U.S. Capitol Mobbed

Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

At about 2:30 PM on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, unarmed protesters mobbed the U.S. Capital building as the Electoral College vote was being counted.

Pro-Trump protestors breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, violently clashing with law enforcement as lawmakers were gathered inside to formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in November’s presidential election.

Source: APnews.com

The fighting came shortly after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud.

UPDATE 1/9/2021

Trump riots: Democrats plan to introduce article of impeachment

Source: BBC

Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats plan to introduce an article of impeachment – the charge of “incitement of insurrection” – on Monday, January 11, 2021, just 9 days before Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Happy Pandemic New Year

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this one says a lot about 2020 and Americans in the midst of a global pandemic.

“Confetti falls on a mostly empty Times Square in New York. This year, a limited live audience of first responders and essential workers and their families were allowed to watch the ball drop from a secure area. Corey Sipkin/AFP/Getty Images.” Source CNN

I’ve been tracking COVID-19 news all year. America was the worst at spreading the disease – over 20 million cases and 340,000 deaths – but we made a vaccine (2 in fact) in record time. The first vaccine was administered just 9 months after the WHO declared COVID-19 was a global pandemic (March 11, 2020). Now America is the slowest country to administer the vaccines. Something like 1.3 million doses have been delivered, but only a fraction of that have been administered; inoculation requires 2 doses.

President Tests Positive for COVID-19

Just 32 days until the election, and 2 days after the first presidential debate of 2020, the President and the First Lady both test positive for COVID-19. The President tweeted the announcement late Thursday (10/1/2020) night.

Administration officials were surprise it hadn’t happened sooner.

CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang reported that administration officials had expressed surprise for weeks that the virus hadn’t been detected among White House officials, given Mr. Trump’s own unenthusiastic embrace of measures recommended by senior health officials.

The president has often flouting his own administration’s guidelines on social distancing, mask-wearing and not gathering in large groups.

Source: CBS News

Stock markets around the world reacted negatively to the news; risk aversion set in.

Later in the morning, Biden and his wife, tested negative for the virus.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, tested negative for coronavirus on Friday morning, the Bidens’ doctor said, following President Donald Trump’s disclosure that he had tested positive just days after the first debate.

Source: CNN

Terrible Trifecta

On Friday, September 18, 2020, US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dead at age 87 – just 45 days before Election Day – thus leaving a power vacuum in the highest court of the land. (There are now 5 conservative and 3 liberal justices.) Thus the stage is set for a terrible trifecta: a Supreme Court battle, a contentious presidential election, and a worsening (COVID-19) pandemic.

COVID-19 Is Just A Virus

I’m sharing this from a cousin (Facebook). He’s a lawyer and a smart man.


I shared this from a friend. Excellent read:

Chicken pox is a virus. Lots of people have had it, and probably don’t think about it much once the initial illness has passed. But it stays in your body and lives there forever, and maybe when you’re older, you have debilitatingly painful outbreaks of shingles. You don’t just get over this virus in a few weeks, never to have another health effect. We know this because it’s been around for years, and has been studied medically for years.

Herpes is also a virus. And once someone has it, it stays in your body and lives there forever, and anytime they get a little run down or stressed-out they’re going to have an outbreak. Maybe every time you have a big event coming up (school pictures, job interview, big date) you’re going to get a cold sore. For the rest of your life. You don’t just get over it in a few weeks. We know this because it’s been around for years, and been studied medically for years.

HIV is a virus. It attacks the immune system, and makes the carrier far more vulnerable to other illnesses. It has a list of symptoms and negative health impacts that goes on and on. It was decades before viable treatments were developed that allowed people to live with a reasonable quality of life. Once you have it, it lives in your body forever and there is no cure. Over time, that takes a toll on the body, putting people living with HIV at greater risk for health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, diabetes, bone disease, liver disease, cognitive disorders, and some types of cancer. We know this because it has been around for years, and had been studied medically for years.

Now with COVID-19, we have a novel virus that spreads rapidly and easily. The full spectrum of symptoms and health effects is only just beginning to be cataloged, much less understood.

So far the symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Coughing
  • Pneumonia
  • Chills/Trembling
  • Acute respiratory distress
  • Lung damage (potentially permanent)
  • Loss of taste (a neurological symptom)
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Mental confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Strokes have been reported in some people who have COVID-19 (even in the relatively young)
  • Swollen eyes
  • Blood clots
  • Seizures
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Rash
  • COVID toes (weird, right?)

People testing positive for COVID-19 have been documented to be sick even after 60 days. Many people are sick for weeks, get better, and then experience a rapid and sudden flare up and get sick all over again. A man in Seattle was hospitalized for 62 days, and while well enough to be released, still has a long road of recovery ahead of him. Not to mention a $1.1 million medical bill.

Then there is MIS-C. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling extra tired. While rare, it has caused deaths.

