Re-re-opening a bit late

I meant to write a post on California’s re-re-opening day, June 15, and I collected a bunch of images, and then I didn’t write the post. I just want to say that while the state’s re-opened, and things are starting to feel normal, I’m not allowed back at work and won’t be until sometime in September. It’s a NASA thing. And I also need to note that while California’s passing 70% vaccinated, much of the Old Confederacy is sub-40%, so the pandemic’s not even done in the US, let alone the rest of the world.

I still haven’t finished making the pandemic house blog. We decided to redesign to reduce the amount of dirt-and-rock moving by attaching the garage and moving the house to the West setback line. Design’s not fully re-integrated yet.

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.

Re-Opening Amerika

This was the week the Trump administration gave up on fighting the coronavirus pandemic and pivoted to restarting the Economy. Zero states that are reporting infections actually meet the required 14 days of declining cases that was the centerpiece of the previous plan. Instead, as of this week, the NY tri-state region has declining rates, while the rest of the nation is still on the increase.

California’s also running in the rush to reopen, it turns out. LA County amended its public health order starting May 8th. But the LA Times’ daily tracker reports cases continuing to climb. I expect that in 2 weeks from tomorrow, we’ll see new cases start to accelerate again.

LA Times, captured May 7th, 2020.

The IHME model at the University of Washington currently projects 134,475 deaths by August 4th. Today we’re at nearly 77,000 dead. This model has consistently underpredicted, so I’ll go out on not-much-of-a-limb and say 150,000 by August 4. We’re already #1 in deaths worldwide.

It seems to me that the rush to re-open won’t just make things worse for public health. Restaurant reservations fell off a cliff the week before lockdowns started, according to OpenTable reservation data. People stayed home voluntarily. No particular reason to believe enough people will start going out again when the death rate is still climbing. And that’s even worse for the businesses that do try to reopen prematurely. There’s costs to “reopening.”

This April 22, 2020 chart shows the rapid decline during the two weeks after March 3. The California Safer at Home order was release March 17.

Air travel started declining before the lockdowns too, but starting slightly later than the restaurant nose dive.

On the other hand, 30 million people* are now unemployed, so I’m not surprised right-wing politicians are panicking. Their hold on power is their grifting, handouts to the wealthy in exchange for donations and access, and they’re now out of money to give. Instead they’re desperately trying to purge people from the unemployment rolls and cut Medicaid and education. But the Economy isn’t going to suddenly restart because governors, or the Orange Emperor, have said so.

*a little update: 30 million have filed for unemployment, but apparently “only” 20.5 million count as unemployed. The 8 May unemployment report is 14.5%, worst since the Great Depression. One interesting tidbit is that 4 out of 5 people filing were furloughed, not laid off, so there’s a little hope of rapid rehiring. But not much, as I’ve said above.

The Day Oil Prices Went Negative

I knew this was theoretically possible. . .but didn’t expect to ever see it. Basic story seems to be that the US has run out of places to store oil already ordered and on its way. West Texas Intermediate closed the day at -$37.63. . .which is crazy.

Also today the astroturf protests to “reopen America” apparently convinced the governor of Georgia to “reopen” the state this weekend. The current White House guidelines specify that states should see two weeks of falling case numbers prior to removing the social distancing orders, and Georgia’s are still going up. Now they’ll go up extra-fast!

I suppose the real reason for “reopening” is to force the poor people back to work so they’ll be the ones dying off. It doesn’t work that way, though. Lots of wealthier people will get it from their maids, gardeners, children, etc.

Glad I don’t live in a Republican state. Idiocracies every one.