Friday Reads: The War on Vaccines and Masks (i.e Health)

“JAN 14 1956, JAN 15 1956; Nurse Cuca Martinez (Left) does her best to soothe Elizabeth Tarrant, 7, of 881 S. Umatilla St., Dr. Rosalind Ting (right) readies the needle for child’s first polio injection. Elizabeth received her inoculation at the last free public clinic of the current series. Which was stopped because of a shortage of Salk vaccine.; Credit : Denver Post (Photo By Cloyd Teter/The Denver Post via Getty Images) – . GettyGetty”

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I’ve spent the early morning basically hearing one colleague after another at LSU beg their President and Board to take this 4th surge of Covid-19 seriously.  They were interrupted because the Board just had to listen to a sportscaster. They are not going to test students, staff, and faculty. They are not even taking the State’s order of indoor masking seriously.  We’ve done all of this before and politics and idiots are making things unsafe.

I remember getting in the station wagon, Daddy drove us to the gymnasium of Herbert Hoover Elementary school where everyone from my toddler sister and kindergartner me waved and smiled at all our friends and neighbors and got shots. I had the measles, the chickenpox, and enough of those diseases that Me–the mother–took both my kids to get what vaccines were available.  While Dr. Daughter had about as bad of chickenpox experience as I did, Baby daughter got into the trials for the chickenpox vaccine and had exactly one of the crusty little things show up near the injection site and no misery.  I had a wallet-sized record of vaccines that I had to show whenever I went to a new school or university.  No big deal. I’m pretty sure that was a nearly universal experience. Anyone who lived through any pandemic or massively deadly outbreak of something just did what they should do.  Roll up your sleeve and be thankful you’re not going to be the next person sick.

WTF has happened?

I’m watching this thread of Robert Mann who has basically said that he’s resigned himself to getting covid-19 even though he’s vaccinated because there will be massive numbers of unmasked, unvaccinated people on campus all crammed into rooms with inadequate ventilation.  The only ones the President and the board seem concerned about are the damn football players.

“Children receiving diphtheria immunization, New York City, 1920s
Metropolitan Life Insurance company promoted diphtheria immunization in New York in the 1920s. The children lined to up receive what at that time would have been toxin-antitoxin mixture from school nurses.”

UNO–no longer part of the LSU system but the LU system–still plans to open up too. I’m not teaching there this fall and frankly, I see that as a good thing for me. I can’t believe that everything will not be shut down again by September because of deliberately stupid people’s politics.  Meanwhile, the private sector is stepping up.

Michael M. Grynbaum / New York Times:  CNN fires three employees who went into the office unvaccinated.

Alison Sider / Wall Street Journal: United Airlines to Require All U.S. Employees to Get Covid-19 Vaccines

Jake Harris / WFAA-TV: Back to School: Here’s what to know about vaccination requirements

Christa Emmer / Our Community Now:  Disney to Reinstate Mask Requirements at US Parks

Meanwhile, President Biden is getting more creative about ways to get the country vaccinated. This is from WaPo: Biden administration considers withholding funds and other measures to spur vaccinations.”

The Biden administration is considering using federal regulatory powers and the threat of withholding federal funds from institutions to push more Americans to get vaccinated — a huge potential shift in the fight against the virus and a far more muscular approach to getting shots into arms, according to four people familiar with the deliberations.

The effort could apply to institutions as varied as long-term-care facilities, cruise ships and universities, potentially impacting millions of Americans, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations.

The conversations are in the early phases and no firm decisions have been made, the people said. One outside lawyer in touch with the Biden administration on the issue is recommending that the president use federal powers sparingly.
There is a particular focus in the discussions on whether restrictions on Medicare dollars or other federal funds could be used to persuade nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities to require employees to be vaccinated, according to one of the people familiar with the talks.

If the Biden administration goes forward with the plans, it would amount to a dramatic escalation in the effort to vaccinate the roughly 90 million Americans who are eligible for shots but who have refused or have been unable to get them.

The discussion at the highest level of government also signals a new phase of potential federal intervention as the White House struggles to control the delta variant of the virus, which is spreading more rapidly than even some of the more dire models predicted.

Elvis Presley receives a polio vaccination from doctors at the CBS studios, New York, in 1956. Photograph: Seymour Wally/NY Daily News via Getty Images

Headlines on the Delta surge from Republicans are beyond ridiculous including DeSantos blaming the Delta surge on Biden and refugees at the Southern  Border while totally ignoring his mismanagement of Florida’s Public Health. This is from the Miami Herald: “Incredibly, DeSantis blames Florida COVID surge on Biden, immigrants. Scapegoat much?”  This is an Op Ed by Fabiola Santiago.

Florida Gov. Ron

DeSantis has failed to protect Floridians from COVID-19.

That fact alone is grounds for condemnation, but this week he’s throwing into the mix a little xenophobia for political effect.

Instead of supporting common-sense, expert-guided public health measures to deal with highly transmissible variants in Florida, the governor bet on GOP-branded rhetorical rubbish about “freedom of choice” on life-saving masks and vaccines.

And we lost.

Florida continues to lead the nation in COVID cases and hospitalizations, breaking most of the coronavirus statistical records that chronicle the sickness and suffering residents were, and still are, enduring. It doesn’t get any more gut-wrenching and infuriating than to see cases of children infected with the deadly delta variant soaring in Florida hospitals, more so than in any other state.

These lying bags of conspiracy shit are killing people.  It’s insane because it’s mostly their voters that listen to the nonsense but it drags innocent people along for the ride to the cemetery.  Los Angeles is looking for ways to mandate vaccines.

Here’s our crazy republican Attorney General shaming the Bishop of Layfette Diocese’s Catholic Churches

Texas and Louisiana are now facing the Lambda variant and it’s uglier than the Delta,

On April 18, 1955, 8-year-old Ann Hill of Tallahassee, Fla., received one of the first Salk polio vaccine shots.

I’m beginning to feel like we’re a group of Cassandras here.

