Our Lives, Or A Game Of Golf?

On Friday, the U.S. recorded 204,179 new cases of the coronavirus, and 1,998 deaths in a 24-hour period.  This is tragic, appalling, frightening.  Well, to most of us, it is, though to Donald Trump, the ‘man’ who calls himself ‘president’, it’s just another statistic … ho-hum … where are my golf clubs?

This weekend, the G20 summit, attended by world leaders from across the globe, is being held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has now killed more than 260,000 Americans – by far the largest total in the world. Based on that, one might think that Donald Trump, the outgoing ‘president’, would be extremely interested in the proceedings, but yesterday morning, as the summit was starting at 8:00 a.m., Trump was too busy tweeting to be bothered logging on.  He did, at some point, appear via video link, but not to discuss the pandemic.  Instead, he tooted his own horn, boasting about the US economy and military, and repeated false claims that his government’s Operation Warp Speed was behind both the first two successful coronavirus vaccines, which was a blatant lie. Warp Speed provided funding for development of the vaccine produced by Moderna, but not the Pfizer vaccine, which was developed without US government help. And he also made a strange remark, given that his term of office will end in just 59 days …

“It’s been a great honour to work with you, and I look forward to working with you again for a long time.”

Throughout the short time he spent online with the summit, he was intermittently busily tweeting about the election.  And then, after opening remarks, when it was time to begin the session on pandemic preparedness and response, Trump left and went to play golf.  When questioned about the impropriety of his behaviour and obvious lack of concern, Press Secretary and resident bimbo Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement …

“During his remarks, President Trump highlighted how the United States marshaled every resource at its disposal to respond to the crisis, as well as the unprecedented economic recovery of the United States on a foundation of tax and regulatory cuts, energy independence, and fair trade deals. He spoke about the aggressive actions and safety measures the United States took to protect the vulnerable, pioneer groundbreaking treatments, and develop vaccines and therapies at record-setting speed, which will save millions of lives. President Trump also reaffirmed the importance of the G20 working together for future economic growth and prosperity.”

He may have said all that, but it’s a pack of lies … not one bit of it is true!  Had he actually done any of that, perhaps the U.S. wouldn’t have the highest number of infections and the highest death toll of any nation on the planet.

Worse yet … Trump said that he wants U.S. citizens to be the first to receive vaccinations against coronavirus — a position that is in keeping with his crappy ‘America First’ ideology but contradicts the position of public health experts and other world leaders, who have urged giving priority to front-line health workers and vulnerable populations such as the elderly.  Trump’s is an unconscionably selfish viewpoint and one that I, as a citizen, voter and taxpayer do not support!  I’m sure his rabid base, however, will love him for being willing to allow people to die in other countries.

A lot of good can come from international summits such as this … it is an opportunity to work cooperatively to solve problems such as the pandemic and climate change.  The U.S. needs to be a part of these groups, we need to participate in the international community!  Yet, Donald Trump would sooner isolate us, make us the pariah.  The other nations will move forward with or without us, and the other nations will be more prepared, more organized, and better able to deal with what comes next.  The U.S. will continue to have the highest number of infections and the highest death rate.  It is my hope that once Joe Biden assumes office in 59 days, he will be able to mend some of the fences that Donald Trump has destroyed.

It speaks volumes, my friends, when as our friends and family members are becoming ill, some even dying, the ‘man’ who could help is out on the golf course playing a game.  This is how much our lives mean to him … less than a game of golf.

Rainy Day Snarky Snippets

The dreary gloom outside matches my mood inside, so … It’s time for some snarky snippets!  Granted, most of what I write these days is snark-filled, but still there is more … it’s never-ending.


