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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

COVID positivity dropping from 16% to 12.7% in one week



Scary thought for today


      As Russia is poised to invade Ukraine, can you imagine what would be coming from the White House if Trump was still President?  Would he still be asking if the US should withdraw from NATO so his friend Putin could invade?    He would still be pressuring Ukraine to find dirt on Hunter Biden.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Closing the barndoor after the horse is out


        Watching the lines for getting tested for COVID-19 at St. Johns Baptist Church the past few weeks has reminded me of the title of this blog.  We seem to be 1 or 2 weeks behind in finding out if we are transmitting the virus.  Testing is an imprecise way to manage the incidence of the virus because many people never get tested in a way that gets recorded.  We haven't been able to be proactive in knowing how to mitigate the spread of the virus.  One way that has been utilized is testing the wastewater in Boston.  This is a more accurate real-time picture of how much virus is in the community without having to test people.  The results show that the level of the virus is dropping rapidly in that community.  Having this real-time data may help officials in making decisions on what community actions they want to impose at an earlier stage than using testing data that delays this information for weeks.  The problem with COVID-19 that has created the pandemic is the asymptomatic spread of the disease.  If you only spread the virus when you were sick the spread could have been easier to manage.  Efforts to identify asymptomatic spread are one of the challenges that need to be explored before the next virus happens.  It would be a great post-pandemic challenge.

Friday, January 7, 2022

False equivalency

   Yesterday I watched a variety of Fox News programs to see how they would explain what happened last year on January 6th.  How do you explain the most violent attempt to overthrow our government in our history?  Even at the start of the Civil War, no one attacked the Capitol.  What I heard many times on Fox yesterday was that the attack on the Capitol was no worse than the attack by elements of Antifa and other looters in many cities.  They replayed the smash and grab mobs that hit stores before Christmas as if they existed because of Democrat policies of decriminalizing the police.  While only a narrow group of liberal groups mistakenly promoted this misnamed policy, Fox portrayed it as a policy broadly supported by Democrats.   Most Democrats have promoted police reform that is geared to more community policing and less militarization of police forces.  If you look at the pictures of both types of violence you might notice that none of the criminals looting stores carried Biden flags as was the case with the Trump rioters.

    It is a stretch to equate common robbery with an attempt to overthrow a government.  But that is all they had to explain the events of January 6th.  The coup in 2024 will not use the failed attempt of 2020 but will use Trump-supported Republican state officials to do in 2024 what they didn't do in 2020.  Look for the mobs showing up at state capitols in 2 years.  They will be able to carry guns in many of those capitals.


    The other theme that was projected on Fox yesterday was making Ashley Babbit into a martyr and Kyle Rittenhouse into a national hero.  The party of Lincoln has fallen to this.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

American Cultism

      During the Cold War, we tried to understand how so many people in the Soviet Union could fall for the lies of their leaders.  Their only media sources were controlled by the government so that the only information they heard were the lies the government wanted to have them hear.  We now have seen how this can also happen in our Country.  We have a range of choices in our media for information but the followers of Trump only listen to those channels that tell the lies that the Trump supporters want to hear.  I have heard from family and friends who support Trump that they have stopped listening to the mainstream media because it is so biased.  What they really mean is that they don't want to hear anything that isn't filtered in the way that supports their beliefs.  They would no more listen to a mainstream media source than they would give up their guns.

     For most of us not in the Trump cult, we wonder how people who are so normal in other ways can be so foolish in this regard.  We examine if we are guilty of only listening to our own biased news sources. While I recognize that I tend to mostly listen to liberal channels like MSNBC, I do occasionally listen to the Fox News channel and read opinion pieces from conservative commentators just to hear what they are saying.  I doubt that Trump supports ever do this.  The only reality that I have come to is that Trump supporters are so threatened by the demographic and social changes that are happening in our country that they are willing to support people like Trump who promise to take them back to a country that is more like what they want---white-controlled.  Make America Great Again is only thinly veiled as Make America White Again. The racism in the Trump support is the strong undercurrent in what is happening.  The first Civil War was about slavery and our current "civil war" is still about white racism. The other Trump issues like control of the borders are just a mask for racism.  Sometimes Trump supporters bring this out in the open like in Charlottesville and the Capitol attack. The Republican Party invited the racists in, now they have to own them.


P.S 1
     The problem of having racists in your political party was one the Democrats had in the past until the 1970s when the racist politicians moved to the Republican Party.  When the racists were part of the Democrat Party they were never the majority as they appear now to control the Republican Party of Trump.  It took a while for this to happen but it is where the Republicans have decided to be.  Not all Republicans are racist but if you are a racist you are a Republican.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Latest information on COVID in Howard County

   From the Howard County Executive yesterday:

 "As of 9:00 a.m. this morning and according to the Maryland Department of Health, Howard County’s positivity rate is 27.8% and our 7-day average case rate is 185. This is a record high and means that about 1 in 4 individuals who test are receiving a positive result. We have seen an increase of 4,121 cases of COVID-19 in the last week, which again is a major increase and is likely to continue increasing. 

Howard County has high vaccination rates with 79% of our total population being fully vaccinated and 58% of residents 18+ have received a booster dose. However, with Omicron’s virility, leaves the unvaccinated at greater risk for hospitalization. Studies show that fully-vaccinated individuals are still at risk of being infected with the Omicron variant. However, vaccines and boosters are working by significantly reducing hospitalization and even death. 

There are currently 44 COVID-19 patients in both the ICU and Acute Care units at Howard County General Hospital. Please remember that emergency rooms are for emergencies only. Seeking testing at an emergency room — without an urgent or emerging medical need — diverts critical, life-saving resources from people who are truly experiencing an emergency."

   The situation at Howard County General Hospital can be found at this link.  The data is more than 10 days old but during that period of time, Howard County General had had the greatest amount of unused hospital beds and ICU beds in the region for general hospitals. Not surprising given our higher vaccination rate.  As usual the more conservative the county the more people in the hospital.  When people value their personal freedom more than their health they and everyone that lives in their community pay a steep price.


Monday, January 3, 2022

A New Year prediction


      It is hard to be accurate on predictions 11 months in advance with our volatile political environment.  Right now the Democrats are feeling that the only time they have to pass any meaningful legislation is before this year's election.  While the gerrymandering of election districts does seem to set the Republicans up to retake the House, the Senate may be another matter.  You can't redistrict Senate elections and something might happen in June that could give the Democrats a chance to not only hold the Senate but expand their numbers in the Senate.  It is possible that the Supreme Court in June could rule that states are allowed to set the rules on abortion. This ruling might cause suburban women to vote Democratic in November's election.  Nothing motivates people to vote than an aggrieved population. This trend would even be accelerated if Republicans nominate far-right candidates in their primaries.  It is possible that next January the Senate could have 52 or 53 Democrats instead of the present 50. This would mean at Joe Manchin would not have the power that he now possesses.  It would still be hard to pass progressive legislation with the Republicans in control of the House but nominations that only have to go through the Senate would have an easier time and maybe the filibuster rule could finally be changed.

    Republicans used a Supreme Court vacancy in 2016 to narrowly elect a Republican president and maybe a Supreme Court ruling could do the opposite in 2022.  Time will tell.