The new COVID Lambda variant has been detected in Louisiana, doctors told WBRZ Thursday.

It was first reported in the U.S. in Houston and health care officials believe since Texas and Louisiana share a border, the virus variant was easily spread.

“I do know that with the proximity with Texas, there have been a few cases detected in North Louisiana with the Lamda variant.  But we don’t know whether this is going to be a more aggressive or less aggressive virus,” Dr. Aldo Russo, the medical director at Ochsner said.

Dr. Russo said the Lambda variant has not been detected in the capital region yet, but health care professionals are testing for it.

“We are monitoring this very closely. Our teams are sequencing the different variants,” Dr. Russo said.

The Lambda variant was first reported in Peru in December and has become the dominant strain of the virus there.  It’s concerning for the country because the vaccine used in Peru is not effective against this new variant.

“They have stated that there may be some resistance to the vaccine, but that it was a different vaccine that they were using. They were using the Chinese vaccine,” Dr. Russo said.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate was down in July with big gains in employment for Black and Latinx workers. This is via the AP. The entire economy rests on getting through this Delta variant.  Maybe that’s why Employers are getting a lot more serious about testing and vaccines than Republican stooges.

 U.S employers added 943,000 jobs in July and drove the unemployment rate down to 5.4% in another sign the economy is bouncing back with surprising vigor from COVID-19. But there is growing fear the fast-spreading delta variant will set back the recovery.

The worry is that the resurgent virus could discourage people from going out and spending and trigger another round of shutdowns or other restrictions.

“That is a definite downside risk,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. “The risk is from a more cautious consumer, if they don’t want to engage in outside activities. … You’re also hearing about big companies that are delaying a return to work. That might be something that slows things down.’’

The Labor Department collected its data for the report in mid-July before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week reversed course and recommended that even vaccinated people resume wearing masks indoors in places where the variant is pushing infections up.

Still, the July numbers looked good. They exceeded economists’ forecast of more than 860,000 new jobs. Encouraged by their prospects, 261,000 Americans returned to the job market in July. And the unemployment rate fell from 5.9% in June.

I think most people prefer mitigation and vaccinated neighbors and workers to another potential shutdown. However, I’m staying put here in Lousyana where our Republican Stooges like everyone miserable but themselves.  Here’s so more on the struggle to get folks vaccinated.

Peter Slevin / New YorkerThe Struggle to Vaccinate Springfield, Missouri

Heather Long / Washington Post:‘We’re back to panicking’: Moms are hit hardest with camps, day cares and schools closing again

Nicole Carroll / USA TodayThe Backstory: My brother is one of millions who won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine.  I asked why.  Here are his reasons, my responses.

So, have you made any lifestyle changes yet?  More open or back to staying mostly home?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads: The Media Should Stop giving Nincompoops a Platform

Portrait of a Man,
Erich Heckel ,1918

Good Day Sky Dancers!

This is not the post I intended to write today. I figured I would have to take a look at the US re-entering the Climate Change Agreement or the Putin Pull out or some other kind of change we get since we got rid of the Previous Guy. Instead, I got treated to an entirely huge number of wipipo who really don’t need any sort of media attention at all.

In fact, they need to take their little whiny white asses back to whatever miserable enclave they sprang from to whack off to black and white TV from the 50s and leave the rest of us safely unaware of their existence.  They do not have economic angst. They have a bad case of fascism, racism, and misogyny all wrapped up in a desire to replace democracy with white nationalism. It’s all so they can feel safe and good about themselves.

So, this bigoted idiot from Las Vegas was given print space  by the Orlando Sentinel.  He argues that Disneyland and Disneyworld should be there to give him his fantasy of white smeared with THAT sort’ve christian hegemony.  He expects the entire organization should just exist only to humor his white supremacist fantasies just because he spends money there.  The most distasteful thing in the article wasn’t the headline on how Disney Corp’s  wokeness was ruining his good times. It was that he expected every one else to just go ahead and playact whatever offensive stereotype generations of their family try to escape from.  Poor little white toad.  “I love Disney World, but wokeness is ruining the experience | Commentary”.  I just hope he stays away from New Orleans.

That spell is broken when the immersive experience is shattered by the real world. And boy, has Disney been breaking the immersion.

Recently, Disney announced that cast members are now permitted to display tattoos, wear inclusive uniforms and display inclusive haircuts. Disney did all of this in the name of allowing cast members to express themselves.

Man in Brown, Erich Heckel, 1912

His favorite thing to do first was the Pirates ride where he was regaled with kidnapped women in chains crying while guys yell “Marry a wench”.  White Toad misses him some slavery.  Then, there’s the entire longing for the Song of the South and the guide on the African river tour.  I’ll leave it to your imagination about how he misses his black friends on those rides.

Go read it and go look at the face of the ugly American tourist that every one in the world–and around here where you have to deal with them–wants a cattle prod and the ability to stuff their asses on a plane and send them back to Stupidlandia.  There’s some unwokeness for you!   I’m tired of them thinking we’re all here to affirm there ignorant bigoted ass and superstitions. Take your damn money!  Visit Hitler’s birthplace!  Get it out of your system!

Which brings me to the next phase of the Covid 19 Crisis.  This is where we spend tons of money telling those same ignorant asses to go get their ignorant asses to the nearest place they can GET a vaccination.  Then, roll up a sleeve and take it like an American!  Do it for your country! Do it so you do not kill other people! The shot is not going to turn you into some woke liberal!  Believe me on that one!  Education was already wasted on you!

And of course, twitter responds:

The worst thing is these people actually vote the local village idiots into Congress and we get this “GOP Sen. Ron Johnson Criticizes ‘Big Push’ To Get Everyone Vaccinated”   This is from that outrageously liberal rag Forbes.

In an interview with conservative Wisconsin radio host Vicki McKenna, herself a vocal coronavirus vaccine skeptic, Johnson launched into a condemnation of “vaccine passports,” a credential that would allow businesses to verify vaccination status.