AR-15 vs pandemic

Junior, aka Donald Trump, Jr., has contracted the coronavirus.  He says he is doing well … too bad.  He also said he will pass the time in isolation battling with the virus by cleaning his collection of guns.  I wonder just how many he has?  And what … does he think if he gets those guns all nice and clean (how did they get dirty, anyway?) that he can just shoot the virus and make it go away?  Or perhaps he’s planning another killing spree with his brother soon …

trump-killer-1


The last party …

Meanwhile, Karen Pence, has invited Congressional Club members to an afternoon “Christmas Craft” at the VP’s residence on December 9th at 1 p.m. Attendees are requested to wear ‘Holiday Attire’, but the invite makes no mention of masks. The event comes as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has discouraged holiday gatherings, and as we have set new records nearly every day for new cases and deaths due to the pandemic. Her husband, Vice-president Mike Pence, is allegedly the head of the White House’s coronavirus task force, which has said indoor gatherings should be limited.  Oh, the irony!  The delusion!  The stupidity!

Karen-Pence-invite

Thankfully, this will likely be the last time she gets to use that title.


Poetic justice …

Merrick-GarlandIn a bit of fun irony, it is reported that President-elect Biden is considering Merrick Garland for the position of Attorney General!  You’ll remember that moderate Garland was President Obama’s pick to fill the Supreme Court seat left open on the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2012.  Mitch McConnell single-handedly refused to allow the Senate to even interview Garland or consider the nomination, claiming the seat should remain open for the next ‘president’ to fill.  Funny, isn’t it, how he changed his tune this year after the death of Justice Ginsburg?  I wonder if Moscow Mitch will find some objection to Garland as Attorney General?  Wouldn’t it be nice if the other republican senators grew a pair and stood up to Mitch … just once?


mnuchinGiving Americans a middle finger

It isn’t bad enough that Trump is certifiably insane and is throwing roadblocks up all over the place to deny President-elect Biden access to information that would allow for a peaceful, smooth transition in January, but his minions are playing the game also.  On-his-way-out treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin has decided to end a variety of programs aimed at helping markets, businesses and municipalities weather the pandemic and asking the central bank to return the funds earmarked to support those efforts.

By ending the programs, Mnuchin is taking away a source of economic support just as the new administration comes into office and as rising virus cases dog the recovery. By asking the Fed to return the money that enables the emergency efforts, he could make it harder for Democrats to restart them at a large scale and on more generous terms.  This is another trumpeter giving We the People a middle finger.  Again.  If this country goes into a deep recession next year, don’t even think of blaming the Biden administration … put the blame where it belongs, in Donald Trump’s court.


The murderer is back on the streets

Remember Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old white supremacist punk who shot and killed two people at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin back in August?  Well, he is out of prison on $2 million cash bond as of yesterday.

Hours after the release, one of his attorneys, Lin Wood, posted this picture of Rittenhouse alongside actor Ricky Schroder.

rittenhouse

“Free at last!!!,” Wood wrote, above the smiling photograph in which the newly freed Rittenhouse is wearing a Black Rifle Coffee Company t-shirt.  Well, not exactly ‘free’, since he faces five felony charges of first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide.  In another tweet, Wood called Rittenhouse “a hero”.  And this may well define just what is wrong with half of this nation today.  When we applaud killing, when we call cold-blooded killers ‘heroes’, then we have for damn sure lost all shreds of humanity.

Personally, I hope Rittenhouse goes to prison and doesn’t come back into society until he is too old and doddery to even walk straight, let along shoot straight.


A final note …

And last but not least, Fox News’ idiot Geraldo Rivera thinks Trump should be honoured by having the coronavirus vaccine named after him.  Personally, I think it would be more appropriate to name the virus itself after Trump, for he has the blood of hundreds of thousands on his hands due to his intentionally inept response.  Yes, the trumptanicvirus … or TTV … sounds about right to me.

Is This Who We Are?

Often, a crisis such as a pandemic brings people together as they fight a common enemy, however the current pandemic has done the exact opposite in the U.S.  The reason it has driven us even further apart, of course, is that the ‘man’ in the Oval Office, the ‘leader’ of this nation, told people not to worry, that the coronavirus would be gone soon with minimal damage.  He then went even further, calling it a ‘democratic hoax’ and telling people not to bother with such things as wearing masks or social distancing.  Half the people in this country listened, instead, to the scientists and medical experts, but the other half listened to Trump and are now putting everyone’s lives at risk.