This disease has not been around for years. It has basically been 6 months. No one knows yet the long-term health effects, or how it may present itself years down the road for people who have been exposed. We literally do not know what we do not know.

For those in our society who suggest that people being cautious are cowards, for people who refuse to take even the simplest of precautions to protect themselves and those around them, I want to ask, without hyperbole and in all sincerity: How dare you?

How dare you risk the lives of others so cavalierly. How dare you decide for others that they should welcome exposure as “getting it over with”, when literally no one knows who will be the lucky “mild symptoms” case, and who may fall ill and die. Because while we know that some people are more susceptible to suffering a more serious case, we also know that 20 and 30 year olds have died, marathon runners and fitness nuts have died, children and infants have died.

How dare you behave as though you know more than medical experts, when those same experts acknowledge that there is so much we don’t yet know, but with what we DO know, are smart enough to be scared of how easily this is spread, and recommend baseline precautions such as:

  • Frequent hand-washing
  • Physical distancing
  • Reduced social/public contact or interaction
  • Mask wearing
  • Covering your cough or sneeze
  • Avoiding touching your face
  • Sanitizing frequently touched surfaces

The more things we can all do to mitigate our risk of exposure, the better off we all are, in my opinion. Not only does it flatten the curve and allow health care providers to maintain levels of service that aren’t immediately and catastrophically overwhelmed; it also reduces unnecessary suffering and deaths, and buys time for the scientific community to study the virus in order to come to a more full understanding of the breadth of its impacts in both the short and long term.

I reject the notion that it’s “just a virus” and we’ll all get it eventually. What a careless, lazy, heartless stance.

Memorial Day Ribs 2020

It’s Memorial Day weekend once again, and it’s time to make bbq ribs. This year is unique. It’s been 10 years since I started this tradition (yay), and we are in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic (boo). Last year, you may recall, I made some good ribs. This year, the rain forecast for Sunday and Monday is threatening to wash out the smoker portion of our rib day so I’m cooking them on Saturday.

Ingredients

(Meat)
2 slabs (~6 lbs) of baby back ribs
2 Shiner Smokehouse sausages

(Rub)
4 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder

(Sides)
Potato Salad
Corn on the cob

(Condiments)
Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce
3 A.M. Bobby Que Original barbecue sauce [my local favorite]
Sliced pickles
Sliced white onion
Sliced cheddar cheese

Cook

After 10 years I’m getting better at this part. Start with thawed (refrigerator temperature) ribs. Take the membrane off the bone and cover in a rub 1-2 hours before cooking. Cook uncovered ribs (bone side down) on a cooking sheet in the oven at 250° F for 2 hours. Wrap them with heavy duty aluminum foil, and cook for another 2 hours. Finish them uncovered with bbq sauce (in the oven or in a 250° F smokey grill) for up to 30 minutes; check them every few minutes.

Corn on the cob is easy: shuck, boil for 6 minutes, plate with butter and salt.

It’s Barbie’s tradition to cook the potato salad, and she’s not divulging any secrets today. She said it has potatoes, boiled eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, relish, and onion.

I didn’t cook the sausage – 4 lbs of ribs seemed like enough – and it was.

Results

The potato salad had perfectly sized pieces of potato, and it was delicious. The corn on the cob was sweet, crisp and good. The ribs were tender and yummy (a little over cooked). Since I got the ribs on different days in May I got two brands: Indiana Kitchen (2.36 lbs) and Kroger Natural Ribs (2.47 lbs); couldn’t tell the difference when cooked.

Coronavirus Vaccine Candidate Shows Promise

With ever mounting deaths, scientists have been under pressure to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

Moderna, Inc., reported that they have developed a COVID-19 vaccine that is safe. Phase I testing (45 subjects) appears to elicit the kind of immune response capable of preventing the disease. There were no no serious side-effects after the first trial. Source: NPR

Phase II can start right away, and the company hopes to start phase III in early July.

Category 5 Hurricane Iota 2020-11-16

The 2020 Hurricane Season

The predictions for the 2020 hurricane season were for an above-average hurricane season. Philip Klotzbach predicted 16 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major (Cat 3+) hurricanes this year; updated to 24 named storms, 12 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes. Hurricane season usually runs from June 1 through November 30 – although given the predictions it may extend beyond those boundaries.

Continue reading

Prediction for 2020 Hurricane Season

This year, Philip Klotzbach, hurricane researcher at Colorado State University, tweeted we should expect an above-average season because of the lack of #ElNino. They predict 16 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major (Cat 3+) hurricanes; 69% chance at least one major hurricane will hit the US.

UPDATE 8/5/2020

Researchers from Colorado State University issued an update to the 2020 hurricane season forecast and now indicate it will be one of the most active on record. Now they predict 24 named storms, 12 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes.

Source: WMBF News