But Johnson also went a step further, declaring he sees “no reason to be pushing vaccines on people,” arguing their distribution should be “limited” to those most vulnerable to coronavirus, and asking, “if you have a vaccine, quite honestly, what do you care if your neighbor has one or not?”

Erich Heckel, Man on a Plain, 1917

Which brings me to FaceBook and  their idea of wokeness.  I’ve had a comment censored for “bullying” because I refer to these people as Plague Rats.  Believe, me I have sympathy for that rats who had no idea they were spreading the Bubonic plague.  However, these human beings should know better.  My doctor daughter told me I had to realize these people don’t have access to good information and they are surrounded by the same kinds of people.

However, their so-called leaders like Ron Johnson, Ted Cruz, Tucker Carlson, John Neeley Kennedy, and the like are the Pied Pipers of spreading ignorance. They are either idiots themselves like Johnson.  But worst, they play at idiocy because they can fleece idiots for power and money. Why does any one actively choose counterfactuality?  Are facts that threatening to them?  I frankly think they just like to be told they’re right and go do whatever the fuck they want no matter how hateful or destructive or life threatening it is.

And, just when we haven’t got enough if attention and money starve reality tv show personalities going doing the politics road we get this  from Axios:  “Scoop: Caitlyn Jenner makes it official for California governor’.  Dear wisdom beings haven’t we suffered enough?

Jenner said in a statement that “Sacramento needs an honest leader with a clear vision” and that “for the past decade, we have seen the glimmer of the Golden State reduced by one-party rule that places politics over progress and special interests over people.”

  • The statement decries California’s taxes as “too high” and criticizes an “over-restrictive lockdown” response to the COVID pandemic including on in-person schooling.
  • “This is Gavin Newsom’s California, where he orders us to stay home but goes out to dinner with his lobbyist friends.”

“Self-Portrait With Raised Bare Shoulder,” by Egon Schiele,

It says she’s trying to not run as a Trumpist but gee, that last bit screams I’m part of the cult!  Does it not?  Please!  No more celebrities in an Executive position.  Nothing good ever comes from that!  I’m still reeling at the idea of Matthew McConaughey running for Governor in Texas. Dubya couldn’t say anything over Republican atrocities of the last 12 years but by gosh he’s got an opinion on that.  Well, not an opinion per se. It’s more of an admonition.

Former US President George W Bush commented on actor Matthew McConaughey’s possible run for Texas’ governor calling it a “tough business”.

During an appearance on the Today show, co-hosted by his daughter Jenna Bush Hager, the previous Texas governor turned president said: “I read that about Matthew, yeah… I tell you this, it`s a tough business” when asked about the 51-year-old actor’s chance of winning in the 2022 race

At least Texas Governors don’t do as much as the usual state governor does.

Erich Heckel: Seated Man, 1909

Politico has one thing right today: “It’s been exactly one year since Trump suggested injecting bleach. We’ve never been the same. It was wild in the moment. In time, it came to symbolize the chaotic nature of the presidency and the early Covid fight.” It still symbolizes the way Republicans are dealing with it.

One year ago today, President Donald .Trump took to the White House briefing room and encouraged his top health officials to study the injection of bleach into the human body as a means of fighting Covid. It was a watershed moment, soon to become iconic in the annals of presidential briefings. It arguably changed the course of political history.

Some ex-Trump aides say they don’t even think about that day as the wildest they experienced — with the conceit that there were simply too many others. But for those there, it was instantly shocking, even by Trump standards. It quickly came to symbolize the chaotic essence of his presidency and his handling of the pandemic. Twelve months later, with the pandemic still lingering and a U.S. death toll nearing 570,000, it still does.

For weeks, Trump had been giving winding, stream-of-consciousness updates on the state of the Covid fight as it clearly worsened. So when he got up from the Oval Office to brief reporters gathered in the The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room on April 23, there was no expectation that the day’s proceedings would be any different than usual.

Oskar Kokoschka (1908)

So, there are tons of folks with “vaccine hesitancy” and I’ve bumped into a few. I ask why and just sit back and listen. I eventually just say that I couldn’t live with myself if I was responsible for some one’s death and move on.  But here’s a bit from VOX if you’re interested. It sums up some survey data.

The share of adults surveyed who are vaccinated or are willing to be vaccinated has grown from 72 percent to 77 percent from January through the end of February, a rise that reflects the increased availability of vaccines. However, the share of unvaccinated adults who are hesitant to get a vaccine has remained constant, at around 23 percent. It is this group that poses the greatest challenge to health care officials hoping to vaccinate the population to the point of herd immunity to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Some respondents hesitant about vaccination indicated general health concerns. Forty-five percent of those who said they definitely would not get the vaccine feared side effects, and 40 percent said they wanted to wait to see if vaccines were safe. (The vaccines have been shown to be safe and have generally mild side effects under clinical trials.) Others cited more conspiratorial reasons, with 29 percent of people not wanting the vaccine saying they didn’t trust vaccines and 27 percent saying they didn’t trust the government. Meanwhile, 20 percent said they didn’t think the vaccines work. People could select multiple reasons for not wanting a vaccine.

The vaccine rollout has been marred by misinformation, especially on social media. Some of the top narratives around the vaccine on social media include mentions of coronavirus conspiracy theories involving microchips and Bill Gates, according to new data from media insights company Zignal Labs. There’s also a conspiracy theory known as “the Great Reset,” the debunked idea that the coronavirus was created by the government to take control of the global economy.

Facebook, which has long been a bastion for the anti-vaccine movement, helped Carnegie Mellon survey its users for the report and is hoping to lead a large inoculation information campaign. After trying for years to crack down on vaccine misinformation, Facebook finally banned users from sharing anti-vaccine content in February. But vaccine misinformation can still be found on the site. A recent Washington Post report by Elizabeth Dwoskin examined internal documents at Facebook that suggest QAnon-supporting groups and a relatively small number of influential people are responsible for a significant share of vaccine skepticism on the site.