What follows is from a column in The Washington Post, written by Amber Elliott, a county health director in St. Francois County, Missouri, about the abuse she has taken for simply trying to save lives. It is lengthy, and I initially intended to use only a few excerpts, but as I re-read it, every word seemed important.  Please take a few minutes to read her words and consider her query:  Is this who we are?


‘This is how we treat each other? This is who we are?’

Amber-ElliottI don’t really know if I should be talking about all of this. It makes me worried for my safety. I’ve had strange cars driving back and forth past my house. I get threatening messages from people saying they’re watching me. They followed my family to the park and took pictures of my kids. How insane is that? I know it’s my job to be out front talking about the importance of public health — educating people, keeping them safe. Now it kind of scares me.

But people need to know what’s going on. It’s happening all over the country, and it’s not acceptable. I know we can do better. We have to do better.

I don’t base our whole response to this pandemic on my own opinion. That’s what makes the backlash so confusing. This job is nonpartisan. I’m not political in any way. I go off of facts and evidence-based science, and right now, all the data in Missouri is scary bad. We only have about 70,000 people in St. Francois County, but we’ve had more than 900 new cases in the last few weeks. Our positivity rate is 25 percent and rising. The hospital is already at capacity. They’ve basically run out of staff. We can’t keep up. It’s an uncontrolled spread. I have these moments when it feels like I’m a nurse at the bedside, and my patient is dying, and I’m trying every possible intervention to save them. More social distancing. More masks. More contact tracing. Warnings and more warnings. What else can we try? But in the end, it doesn’t matter how much you do. Nothing will work, because it almost seems like the patient is resisting your help.

I get the same comments all the time over Facebook or email. “Oh, she’s blowing it out of proportion.” “She’s a communist.” “She’s a bitch.” “She’s pushing her agenda.”

Okay, fine. I do have an agenda. I want disease transmission to go down. I want to keep this community safe. I want fewer people to die. Why is that controversial?

We weren’t set up well to deal with this virus in Missouri. We have the worst funding in the country for public health, and a lot of the things we’ve needed to fight the spread of covid are things we should have had in place 10 years ago. We don’t have an emergency manager. We don’t have anyone to handle HR, public information, or IT, so that’s all been me. We didn’t get extra funding for covid until last month. I’m young and I’m motivated, and I took this job in January because public health is my absolute love. It doesn’t pay well, but would I rather be treating people who already have a disease or helping to prevent it? That’s what we do. We help take care of people. At one point this summer, I worked 90 days straight trying to hold this virus at bay, and my whole staff was basically like that.

We hired 10 contact tracers to track the spread, starting in August, but the real problem we keep running into is community cooperation. We call everyone that’s had a positive test and say: “Hey, this is your local health department. We’re trying to interrupt disease transmission, and we’d love your help.” It’s nothing new. We do the same thing for measles, mumps, and tick-borne diseases, and I’d say 99 percent of the time before covid, people were receptive. They wanted to stop an outbreak, but now it’s all politicized. Every time you get on the phone, you’re hoping you don’t get cussed at. Probably half of the people we call are skeptical or combative. They refuse to talk. They deny their own positive test results. They hang up. They say they’re going to hire a lawyer. They give you fake people they’ve spent time with and fake numbers. They lie and tell you they’re quarantining alone at home, but then in the background you can hear the beeping of a scanner at Walmart.

I’ve stayed up a lot of nights trying to understand where this whole disconnect comes from. I love living in this county. I know in my heart these are good people, but it’s like we’re living on different planets. I have people in my own family who believe covid is a conspiracy and our doctors are getting paid off. I’ve done press conferences and dozens of Facebook Live videos to talk about the real science. Even with all the other failures happening, that’s the one thing we should be celebrating: better treatments, nurses and doctors on the front lines, promising news about vaccines. But the more I talk about the facts, the more it seems to put a target on my back.

