order a district court judge issued Sunday barring any alterations to voting machines in three Georgia counties.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the appeal without even hearing oral arguments from the litigants.

Read more at Politico.

Trump is headed to Georgia today for a rally supposedly to support incumbent Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, but he’s more likely to use the event to whine about election loss. The New York Times: A Gathering Political Storm Hits Georgia, With Trump on the Way.

ATLANTA — Some of the biggest names in national politics jumped into the fiercely contested runoffs for two Georgia Senate seats on Friday, even as a second recount showed that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had maintained his lead in the state and Republicans braced for a visit by President Trump, who has railed against his loss there with baseless claims of fraud.

With Mr. Trump set to campaign for the two Republican incumbents, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence and former President Barack Obama held dueling events to underscore the vital stakes in the special elections: If both Republicans are defeated, control of the Senate will shift to Democrats just as Mr. Biden moves into the Oval Office.

Mr. Obama appeared virtually at a turn-out-the-vote event for Jon Ossoff, the Democrat facing Mr. Perdue, and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, Ms. Loeffler’s opponent, and spoke of his frustration in seeing his initiatives blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate when he was in office. “If the Senate is controlled by Republicans who are interested in obstruction and gridlock, rather than progress and helping people, they can block just about anything,” Mr. Obama said.

Mr. Pence — with Mr. Perdue and Ms. Loeffler by his side — attended a Covid-19 briefing at the Atlanta headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and said later at a rally for the Republican candidates that “we’re going to save the Senate, and then we’re going to save America.”

Yeah, right.

DDFg8ATXoAAs3plThe Senate races are playing out at a hyperpartisan moment in American politics that has led to a civil war among Georgia Republicans divided over whether to support Mr. Trump as he persists with false assertions that the election was stolen from him. In Georgia and elsewhere, the president’s lawyers remain engaged in a failing, last-minute effort to throw the election to Mr. Trump.

Even as he tweeted this week that he wanted “a big David and Kelly WIN,” Mr. Trump called Brian Kemp, the state’s Republican governor, “hapless” for failing to work to overturn the election results, while also criticizing Georgia’s top election official, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. His sustained assault on Georgia’s voting system prompted an extraordinary rebuke this week from another high-ranking elections official, who warned of violent threats against poll workers and publicly pleaded with the president to cool down his conspiratorial rhetoric.

Meanwhile the coronavirus pandemic is surging everywhere. Here in Massachusetts, the numbers of new cases have climbed to 5,000 or more every day. Deaths are fewer than in the spring, but people are still dying on a daily basis.

The Atlantic: The U.S. Has Passed the Hospital Breaking Point.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, public-health experts have warned of one particular nightmare. It is possible, they said, for the number of coronavirus patients to exceed the capacity of hospitals in a state or city to take care of them. Faced with a surge of severely ill people, doctors and nurses will have to put beds in hallways, spend less time with patients, and become more strict about whom they admit into the hospital at all. The quality of care will fall; Americans who need hospital beds for any other reason—a heart attack, a broken leg—will struggle to find space. Many people will unnecessarily suffer and die….

Yet that worst-case scenario never came to pass at a national level. At the springtime peak, even as northeastern hospitals faced a deluge, 60,000 people were hospitalized nationwide. When the Sun Belt frothed with cases this summer, hospitalizations again reached the 60,000 mark before they started to fall.

A month ago, in early November, hospitalizations passed 60,000—and kept climbing, quickly. On Wednesday, the country tore past a nauseating virus record. For the first time since the pandemic began, more than 100,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States, nearly double the record highs seen during the spring and summer surges.

Tetsuo Takahara2The pandemic nightmare scenario—the buckling of hospital and health-care systems nationwide—has arrived. Several lines of evidence are now sending us the same message: Hospitals are becoming overwhelmed, causing them to restrict whom they admit and leading more Americans to needlessly die.

The current rise in hospitalizations began in late September, and for weeks now hospitals have faced unprecedented demand for medical care. The number of hospitalized patients has increased nearly every day: Since November 1, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has doubled; since October 1, it has tripled.

Click the link to read the rest.

The New York Times: The Virus Is Devastating the U.S., and Leaving an Uneven Toll.

HOUSTON — The United States is winding up a particularly devastating week, one of the very worst since the coronavirus pandemic began nine months ago.

On Friday, a national single-day record was set, with more than 226,000 new cases. It was one of many data points that illustrated the depth and spread of a virus that has killed more than 278,000 people in this country, more than the entire population of Lubbock, Texas, or Modesto, Calif., or Jersey City, N.J.

“It’s just an astonishing number,” said Caitlin Rivers, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “We’re in the middle of this really severe wave and I think as we go through the day to day of this pandemic, it can be easy to lose sight of how massive and deep the tragedy is.”

In California, where daily case reports have tripled in the last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new round of regional stay-at-home orders to address a mounting crisis over intensive-care beds. Some counties in the Bay Area said they were enacting tough new restrictions this weekend, before the state rules come into effect. And in South Florida, which is in the early stages of a new surge, physicians and politicians alike worried that there might not be enough resources to treat the sick.

Head over to the NYT for the rest. It’s worth a read.

That’s it for me today. I’m going to hunker down with a good book while I ride out the storm. Take care, Sky Dancers! I hope you’ll stop by today if you have the time and inclination. I’ll be checking in.

19 Comments on “Lazy Caturday Reads”

  1. Beata says:

    Take care, BB. I hope the storm is far less severe than predicted.

    It is cold but sunny here. On days like this, I open the curtains wide to let in as much sunlight as possible.

    I am reading a good novel: “The Forbidden Garden” by Ellen Herrick. It has mystery, romance, a family curse, and a scary walled garden on an ancestral English estate! What more could you want? Anyway, it’s fun escapism. We all need an escape now, don’t we?

  2. bostonboomer says:

  3. bostonboomer says:

  4. quixote says:

    You know how the joke is that cats look at you like they’re wondering if you’re what’s for dinner? The cats in these pictures really look like that!

  5. Sweet Sue says:

    Stay safe and warm, Ann.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks. I will. It’s snowing now. I looks messy out there.

      • quixote says:

        I’m not far from the subtropics now, but in the high and far off times I remember it being a very nice cozy feeling to be all snug and warm while it snowed outside. So long as you don’t have to put on your snowshoes and go out, it’s great 😆

  6. Minkoff Minx says:

    Be careful BB and everyone in the storm’s path…

    • Beata says:

      NYT reporting more than 200,000 are without power in New England tonight. The storm isn’t supposed to end until Sunday night.

      BB, check in with us if you can and let us know how you are!