Self-Portrait with Chinese Lantern Plant | Egon Schiele 1912

It’s still pretty obvious by the way the Republicans keep acting, what they keep saying, and the fanatical way they are trying to stop POC from voting that they are still not beyond the previous guy.  We will not get pass Covid-19 until they get pass the previous guy. We’re going to spend time in a lot of states stopping anti-democracy legislature .   We will be watching a lot of bad court decisions come out of courts too.

A lot of those bad decisions will be written by appointments of the previous guy. Kavanaugh’s et al overturn of prior Supreme Court precedent on sending teens to prison for life stands as a most horrific example.  Sotomayor wrote an especially scathing minority opinion.  This is from Esquire and Charles Pierce.

From out of the recently Trumpified Supreme Court came yet another decision that murdered precedent. Delivering the death blow was Justice Brett Kavanaugh. This was a major flex for the carceral state and a major hit to criminal justice reform. It not only closed off future improvements in that regard, but also undercut what few accomplishments already exist.

The case was Jones v. Mississippi. Over the years, the courts began to look askance at the idea of handing juveniles sentences of life without parole, essentially warehousing individuals for decades in the horrors of the American penal system for crimes they committed as minors. Twice since 2012, the Supreme Court has decided that such sentences were in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. With a single decision, Kavanaugh, good Jesuit-educated lad that he is, and six of his colleagues decided that, instead, such sentences were both just and commonplace. It is yet another example of the current majority’s enthusiasm for gutting precedent while pretending that it’s not, and it is a monstrous legal offense against humanity.

By those two precedents, judges had to conduct separate proceedings before sentencing juveniles to life without parole and to provide a public explanation for those decisions. The 6-3 decision on Thursday for which Kavanaugh wrote the lead opinion effectively wipes out those two requirements which, in tandem, had reduced radically the number of juvenile convicts doing life without parole. And, in keeping with how that new conservative majority on the Court operates, Kavanaugh argues that he is keeping faith with those decisions he is obviously eviscerating. In his concurrence, Justice Clarence Thomas at least acknowledged that the Court was overturning precedents set in cases he considered wrongly decided.

I’m really beginning to understand why Buddhists want to deconstruct egos and Abstract expressionists deconstruct the human image.  To borrow something old testament … All is vanity.

With this, I  end with an appropriate song.  Sing it Pete!  (See he does more than provide background music for car ads)

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads: Regime Change and Relief

Happy Friday Sky Dancers!

It would have been Muses parade Thursday last night up town but instead we had a flood of rain and the French Quarter under a heavy shut down order.  The Krewe of Muses was not to be left out of whatever fun we were trying to have at home.  Operation Shoe Fairy was on last night!  Glitter shoes were going to nurses and doctors and random people who bump into a muse driving her car full of glittery shoes around the city. Glittery Shoes from Muses and Glittery Coconuts from Zulu are the winning lotto tickets of parade throws.

“New Orleans is really resilient, and we rise to the occasion and we’re seeing that this year,” said Krewe Creator/Captain, Staci Rosenberg.

Rosenberg says not rolling this year is heartbreaking, however there is a plan in place to keep the magic alive. It’s called Operation Shoe Fairy.

“We’re going to be walking, driving, flying around the city, flitting around and landing in different parts of New Orleans giving glitter shoes to unsuspecting people,” she said.

All deliveries will follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. They’ll also be made at 12 local hospitals to recognize the heroic work being done during this tough time. They call it, “Heels for Healers.”

“We’re doing that because we so appreciate what the healthcare warriors at all levels have done for us this year,” Rosenberg said. “Their sacrifices have been unbelievable and if we can give them a tiny bit of joy, we want to do that.”

It’s not just New Orleans Krewes sending out  love and support this time of year!  Look what’s happening at the White House today!  No morbid red trees! No ripping up trees and flowers!  The First Lady Dr. Jill Biden sends out love for Valentine’s day!

Her predecessor is not amused.  Poor lil Melania did not get the same treatment  and like her husband, she doesn’t get it that people find her basically unpleasant and cold.  You can go read about her bitterness at the link at CNN.  Be sure to bring along the smallest violin in the world

Muses fill up the Community Food Fridges

But then there’s the big news that we may all have our vaccinations by summer!  I just got my first dose of Pfizer on Wednesday.  This is terrific news!  Via CBS “Biden announces deal for 200 million more COVID-19 doses.”

President Biden announced Thursday his administration has finalized an order for 200 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be delivered by July 2021, adding to the 400 million doses that the Trump administration had already ordered from Pfizer and Moderna by that date. The two drug companies both produce a two-shot regimen, so the total 600 million doses will vaccinate 300 million people — most of the U.S. population.

The president also said the companies were on track to supply their initial orders of each vaccine weeks earlier, distributing their first 200 million doses each by the end of May.

“That’s a month faster,” said Mr. Biden. “That means lives will be saved.”

Though snafus with complicated vaccination scheduling systems and mishandled doses have hampered the vaccine rollout, local and state health authorities have insisted the key issue they faced was that demand far outstripped supply at most clinics.

The Muse Krewe’s Houses float entitled Cosmos.

Okay, so no we’ve really made some changes!  There’s a FACT SHEET posted on the development at the White House website.  Facts!  What a concept!

One of the most interesting things to read today is in Nature. “This COVID-vaccine designer is tackling vaccine hesitancy — in churches and on Twitter. Immunologist Kizzmekia Corbett helped to design the Moderna vaccine. Now she volunteers her time talking about vaccine science with people of colour.”  Here’s the blurb about her and you can read her interview at the link.

Kizzmekia Corbett, an immunologist at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), is one of the scientists who in early 2020 helped to develop an mRNA-based vaccine for COVID-19. Developed in collaboration with biotech firm Moderna of Cambridge, Massachusetts, the vaccine is now being distributed across the United States and elsewhere. And Corbett is taking on another challenge: tempering vaccine hesitancy by talking about COVID-19 science in communities of colour.