“We’re tracking your movements.” “Don’t do something you’ll regret.” “We’ll protest at your house.”

The police here have been really great. The elementary school says they’re watching over my kids and they’re on high alert. I have a security system now at my house. I locked down my email and took all my family photos off of Facebook, but you start wondering: Is this worth it? Could anything possibly be worth it?

And then it got worse this fall around the whole masking issue. Our hospital was filling up, and they asked if we could do more in terms of prevention and masking. We put out a press release. We went to businesses and did trainings. We kept encouraging people to mask up, but it wasn’t working. Only about 40 percent were wearing masks, so the health board decided to push for a mask mandate. Of course I was for the idea. Of course it is the scientific, smart thing to do. But at the same time, I kept thinking: Is this going to blow up my life?

We held a public meeting in the auditorium. I knew it was going to be a circus. I gave my kids an extra hug that night and said the things you never want to have to think about. I asked the city: “Are you requiring masks in this building? Because this is a public health meeting, and that’s important.” They said yes. But, of course, the first person that walks in the door says: “I go to church here in this same building, and they don’t make me wear a mask.” So that ended up being an ordeal, and they decided to allow him in. I asked him: “Can you please, please, please social distance?” He told me no. It wasn’t: “I can’t.” It was: “Hell, no. I won’t.” It went downhill from there.

We had more than 100 people show up, and most of them spoke in opposition. We do get a lot of thank-you’s and support for our work, but those aren’t the loudest voices, so sometimes they get drowned out. Our medical providers were at the meeting in their white coats, and three of them stood up to speak on behalf of masks. These are doctors and nurses who risk their lives to treat this virus. They are shouldering the burden of this, but the crowd wouldn’t even let them talk. They booed. They yelled. Some of them had come in with guns. They were so disrespectful. I was trying to take notes for our board, and my hands started shaking. Why aren’t you listening? Why do you refuse to hear from the people who actually know about this disease and how it spreads?

The board decided to go ahead with the mandate anyway, but part of the community revolted. We did a survey a few weeks later, and mask-wearing had actually gone down by six percent. We required it, and people became more likely to do the opposite. How do you even make sense of that? We like to believe we take good care of each other here. This is rural Missouri. We pride ourselves on being a down-home community that sticks together, and now this is how we treat each other? This is who we are?

I don’t go out in public very much anymore. It’s work and then back home. I don’t want to be recognized. I don’t want my kids to see any of that hate. The one place where I had to draw the line was that my son plays baseball, and honestly, his games are the most normal I’ve felt all year. But then, a little while ago, somebody took a photo at a game of me with my daughter. We were outside and social-distanced, so we weren’t wearing masks. The photo got posted all over social media, and it was the usual comments. “Bitch.” “Communist.” “Hypocrite.” My daughter has had some anxiety. My son said to me: “Mom, why does everybody hate you?”

I went in to work the next day, and one of my nurses came to see me. She’d just had one of those nasty interactions on the phone, and she said: “I’m struggling right now. I need one of your little pep talks.” I told her: “I’m sorry, but I just don’t have it. I’m tired of this. I’m so exhausted.”

I’ve been living with that steady hum of tension and fear for almost a year, and I just can’t do it anymore. I keep saying my family is my number-one priority, so at some point I have to keep my kids safe. I decided to put in my notice earlier this month. My last day is this Friday.

I’ve already accepted another nursing job. I’m not abandoning the community. I’m going to keep fighting this pandemic, but I’d rather not say anything much more specific. I don’t want that target on my back. I’m ready to be anonymous.

A Dangerous Psychopath … In Congress!

gohmertU.S. Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas first came onto my radar in May of 2016 for his insane proposal that in the event of an asteroid colliding with earth, we would need to establish a space colony and he patently said that LGBT would not be welcome on the new colony.  Gohmert proposed a …

“… space ship that can go, as Matt Damon did in the movie [The Martian], plant a colony somewhere, we can have humans survive this terrible disaster about to befall, if you could decide what 40 people you put on the spacecraft that would save humanity, how many of those would be same-sex couples? You’re wanting to save humankind for posterity, basically a modern-day Noah, you have that ability to be a modern-day Noah, you can preserve life. How many same-sex couples would you take from the animal kingdom and from humans to put on a spacecraft to perpetuate humanity and the wildlife kingdom?”

