Pandemic progress and Not

I spend so much time in front of my computers now I find it harder and harder to spend *even more* time in front of it to blog or, for that matter, to play World of Warcraft. But here goes.

Data for LA County, January 31, 2021.

LA County is finally seeing its cases drop. Deaths should turn down next week–there’s a consistent 3 week lag between cases and deaths. Last week Newsom released the state-wide stay-home order and we’re back under the 4 tier system. Mammoth reopened rentals instantly. Our Mammoth place booked for all of February already.

Vaccination rates were improving last week finally. The state overthought the ethical priorities and underthought the logistics of large-scale distribution, IMHO. And had no help from the Feds.

From the LA County vaccination dashboard.

Meanwhile the MAGAt fuckwits and antivaxxers have started trying to shut down the vaccination sites. LAPD let them shut down the big Dodger Stadium site over the weekend. Given the willingness of LAPD to brutalize Black Lives Matter protesters just a few months ago. . .I was pissed. We watched John Ford’s Grapes of Wrath last week. In the movie the police and sheriffs were part of the growers’ system of oppression. Nothing’s changed in nearly a century.

We had to cancel last week’s Mammoth trip to do the soil sampling in Swall Meadows due to snow–3 feet in Swall Meadows, 10 feet on the mountain. Courtney the Lost Girl went with friends and the mountain was a mob scene. Hour long lift lines, etc. Glad I missed it. We’ll leave this Wednesday and do the sampling on the new property Friday, Feb. 5. Escrow closes on the 11th so we’re cutting it a bit tight but that’s life.

My 3D printer has stopped working. It can’t find the 3rd calibration point (back right). It finds the first two no problem, but it sees nothing on the 3rd. It’s. . .bizarre. I’ve no idea what to do.

The Pronterface portrait of calibration point #3. Nothing where a target should be even though the probe is passing directly over the target. . .

The Bernie meme went on and on and on. . .here’s one last one. Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted it so I guess it’s ok to put here! His staff set up a merch store instantly and donated the profits to a Vermont charity. Good on them.

Third Wave! And, Krugman finally notices Merchants

From New York Times, obviously.

We’re well into the much-expected third wave of the Coronavirus pandemic. California isn’t actually doing badly compared to the rest of the nation, but LA County is trending the wrong way, unfortunately.

Yesterday’s big news was that the White House chief of staff acknowledged that they’ve given up on the pandemic. That triggered today’s Krugman column, which links to Merchants of Doubt. Yay! It only took denial of mass death to get him on board.

Election day is one week from tomorrow, and I wish I had confidence in the results.

We were going to go up to Mammoth last week but it’s been continuously smoky from the Creek fire. We spent last weekend cleaning out Alex’s room so it can be turned into my next office. It’s very echo-y now. I may have convinced The Mate to buy a Ford Bronco Sport when Ford starts to actually make them. At the moment, we only have my Model 3–she sold her truck to Alex. Long story on that! But due to the out-of-control pandemic, we never actually go anywhere so not much need for two cars, let alone the 3 that we had.

We’re going to Newport Beach for my birthday, and then we’re going to Mammoth for T-day.

The Madness of King Donald

The barrage of insanity over the last couple of weeks has been incredible. I guess the pace to start is Don the Con’s taxes. The New York Times got 20 years of them somehow and published an unbelievable expose. He owes more than a billion dollars, including more than $400 million to one or more mysterious overseas lenders, and pays almost no taxes. His first year as president, 2017, he paid $750. Most of the last ten years he’s paid none at all. He somehow got a $70 million refund in 2011 that’s ‘under audit,’ somehow, 9 years later. And he even managed to implicate Ivanka in tax fraud. It’s a remarkable story.

That story didn’t hold the news cycle long. The first debate with Biden was on Tuesday, 29 September, and it was a catastrophe for Ole Donny Boy. He was in fully aggressive bully mode, shouting over Biden and moderator (Faux New’s Chris Wallace), and drove away a lot of his own voters. He gave the white supremacists a shot in the arm by giving the Proud Boys a direct order. The insta-polling afterwards had Biden’s lead increase to double digits. I couldn’t watch it myself. The Mate watched, but I couldn’t tolerate him more than 15 minutes. I went and read instead.

But that disastrous performance didn’t dominate the news cycle more than a day. Ex-Trump aide and probably current mistress Hope Hicks tested positive for the coronavirus literally the next day. She’d travelled with Trump and gang on Air Force One to the debate while symptomatic. At least that’s what the initial reports said. Then the Mad King tested positive, three Rethuglican Senators who hadn’t been at the debate did, and it became very clear that the actual superspreader event had been the Federalist Society’s coming out event for Trmp’s Supreme Court nominee. She’s a christofascist from a cult called People of Prayer, and had been on the Notre Dame faculty before being appointed to the 7th circuit 3 years ago.

The Donald wound up being rushed to Walter Reed on Marine 1 to receive his socialized medicine, stayed three days and basically forced his way back out. He’s back at the White House as I write this, as more and more of official Washington gets quarantined. The White House hasn’t been performing contact tracing as they’re supposed to, and they barred CDC from doing it too.

It’s worth noting that what typically happens with this disease is that people start to feel better, go back to work, and then relapse and die. The relapse-and-die part happens after the 2nd week of infection, and we just started week two. So this may not end well for the Mad King.

It already hasn’t ended well for more than 210,000 other Americans. Fuck him.