Corbett is one of many Black scientists and doctors who are doing this outreach, often virtually, in their free time. Researchers say it’s necessary to make scientific knowledge accessible in public forums, to ease health disparities.

In the United States, COVID-19 has affected Black, Native American and Latino American people at higher rates than white people, for reasons rooted in racism and historical segregation. At the same time, people in these groups are more wary of COVID-19 vaccines. In a December survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 46% of Black adults said they probably would not get vaccinated against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, compared with 30% of white respondents. Those who were hesitant cited worries about side effects, and the speed at which the vaccines were developed. A legacy of exploitative medical research, such as infamous syphilis studies in Tuskegee, Alabama — in which doctors withheld treatment from hundreds of Black men from the 1930s and 1970s — contributes to this scepticism.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Corbett was part of a team at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, and elsewhere, that was designing vaccines for other coronaviruses in collaboration with Moderna. The scientists’ mRNA technology delivers a piece of genetic code to a person’s cells to create immune-stimulating virus proteins. When the outbreak began, the team mobilized to quickly identify the SARS-CoV-2 genetic sequence it would need to make a vaccine for COVID-19, which Moderna then produced. Before trials began in people, Corbett designed tests of the vaccine in animals, and perfected assays that measured its effectiveness in clinical trials.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, Why YES!  I am actively ignoring the Trump side show on the senate floor today.  They may not give him the guilty verdict but we know what he’s done and what he is not done and why things like the following are happening.  This is from the US District Attorney’s office in North Carolina as it appears on the DOJ’s website.  “Individual Charged With Threatening The President of The United States Appears In Federal Court”.   Trump’s “Big Lie” will continue to cost lives.

According allegations in the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, between January 28 and February 1, 2021, Reeves contacted multiple times the White House switchboard via telephone and made threats against President Biden and others. The criminal complaint alleges that, on February 1, 2021, a Secret Service agent contacted Reeves to discuss the threats. Reeves allegedly called back the Secret Service agent multiple times throughout the day, and repeated the threats against the President, the Secret Service agent, and others. According to filed court documents, on the same day, Reeves also contacted the U.S. Capitol Police switchboard and communicated similar threats.

Following today’s hearing, Judge Keesler ordered Reeves to remain in custody.

The charge of making a threat against the President of the United States carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.

Well, it seems a few Republicans have decided their political interests don’t link with KKKremlin Caligula.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued stunning remarks breaking with former President Trump, telling Politico in an interview published Friday that she believes he “let us down.”

“We need to acknowledge he let us down,” Haley, who served in her ambassador role under Trump, said. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”

Haley’s remarks are her strongest yet against the former president in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and come as Trump’s legal team is set to present its defense of Trump on Friday in his second Senate impeachment trial.

Muse float of notorious RBG waiting in its Den for another day in the sun.

It’s still not a very brave statement but at least a few of them are speaking out still.  It’s a Politico interview with her so you’re forewarned about this link.   But to me, the take away is this.  I’m still shaking my head and laughing about “stunning” remarks because if you read the interview I don’t think they meant stunning the way I was stunned.

What was more striking was Haley’s underlying position: that because Trump believed he had been robbed, he was therefore justified in saying and doing whatever he pleased.

“You have the president of the United States telling everyone that he was cheated, that the voting systems are corrupt, that we’re living in a banana republic where the deep state has rigged this election against him,” I told her. “Isn’t that dangerous?”

“He believes it,” she smiled.

Yeah, That just means y’all need to send the nice young men in their clean white coats to take him away.  Just because he believes he’s following his oath means he should be absolved too.  Enabling delusion when it basically brings the country’s democracy to its knees ain’t pretty. Just say no to any public life for Ms Haley.  I’ve really had it with this tripe.

Here’s a real Muses Parade from 2018 if you want to see some of what goes on down here in a normal year.  I have a feeling with Joe and Kamala and all the professionals they have surrounded themselves with that we will have a more normal Mardi Gras next year.

I would also like to wish you Happy Chinese New Year!  Tashi Losar!  Happy Valentine’s Day!  And Best of Mardi Gras to you for the season that I consider the only Holiday season I recognize as worth the effort!  And to all of you who know any one who is even thinking about coming here tell them we do not want them here.  Auntie Latoya ain’t playing!

What’s on your reading and blogging list!  And let us know how things are going with you on getting that vaccine!


Monday Reads: School House Covid 19 Rock

Quiver School by Jeff Burton captures the degeneration of an old school building outside Havana, Illinois that once housed scores of children. The cold winter’s day and overcast skies create an atmosphere of desolation and solitude surrounding the old school. The school established in 1917, was one of the last one-room schools in operation before it closed.

Good Day Sky Dancers

The amount and content of the news right now is overwhelming.  It’s hard for me not to want to find a way to Rip Van Winkle myself to the future.  Maybe some kindle gentle version of a Dr Who will come give me a lift.  No story has stuck with me so much as the absolute chaos we’re creating by tossing children back into schools with very little resources, health care plans, and thought.  I can’t get the cartoon out of my head that BB shared when she discussed this topic this week.  Children were drawn as  the new classroom guinea pigs. They may also be the sacrificial lambs for the Trumpist Agenda.

I can’t help but wondering about all those folks involved in what it takes to run schools too.  Children are not immune from the virus. They are not immune from dying from it or suffering long term effects because of it.  This CNN article this morning held the usual shocking but not surprising given the state of affairs in our country under the most inept and destructive US federal government ever.  “More than 97,000 children tested positive for Covid-19 in the last two weeks of July, report says”. Christina Maxouris has the byline.

More than 97,000 children in the US tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks of July, a new report says.

The report, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, said in those two weeks, there was a 40% increase in child cases across the states and cities that were studied.

The age range for children differed by state, with some defining children as only those up to age 14 and one state — Alabama — pushing the limit to 24.

The compiled data comes during back-to-school season as health officials are trying to understand the effects of the virus on children and the role young people play in its spread. Some schools have begun welcoming crowds back to class and others have had to readjust their reopening plans in response to infections.