As I was researching Mr. Gohmert for that post, I found that in 2010, he put forth the theory that there was an insidious plot afoot involving so called “terror babies.” He claimed he had uncovered a plot involving terrorists sending pregnant women into the US to birth their ‘America-hating children’. The mothers and their kids then return home where, the congressman says, the children “could be raised and coddled as future terrorists”— and later, “twenty, thirty years down the road, they can be sent in to help destroy our way of life.”  It seems to me that it is the likes of Mr. Gohmert who are attempting to destroy our lives.

Then earlier this year (July), he came onto my radar again when he contracted the coronavirus and claimed to have gotten the virus from … wait for it … wearing a mask!  He eschewed the mask-wearing for several months, and claimed it was only once he gave in to the pressure and started wearing a mask that he contracted the virus.  Worse yet, after receiving his diagnosis, he went in person to his office, called his staff together in a room, and shared not only the news, but also his germs with them.

The very next day, I found out that the week before, he had introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives calling on the House to bar all Democrats from the chamber because of the party’s historical ties to slavery and racism unless the party is renamed.  Shouldn’t somebody point out to this fool that it is the republicans who are fighting to maintain their racist, homophobic, xenophobic way of life?

And today, ol’ Louie is once again blipping across my radar, causing me to grit my teeth and scratch my head.  According to the Dallas Morning News, Gohmert spoke to the Trump supporters gathered outside the White House on Saturday, parroting Trump’s claims that the election was “stolen”.  Nothing new here, for at least half the republicans in Congress are paying lip service to that false claim.  But Louie Gohmert took it a bit further, and in my view his speech was incitement to violence.

First, he claimed that Trump won the popular vote in 48 of the 50 states … so patently false as to be laughable.  Then he went on to say that only about 30% of the colonists supported the revolution in 1776, but then he moved on to the Egyptian revolution of 2011 when Egyptians demanded the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.  17 days later, it was announced that Mubarak resigned as president, turning power over to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).  Gohmert said …

“They rose up though all over Egypt … if they can do that there, think of what we can do here.”

Take a look for yourself at the conspiracy theorist/lunatic in action …

In my 2016 post, I ended  by begging the people of Texas not to re-elect this nutcase … but they didn’t listen to me and they re-elected him in 2016, again in 2018, and again this month, thus he has served thus far for fifteen years, and short of the unforeseeable, will serve for at least another two years.  Perhaps it is time that we make a mental health assessment requisite for all members of Congress?  I have to ask … how can anybody think it is a good idea to have this lunacy running our government?  Oh wait … it’s the same people who thought electing a television clown to the presidency was a good idea.  Our nation is beginning to feel more like a freakshow than a democratic republic.  R.I.P. United States?

What a real hero looks like

I promised you a ‘good people’ post, but I found myself struggling to put my dark mood aside long enough to produce one this week. Instead, I am sharing an uplifting post about a woman who is truly a credit to the human race, and whose generosity knows no bounds. Thank you, Keith, for this post, and for helping me find a ‘good people’.

musingsofanoldfart

I have written before about this hero primarily for her book gifting program for young kids, which is now an international program called “Imagination Library” (see second link below). Her name is Dolly Parton. I heard she could write songs and sing, as well. Yet, Parton just received some new acclaim for helping fight COVID-19.

In an article in The Hill by Judy Kurtz (see first link below) called “Dolly Parton among donors behind Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine,” her efforts are revealed. Here are a few paragraphs from the article.

“Dolly Parton can add another achievement to her résumé: helping to fund research for Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine.