The First Wave of Reclosing

Reopening has, as I expected, gone so super well that Reclosings are now firmly under way. LA County, which never actually met the Reopening criteria it distributed, has been told to close bars and nightclubs and so on and is also closing the beaches for the 4th of July weekend. Don’t know why on the beaches. There’s no evidence of outdoor spread. Seems stupid and counterproductive. But the bars and nightlife stuff should never have been Re-opened. And now they’re Reclosed in 7 counties.

Hospitalizations are soaring. Oops.

The mate and I went to the Huntington Sunday afternoon with friends for the first time since the safe at home order began. Huntington’s allowed to reopen the gardens for nonmembers on July 1st, with limited timed tickets, etc. Friend Ann says the school reopening plan will basically mean 6 days of home schooling, 4 days in-classroom. This would be interrupted anytime a student turns up positive with a two week quarantine. That’s gonna be chaos in the fall.

It’s not just California. Texas rushed to Reopen and is now Reclosing. So far it’s just bars closed and restaurant capacity reduced 50%. So far the state hasn’t done what Newsom did and require masks in public. I expect that will change too.

Arizona’s approaching full capacity of its hospitals too and Reclosed bars, restaurants, gyms and apparently river tubing. They are short of PPE in hospitals again and are starting to ration care by life expectancy etc. Death panels.

Florida is, of course, the dumbest state. Cases soaring but continuing re-opening, except for beaches. The Republican National Convention will be in Jacksonville, which just invoked its own mask requirement. I bet they ignore it.

The #trumpdeathtoll to date.

The EU is not going to let Americans in. Wise move. Facebook is finally starting to suffer advertising loss over its continued refusal to police hate speech and health disinformation and of course its continued promotion of Mad King Donald. The stock market is soaring while the unemployment situation is very confusing. We still have sky-high weekly unemployment filings but BLS says most states have seen employment increases.

I can’t keep up

So it’s been only 11 days since the last post that I didn’t actually post on time. The Mate and I were supposed to be road tripping back east to see the parents but that fell through. With reopening going badly Mother viewed it as too much risk. That means probably next year before I get there again. Which sucks.

Don the Con’s Tulsa rally was delayed by a day to avoid Juneteenth after all. The campaign allowed unlimited tickets for a 19k seat venue. They claimed nearly a million people were going to the rally but only 6200 actually showed. Turns out the Kpop and TikTok crowds punked them. They scarfed up the tickets and thereby contaminated the campaign’s dataset. You’d think the local GOP would be able to fill a stadium that size anyway but apparently not. 🙂

Coverup Barr used the cover of the Tulsa rally to fire another US attorney in NY, a court-appointed AG for the Southern District of New York. He claimed on Friday night (19th I think) that the AG was resigning but he hadn’t; apparently his intent was to appoint the current chairman of the SEC, a Trump loyalist with no prosecutor experience and who happened to be at. . .Deutsches Bank. Big surprise there. Apparently the House Judiciary committee will finally subpoena Barr. Talk about your crooked mob lawyers.

Re-Opening’s going swimmingly well. The US passed its previous high number of COVID-19 cases, with major surges in Texas, Arizona, and Florida. More than half the states are now showing rapid spread again according to

In LA County, cases are up but hospitalizations are relatively stable so far. Statewide hospitalizations are increasing though. Newsom ordered masks worn throughout the state when around other people, overriding Orange County, which forced out its public health officer in order to lift her mask order. Kinda backfired.

Texas is quickly becoming the worst state, with cases and hospitalizations both doubling. Their governor became a mask advocate today. Funny that.

Economic data suggests people aren’t getting on airplanes still but are traveling locally instead. Restaurants are still seeing far less traffic. And “only” 1.5 million more unemployment claims were filed last week.

A plague of covidiots

We took a weeklong visit to our Mammoth Lakes vacation place prior to the resumption of rentals. The town was largely still closed down, but we encountered enough people to see that maybe half take the pandemic seriously. Rentals start next weekend, though we may keep our place off the market. We came back to LA on Saturday, just in time for a heat wave.

Utterly unsurprisingly, the pandemic is surging again in a bunch of places: Arizona, Texas being the biggest, but I guess the tally is 21 states over all. The Grifter-in-Chief has moved the RNC National Convention to . . .Jacksonville, FL! Had to shrink it, and apparently his lawyers don’t think the pandemic is a hoax, as they’re requiring signed liability release forms.

Perhaps it’s worth noting here that one noted TV show, the Good Place, has treated Jacksonville as the armpit of the US for three said seasons.

Also it’s probably worth noting that Orange County has dropped its mask rules, ignoring all evidence to the contrary. Good thing I have no reason to ever venture down to the Fourth Reich.

The Black Lives Matter narrative has taken another sudden shift, this time to tearing down statues. Mostly it’s Confederates getting yanked off their pedestals, but a few Columbus’ have lost their heads and even a random English slave trader got dumped in the canal. NASCAR has banned the Confederate flag, and so has the US Navy. Elizabeth Warren apparently has put a rider on the defense appropriations bill requiring the Army to change the names of bases named for Confederate soldiers within 3 years. She’s daring The Donald to veto it. 🙂

Did I mention Herr Fuhrer is holding his first campaign rally in months down in Tulsa, site of a 1921 massacre, on Juneteenth? No masks required, of course. You just can’t make this shit up.

NB: Written on June 11th but not posted in a timely manner. Sorry to my future self.