Schools provide an amazing number of functions and services for our children besides just pouring information into them and giving them skills.  They feed children.  They monitor children for potential issues at home. They provide play and social interaction along with the guidance one needs to function in a society.  All of this is missed if children are kept in isolation or in front of a screen.  But, the massive funds and commitment it takes to return children to school safely and protect the elders who support them is just not present at the Federal level.  Every school district should not be left to itself.

You can read a variety of local papers to figure out what’s going in each of the Districts all over the country. True, some needs of kids can be geographically specific like children out in the most rural areas have slightly different challenges then kids growing up in huge city centers.  However, classroom safety for a public health issue should come with complete, detailed instructions from our Federal Resources.  First and foremost the CDC should and has taken as much of a lead as it can.  We also have a Department of Education but the Secretary of that is about as useful as a comb is to a bald person.

There’s been more planning for school athletics programs–especially at the college and high school level–than for the academic environment itself. We all have seen and read about the Georgia School opening with its crowded hallways captured by one their young students Hannah Watters.  Now this headline (via the Hill): “9 people test positive for coronavirus at Georgia school where viral photos showed packed hallways.”  (Update: the young woman is no longer suspended but now she’s getting death threats).

Nine people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the Georgia high school that gained national attention after photos surfaced online showing dozens of students crowding into hallways.

North Paulding High School Principal Gabe Carmona said in a letter to parents on Saturday that at least six students and three faculty members who were in school for “at least some time” last week have since contracted COVID-19, according to a copy obtained by The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

In the note, Carmona said that the Paulding County School District was working with the state’s Department of Public Health (DPH) to implement “safety precautions and response plans.” He said the custodial staff would continue to clean and disinfect the school buildings daily. However, he did not mention whether any quarantine guidance would be released for students and faculty who may have come into contact with the infected individuals.

The Paulding County School District did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Boys Football 1910Some backward sliding for the fall is happening.  Even the Big 10 have decided no college football.  From the Detroit Free Press: “Sources: Big Ten votes to cancel football season; no games for Michigan, Michigan State in 2020.”  Which braindead states voted to play?

See you later, college football.

The Big Ten has voted to cancel the 2020 college football season in a historic move that stems from concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, multiple people with knowledge of the decision confirmed to the Free Press.

The sources requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the decision. A formal announcement is expected to Tuesday, the sources said.

The presidents voted, 12-2, Sunday to end the fall sports in the conference. Michigan and Michigan State — which both has physicians as presidents — voted to end the season, sources said. Only Nebraska and Iowa voted to play, Dan Patrick said on his radio show Monday.

The move comes two days after the Mid-American Conference became the first in the FBS to cancel ts season, and sources told the Free Press the Big Ten is trying to coordinate its announcement with other Power Five conferences.

Maybe we should take a hint from the disaster of School Openings in Israel.

The Washington Post characterizes it as “chaos from coast to coast”.

It’s going to be screen time all the time for kindergartners and graduate students alike. Teachers are threatening strikes. And students are already coming home with covid-19, the disease that has upended American education.

The 2020-2021 school year has dawned and it’s more chaotic than any before.

Plans are changing so fast that students and parents can hardly keep up. Districts that spent all summer planning hybrid systems, in which children would be in school part of the week, ditched them as coronavirus cases surged. Universities changed their teaching models, their start dates and their rules for housing, all with scant notice.

And many districts and col­leges have yet to make final decisions, even now, with the fall term already underway in some parts of the country.

Desegregation in the 1970s

The one thing that is certain is that these responses being so varied and so underfunded will cause an even greater education gap between poor and rich school districts.  This is from Market Watch: “Inside the struggle to close the education equality gap exacerbated by COVID-19.”

Indeed, a whole industry of firms — including tutoring companies, nanny agencies and teacher placement services — has popped up across the country in the past several weeks, offering to help parents hire an educator to teach a handful of students, siblings or a child one-on-one to compensate for or even replace remote classes.

But these services are largely available only to those who can afford them. Some companies are charging five-figure placement fees, and even parents who find a tutor or nanny on their own could pay up to $100 per hour.

“It made me very upset,” Messenger said of discovering this dynamic.So instead of cashing in, she decided to try to do something about it. At Spread Tutoring, the business she launched just a few weeks ago, families who can afford it buy an hour of tutoring at competitive rates — $50 per hour for one child or $30 per hour, per child for small groups — and an hour of tutoring is provided to a low-income family.

There are a few options available from nonprofits but more are likely needed.

Still, some organizations stepping into the void have already had success, or at least interest. In Tennessee, nearly 3,000 students in kindergarten through sixth grade this summer participated in the Tennessee Tutor Corps, a program that, like Spread, took advantage of a less-than-ideal summer for college students to help serve younger students who lost out on valuable schooling in the spring.

Through the program, run by the Bill and Crissy Haslam Foundation, an organization founded by the state’s former governor and his wife, more than 600 college students like Emma Crownover tutored younger students from a masked social distance at Boys & Girls Clubs across the state.

“It just felt like the best thing for me to do with my summer that was a little bit derailed because of COVID,” Crownover said. The 20-year-old aspiring teacher wasn’t sure of her plans for this summer before the pandemic hit, but she “wasn’t exactly planning to be in Nashville,” her hometown.

“That all changed when college got cut off in the middle,” she said. For six weeks, the Scripps College student worked from 10 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday with the same group of rising first graders for the first hour and sixth graders for the second hour.

They worked through a binder of materials provided by the program, and Crownover could set the pace — if students had progressed beyond that week’s lesson, they could move ahead. Still, she could see the impact of the time away from school, particularly with some of the sixth graders who, during the first few weeks, struggled with reading comprehension.

“When you’re that age, it’s a muscle,” she said. “Reading is something that you have to practice every single day.”

Leslie Yossarian, the membership coordinator at the branch of the Boys & Girls Club in Sevierville, Tenn., enrolled her 7- and 8-year-old daughters in the program to help ease concerns she had about them being prepared to resume school in the fall, when they’re planning to attend in person.