The ‘9 to 5’ singer was one of several donors listed Monday as part ofthe announcement that Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine candidatewas 94.5 percent effective in an interim analysis. The ‘Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund’ was named as a supporter in the footnotes…

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 “So the Old World Slipped Away Never to Return Again…”: A Look Back at my Prediction for 2020

The usual Wednesday ‘good people’ post is delayed this week, but worry not … it will be here. Meanwhile, I would like to share with you Padre Steve’s latest post, a look back at his predictions from a year ago and some truths we need to ponder about the lessons of history. Thank you, Padre — excellent analysis, as always. I, too, wish you had been wrong way back in December 2019. Sigh.

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I wrote this article on 13 December 2019. It was pretty pessimistic even then without the Coronavirus 19 Pandemic which has killed over a quarter of a million Americans and infected over 11 million more, over a million in the past week. Over course that was not included in this article. The title then was  “So the Old World Slipped Away Never to Return Again…”: the Coming Disorder of 2020. Damn I hate being right, and we still have 49 days left in the year and President Trump seems intent on destroying the country using a scorched earth policy and attempting to provoke violence as the Proud Boys and other White Supremacist and self-proclaimed “militias” which are nothing more than heavily armed right wing vigilante and terrorist groups unrecognized by any law and operating outside of the Constitutional understanding of militias. Now we are…

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The GOP is Bat**** Crazy

Jeff is angry and so am I. In fact, any person with a functional brain should be! He is spot-on with this post. Thank you, Jeff, for saying what most of us are thinking.

On The Fence Voters

I’m a little angry today, so please excuse the following post, for it might offend some people. Sorry in advance.

The GOP is the gift that keeps on giving. Since media outlets declared Joe Biden President-elect, I wondered how it would affect my writing in this space. After all, for much of the past two-plus years, the White House’s current occupant provided lots of material – the majority of which was mind-numbingly despicable and shocking.

But then I figured out that even after Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20, 2021, we will have one political party that continues to establish itself as the party of kooks, whack-jobs, science deniers, and conspiracy theorists.

In other words, I’ll have plenty to write about. I suppose I owe them a thank you?

Seriously, though, as Joe Biden said yesterday in his press conference when talking about the current GOP’s obstruction and…

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Trump vs Pandemic — No Winners

I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess, that Donald Trump has not so much as mentioned the pandemic, despite the fact that we are at an all-time high for new cases and deaths.  It shouldn’t come as a shock that he is more interested in perpetuating his own brand of fraud to attempt to stay in power in a dictatorial fashion, rather than focusing on the people in this country dying, in part because of his neglect.  It is only further proof that Trump does not care one whit about any of us … republican or democrat, male or female, Christian or atheist … he doesn’t hate us, he just simply doesn’t care about us.  Eugene Robinson said it best in his column in The Washington Post yesterday …


Amid the worst of the pandemic, our mad king rages only about himself

Eugene-RobinsonOpinion by 

Eugene Robinson

Columnist

This is becoming like Greek tragedy. The nation is on fire with covid-19, cases and hospitalizations are soaring to unthinkable new highs, and our leader does nothing but rage and moan about his own punishment at the hands of cruel fate.

If it is true that “those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad,” then President Trump is finishing his shambolic term in office as Mad King Donald. Cumulative U.S. covid infections leaped from 10 million to 11 million in just six days, signifying uncontrolled spread. Hospitals are crowded with nearly 70,000 covid-19 patients — more than ever before — and medical systems, especially in the Great Plains and the Mountain West, are wavering under unbearable strain. The morgue in El Paso is so overwhelmed with bodies that inmates at the county jail there are being pressed into service as helpers, pending arrival of the National Guard. Yet Trump spent Monday morning on Twitter, pitifully howling “I won the Election!” about a contest he clearly and decisively lost.

We have reached the point in the pandemic that epidemiologists warned about months ago. They begged Trump to do everything he could to push infection rates as low as possible before autumn arrived and cooler temperatures forced people indoors, where the virus is transmitted much more easily.

Rather than heed the scientists, Trump listened only to the sirens of his own vanity and ambition. He marginalized the experts of his coronavirus task force, declining even to meet with them for the past several months. Instead, he found faux experts whose advice was more to his liking, chief among them Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist — not trained or experienced in fighting epidemics — who on Sunday called on the people of Michigan to “rise up” against a three-week curb on social gatherings announced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

Trump wanted the economy up and running, with everything back to the way it was, in time for the election. His insistent pushing toward this unrealistic goal disastrously turned the adoption of sensible public health measures into a political wedge issue. Republican governors who wanted to remain in Trump’s favor had to accept his framing of the issue: Restrictions were bad, “freedom” was good. Those governors’ constituents are now paying a terrible price.

A responsible president would have used his megaphone to urge all Americans to wear masks and practice social distancing; would have understood and explained how full cooperation with burdensome shutdowns earlier in the year could allow some institutions, including schools, to return to more normal functioning in the fall; and would have valued patience and resolve over instant gratification.

And a president who was compos mentis never would have made the nonsensical claim that the United States had more covid-19 cases than other countries only because we did more testing. Rather, a president grounded in reality would have insisted on a vastly expanded, nationwide testing program as a way to hasten our safe return to offices, stores and restaurants.

The Trump administration did one thing right by pushing hard for rapid development of vaccines. Two drug companies — Pfizer and Moderna — have announced highly encouraging results from formal trials, and the federal government’s commitment to purchase millions of doses means these vaccines, assuming they are proved to be safe, will be available in record time.

But Moncef Slaoui, co-chair of Trump’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine effort, said Monday that, under a best-case scenario, roughly 20 million doses of the two vaccines will be available per month, beginning in December. And initially they will go only to high-risk groups. There are 330 million Americans, meaning that most of us may remain vulnerable to covid-19 for some time.

The United States is once again averaging more than 1,000 deaths a day. A smaller percentage of covid-19 sufferers perish now than did back in the spring — doctors and nurses know much more about how to treat severely ill patients — but this remains a deadly disease. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who works at your local hospital. They’ll tell you.

President-elect Joe Biden has no magic wand to make covid-19 go away. But he does understand that no attempt to return to normal life can succeed unless we first get the virus under control, and that controlling covid requires following the advice of public health professionals.

At the moment, however, there is nothing Biden can do. The Mad King, clinging to the fiction that he has not been deposed, will not even allow federal officials to begin sharing data with Biden’s incoming coronavirus team. The theme of his failed reelection campaign should have been “Make America Sick Again.”

A Few Words Found …

You’ll remember yesterday afternoon when I told you I couldn’t find my words … I think I found some of them, but it seems this batch is smaller than I had on Sunday.  At any rate … I shall see what I can make with the words I do have and perhaps by tomorrow the rest will turn up somewhere.


On a personal note …

My granddaughter Natasha, aka Miss Goose, gave me her Christmas list last week and the very first thing on the list was … a donation to Black Lives Matter.  This kid … she’s 25 now … she just makes me so damn proud of her.  I feel tears welling every time I look at that list.  The next item on the list, of course, is a new computer (that I just ordered, but don’t tell her), followed by a couple of shirts and a long list of books.  But how many people do you know who start their wishlist with a donation to anybody, let alone such a worthy cause?  I just had to give some kudos here to a young woman with a heart of pure gold.


Oil.  Alaska.  Wildlife.  Asshole.

It would appear that Donald Trump plans to leave as his ‘legacy’ a 21st century “scorched earth” policy as he leaves the White House, hopefully forever.  Numerous things have come onto my radar that he and his nasty band of cronies are attempting to enact prior to January 20th.  For starters, the “Trump administration”, aka Donald Trump, announced yesterday that they are planning to rush through the sale of leases to oil companies that would achieve Trump’s long-sought goal of allowing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

The Wildlife Refuge … REFUGE, defined by Merriam-Webster as “a place that provides shelter or protection”.  Animals, some on the brink of extinction, would be murdered in order for oil companies to make more profit!  According to Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League …

“This lease sale is one more box the Trump administration is trying to check off for its oil industry allies.  But it is disappointing that this administration until the very end has maintained such low regard for America’s public lands, or the wildlife and Indigenous communities that depend on them.”