When her children were sent home in the spring, Yossarian worked with them on the learning packets provided by the school. But, as she puts it, “I’m not a teacher; I’m not a homeschooler. I did the best I could to try to do their assignments and turn them in and keep them on track.”

Then there’s Oklahoma: “Tulsa World editorial: Stitt uses federal COVID-19 relief to help private school students”.

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s program to underwrite private school tuition could help families earning up to 450% of the federal poverty level if they can demonstrate significant income decrease because of COVID-19. The income ceiling for a family of four increases then to $117,900. . Sue Ogrocki/AP file

So, I’m worried about this and about of thousand other things today.  And here’s some perpsective.

Unsettling as these transitions and circumstances will be, short of a complete economic collapse, none stands out as a turning point in history. But what surely does is the absolutely devastating impact that the pandemic has had on the reputation and international standing of the United States of America.

In a dark season of pestilence, COVID has reduced to tatters the illusion of American exceptionalism. At the height of the crisis, with more than 2,000 dying each day, Americans found themselves members of a failed state, ruled by a dysfunctional and incompetent government largely responsible for death rates that added a tragic coda to America’s claim to supremacy in the world.

For the first time, the international community felt compelled to send disaster relief to Washington. For more than two centuries, reported the Irish Times, “the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the U.S. until now: pity.” As American doctors and nurses eagerly awaited emergency airlifts of basic supplies from China, the hinge of history opened to the Asian century.

No empire long endures, even if few anticipate their demise. Every kingdom is born to die.

 What’s on your reading and blogging today?


Monday Reads: The Utter Failure that is Trump

Good Day Sky Dancers!

It’s hard to read a headline today comparing our country to just about any other and not realize that the Trumpist Regime has been a disastrous and utter failure.  This is the headline today from The Atlantic: “How the Pandemic Defeated America.  A virus has brought the world’s most powerful country to its knees.”  Well, it should have the addendum that this is a virus ignored by an American President who followed up with a botched response. His administration is a cautionary tale of how not to do anything.

Despite ample warning, the U.S. squandered every possible opportunity to control the coronavirus. And despite its considerable advantages—immense resources, biomedical might, scientific expertise—it floundered. While countries as different as South Korea, Thailand, Iceland, Slovakia, and Australia acted decisively to bend the curve of infections downward, the U.S. achieved merely a plateau in the spring, which changed to an appalling upward slope in the summer. “The U.S. fundamentally failed in ways that were worse than I ever could have imagined,” Julia Marcus, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, told me.

Since the pandemic began, I have spoken with more than 100 experts in a variety of fields. I’ve learned that almost everything that went wrong with America’s response to the pandemic was predictable and preventable. A sluggish response by a government denuded of expertise allowed the coronavirus to gain a foothold. Chronic underfunding of public health neutered the nation’s ability to prevent the pathogen’s spread. A bloated, inefficient health-care system left hospitals ill-prepared for the ensuing wave of sickness. Racist policies that have endured since the days of colonization and slavery left Indigenous and Black Americans especially vulnerable to COVID‑19. The decades-long process of shredding the nation’s social safety net forced millions of essential workers in low-paying jobs to risk their life for their livelihood. The same social-media platforms that sowed partisanship and misinformation during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Africa and the 2016 U.S. election became vectors for conspiracy theories during the 2020 pandemic.

It appears most of the country has had it with him and his pathetic, unqualified, and hapless cronies as well as the Republican pols that enable all of his insane policy.  But, we’ve got until January to see him gone and he can cause a lot of problems in the mean time. Politico offers some hope as state after state begins to lose all that red. The Ides of November are coming.  So is winter. Trump campaign nears point of no return.  Early voting begins in several key swing states next month, leaving a ‘dwindling window of time’ for the president to turn the race around.”

Trump’s window is smaller — and his margin for error tighter — because of an expected surge in mail voting due to the coronavirus and because the electorate this year appears more hardened than in 2016, with fewer undecided voters to peel off in the closing days of the contest.

Voters will begin receiving ballots in key swing states as early as next month. In North Carolina, elections officials will start sending ballots to voters on Sept. 4. Four more battleground states — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and Minnesota — will begin mailing ballots or start early voting by the end of September.

All of that will happen before the first presidential debate, on Sept. 29. Arizona, Ohio and Iowa will start early voting right after, in the first seven days of October.

“If I were running the Trump campaign, I would want to see a marked uptick by the beginning of October,” said Charlie Gerow, a Pennsylvania-based Republican strategist.

Gerow, like many Republicans, believes the Republican president will outperform current polls on Election Day. But “clearly, with early voting,” he said, “the timeline is accelerated.”

Trump’s concern about the timing and mechanics of the election was never plainer than on Thursday, when he suggested delaying it because of unsubstantiated claims about widespread mail voting fraud.

The president has no authority to change the date. But he has good reason to be worried. While in a closer contest, the rigors of the election calendar would be felt more evenly by both campaigns, Trump has so much ground to make up in the polls that allowing Biden to lock down even a small portion of the early vote could be debilitating.

Entering August, Trump trailed Biden by 7 percentage points in national polls, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. Biden also holds an edge in nearly every swing state.

There’s such a huge amount of dysfunction over the public health crisis that the economy is certain to fall off the proverbial cliff and stay there from some time.  Trump’s economic team is comprised of a matched set of snake oil salesmen with absolutely no credibility in their field.

Any plan to either retain the pandemic-related unemployment benefits or provide relief in the form of a stimulus check or forgivable loans to small businesses is stalled.

25206006-8045123-image-m-22_1582763625845
The government should again impose strict coronavirus-related lockdowns for a month or longer across the U.S. in order to boost the economy, a top Federal Reserve official said Sunday via The Hill.

Neel Kashkari, president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, said the nation needs to control the spread of the virus, which is increasing across much of the country, to get back on a path to economic health.