Disappointing?  No, it goes well beyond disappointment.  Disappointment is when your favourite restaurant is out of fish ‘n chips … this is infuriating, unconscionable, rage-inducing!

The Arctic refuge is one of the last vast expanses of wilderness in the United States, 19 million acres that for the most part are untouched by people, home instead to wandering herds of caribou, polar bears and migrating waterfowl. It has long been prized, and protected, by environmentalists, but Trump has boasted that opening it to oil development was among the most significant of his efforts to expand domestic fossil fuel production.

We. Don’t. Need. The. Damn. Oil.  Somebody please, turn a few dozen polar bears loose on this moron and let them have him for supper!  Truth is, it isn’t and never was about the U.S. needing that oil – it is and always was about the fossil fuel industry and their profits … men who already sit on billions of dollars of wealth, while some of us struggle to put food on the table.  DAMN you, Donald Trump … just DAMN YOU.


How to make the pandemic even worse … hire Scott Atlas!

In just under a week, the United States went from 10 thousand cases to over 11 thousand, and we are on track to hit 12 thousand within a few days.  Yesterday, we had 162,149 new cases, the day before 146,544.  We lead the world in both coronavirus cases and deaths.

Scott Atlas, who I have mentioned before, is the highly un-qualified senior advisor on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, a position that was once occupied by the very well-qualified Dr. Anthony Fauci.  Whereas Dr. Fauci’s entire career has been dedicated to the study of viruses and immunology, Atlas is a neuroradiologist … nothing to do with communicable diseases. Whereas Dr. Fauci cares about human life, Atlas cares only about licking Trump’s boots.

bootlicker

In the absence of federal guidance, states’ governors are taking the virus seriously and doing what needs to be done to keep the people in their state safe … or as safe as is reasonably possible.  One such governor is Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer who, concerned by the recent spike in cases announced Sunday a three-week pause on indoor dining, in-person learning and several other activities.  So, what did Scott Atlas do?  Rather than support the governor in her effort to keep people safe, he tweeted …

“The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp.”

Freedom matters … indeed it does, but somehow, being free once your dead, or lying in a hospital bed hooked up to a multitude of machines, somehow pales in comparison to being alive.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Monday that Atlas’ call to action represented a “grave concern” and warned that it could provoke violence in the state …

“These public health orders are absolutely necessary to preserve human life.  But once again, here you have members of the Trump administration that are so much more hurtful than they are helpful.”

Atlas, a physician with no expertise in infectious diseases or epidemiology, has won favor in the White House in recent months by advocating against coronavirus restrictions and downplaying the disease’s threat.  He has also publicly attacked Anthony Fauci, accusing the nation’s top infectious disease expert of stoking fears about the pandemic for political purposes ahead of the presidential election earlier this month.  One of Trump’s worst choices, one who did not require Senate confirmation, and one who ought to be stoned in the public square for his hideous disregard of our lives, along with his boss!


Well … puff puff puff … it seems I found enough words to make a post, yes?  And now, I think to soothe my own jangled psyche, I will go find a song for this morning’s music post.

Missing Words …

I simply cannot find my words today.   I don’t remember where I left them when I went to bed last night … er, this morning … and I’ve called and whistled for them, but no words are forthcoming.  However, John Oliver does not have any problem finding his, and he has graciously agreed to fill in for Filosofa today with words that are wiser and more informed than mine would have been, even if they had come out of hiding.

Seriously, though … this clip, while it is nearly 18 minutes long, is well worth watching as he assesses the current situation here in the U.S. and quite effectively puts to rest the rumours and conspiracy theories that are being spread by Trump and his nasty cohorts even faster than the coronavirus pandemic.  I do hope you’ll take the time to watch this from start to finish … it is well worth the time … plus there is a glint of much-needed humour.