“That’s the only way we’re really going to have a real robust economic recovery. Otherwise, we’re going to have flare-ups, lockdowns and a very halting recovery with many more job losses and many more bankruptcies for an extended period of time unfortunately,” Kashkari said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

To do so, he suggested strict shutdowns, which is contrary to what President Trump and many of his allies have been pushing in recent months as measures to aid the economy.

“I mean if we were to lock down really hard, I know I hate to even suggest it, people will be frustrated by it, but if we were to lock down hard for a month or six weeks, we could get the case count down so that our testing and our contact tracing was actually enough to control it the way that it’s happening in the Northeast right now,” Kashkari said. “They had a rocky start, but they’re doing a pretty good job right now.”

He warned the virus will spread throughout the country with flare-ups and local lockdowns for the “the next year or two,” causing more businesses to fail, without such measures.

“We’re going to see many, many more business bankruptcies, small businesses, big businesses, and that’s going to take a lot of time to recover from to rebuild those businesses and then to bring workers back in and re-engage them in the workforce. That’s going to be a much slower recovery for all of us,” Kashkari said.

He also said that Congress can afford large sums for coronavirus relief efforts, though Republican lawmakers are looking to lessen the amount of supplemental aid for unemployed Americans as part of the next relief bill.

Stephan Moore is out huckstering for Trump to declare an national emergency and then cut payroll taxes because nothing could be more important that starving the Social Security and Medicare programs.

“Last week Mr. Trump acknowledged that compromising with Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a fool’s errand, because the House won’t agree to anything that boosts growth and job creation,” Moore claimed in the article co-authored with Phil Kerpen, head of the free-market nonprofit advocacy group Committee to Unleash Prosperity. The duo added that the Democratic Party’s plan to address economic issues during the coronavirus pandemic “would sink the economy and imperil Mr. Trump’s reelection.”

“The president needs to pull an end run, and there’s a legal way to do that. He should declare a national economic emergency and announce that the Internal Revenue Service will immediately stop collecting the payroll tax,” Moore declared. “This is technically called a deferral of the tax payments.”

Moore went on to say that President Trump “should order Treasury to put bonds into the Social Security and Medicare trust funds,” arguing, “Since Barack Obama did that in 2011, his vice president would have a hard time explaining his opposition to it now,” and claiming that the action “would flip the political tables.”

“Democrats can’t credibly call it a tax cut for the rich,” he wrote, concluding, “Mr. Trump could cap it at, say, $75,000 of income, so the vast majority of the benefit would go to straight into the wallets of middle- and lower-income workers, almost all of whom pay more payroll than income tax.”

Republicans have repeatedly pushed a payroll tax cut as the answer to the economic woes under the coronavirus pandemic, and have generally fought against direct payouts to affected workers through stimulus packages.

Real Economists–like me–have repeatedly shown through peer evaluated studies that tax cuts are generally the weakest form of stimulus possible. They continue to be the panacea for everything some what like an economic spoonful of apple cider vinegar to Republicans who want our government and every program to fail.  Navarro does have has terminal degree but mostly appears to have a terminal case of racism when it comes to anything Chinese. He also thinks he’s a doctor which is seriously deluded

 

CNN host Jim Sciutto took on White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Monday about his evangelism of the drug hydroxychloroquine.

During an interview with Navarro, Sciutto noted that Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary Brett Giroir had recently said that there is no benefit in taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent or treat COVID-19.

“Given your past public support for it,” Sciutto said, “is it time for the administration to focus on proven treatments for COVID rather than one that has not been proven?”

“I take exception to Giroir’s analysis,” Navarro objected. “He hasn’t looked at the data.”

“It’s his job to look at the data,” the CNN host noted.

Navarro replied by encouraging Sciutto to interview several doctors who support the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.

“Doctors opinions are a dime a dozen,” the trade adviser continued. “And you’ve got some doctors who say it doesn’t work, you’ve got some doctors who say it does.”

“But it’s not a both sides thing,” Sciutto observed. “There’s a process for approving drugs in this country. There’s a reason the FDA hasn’t approved it. And this hasn’t passed muster so why all the focus on that drug? Why not focus on things that work like remdesivir?”

Frankly, his opinion isn’t even worth a dime on either economics or medicine.  CNN should stop making platforms for these idiots.  But then, Trump loved him some doctor who is serious about “Demon Sperm”.   John Oliver–the HBO comedian--took that up this weekend.

On Sunday night, John Oliver took a break from dunking on Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson’s racist news coverage to address what was sadly one of the biggest stories of the past week: President Donald Trump’s continued spreading of misinformation surrounding the novel coronavirus, which has killed over 157,000 people in the U.S.

“Recklessness is abounding right now, heightening the need for strong leadership. And unfortunately, we’re getting the opposite of that,” said John Oliver, before pointing to Trump’s “shockingly reckless” co-sign of Dr. Stella Immanuel, aka “Dr. Demon Sperm,” whose video of her cosplaying as a “frontline doctor” racked up tens of millions of views and was shared by both the president and his son. Dr. Immanuel, who only recently acquired a license to practice medicine in the U.S., has been pushing the ineffective COVID-19 “cure” hydroxychloroquine and believes, among other things, that real-life ailments like tumors and cysts stem from the demon sperm that is accumulated after a demon has sex with you in your dreams.

It’s this and the stories about huge parties that make me wonder about exactly how smart most Americans really are.

There’s a lot more examples of these out there and just to give you a clue. Bourbon Street is still hopping with tourists as bars have started rebranding themselves as “restaurants”. One up the street from me had a huge garage sale of sorts along with its usual drug and booze wares. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like if they start up universities and sports this year.  I’m glad my kids are way out of school for sure because their asses would be home with mine if they weren’t adults.

So, again, hello from my desk chair where I stay firmly planted because I do not want to go out and risk getting this stuff from somebody’s stupid children.  Plus, I’m holding tight to my money because I heard enough Depression stories in my life to know that hoarding makes the economy worse but makes me feel safer on that account too.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?  

Any of this sound and look familiar?