All the Makings of a Shitstorm

What’s going on and how did we get here? Violent protests have been raging across the country for a week after George Floyd, a black man, 46, was killed (murdered) by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Monday, May 25, while Chauvin was trying to subdue Floyd with his knee on Floyd’s neck.

The independent autopsy [released June 1] says Floyd died of “asphyxiation from sustained pressure” when his neck and back were compressed by Minneapolis police officers during his arrest last week. The pressure cut off blood flow to his brain, that autopsy determined….The officer had his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds in total and two minutes and 53 seconds after Floyd was unresponsive, according to the criminal complaint against Chauvin, who faces charges in the death.

Source: CNN

Today, President Trump stirred the pot.

An active duty military police battalion consisting of 200 to 250 military personnel is now in the process of deploying to Washington, DC, and could be in the nation’s capital as soon as tonight, three US defense officials tell CNN.

Source: CNN

And he put the rest of the United States on notice. He threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807.

Declaring himself “your president of law and order,” President Donald Trump vowed Monday to return order to American streets using the military if widespread violence isn’t quelled

Source: CNN

But, the world is paying attention and they support the protests 100%.

Global Anger Grows Over George Floyd Death, and Becomes an Anti-Trump Cudgel
The criticism thundered from the streets of Berlin, London, Paris and Vancouver, to capitals in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

Source: NY Times

Meanwhile, Governor Greg Abbott deployed the Texas National Guard to major cities in Texas, and today he declared a State of Disaster across all counties in Texas.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared a State of Disaster for all Texas counties after violent protests endangered public safety and threatened property loss and damage. This declaration gives the Governor the ability to designate federal agents to serve as Texas Peace Officers.

Source: News 4 San Antonio

I don’t see this ending well for anyone.

Oh yeah, Texas also had a record number of COVID19 cases for one day on Sunday: 1,949. And, there’s a tropical depression brewing off of the Yucatan peninsula.

Update 6/8/2020

Thousands pay tribute to George Floyd at public viewing in Houston

Update 6/10/2020

Even Texas A&M has felt the hatred of protesters. The Sul Ross statue was vandalized overnight with a rainbow-colored wig and graffiti – someone sprayed the words BLM, ACAB, and racist (and graphic depictions of the male sexual organ) on the statue with red paint.

Lawrence Sullivan “Sully” Ross was a Brigadier General during the Civil War and commander of the Texas Cavalry Brigade. After the war, he served as a Texas state senator, governor of Texas and, ultimately, president of the troubled Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, which eventually became Texas A&M University.

Source: KBTX.com

Organizers of the local Black Lives Matter group posted on Facebook that no one in their group did this.

Since the George Floyd protests started there has been a petition going around to remove the statue. Petitioners and protestors plan a peaceful protest on Saturday June 13, where they’ll walk from the administration building to the statue. Counter protesters (Aggies who want to keep the statue) say they’ll be a the statue on Saturday as well.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

This new virus is called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or Sars-CoV-2. The disease it causes is called Covid-19. Source: Wall Street Journal. This is a serious disease – “a potential pandemic.” They think it originated in a (animal) market in Wuhan, China, on December 1, 2019. As of March 3, 2020, the WHO reports that there are 92,315 confirmed cases – 3,131 deaths; 60 cases in the US and 6 deaths.

The WHO and the CDC are monitoring the disease very closely, and they are taking measures to minimize the spread of the disease – no thanks to President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, his appointed “White House coronavirus response coordinator.” Source: Politico.com

Countries like China (Wuhan specifically) have been shut down; affecting the global economy. Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, South Korean, Japan, and Iran have also been hit hard. There’s talk of a global recession if this goes on for too much longer. (President Trump says it will be over by April, because of the warmer weather.)

A big health concern is the massing of people: any place or event where people gather is considered dangerous. The Summer Olympics, scheduled to open in Tokyo, Japan, on July 24, are in danger of being cancelled – or at best delayed for months. “March Madness” basketball tournaments might be played without fans. The Major League Baseball Opening Day is scheduled for March 26; they’re monitoring the situation.

Update 3/15/2020

Last week the WHO declared COVID-19 is a pandemic. Things are getting worse in the United States. Tomorrow, we’re starting to work-from-home and shelter-in-place for at least 1 week and possibly up to 8 weeks. It is already affecting the US economy, and we are looking at a global recession. Mnuchin dropped the “we could reach 20% unemployment” bomb, and the Fed cut rates to 0.0%. Smaller restaurants and retail shops in my town – and every city and town – are closing; health departments are mandating bars & restaurants close dining rooms. Some restaurants are adjusting – drive through, curbside, home delivery, etc.

Update 4/3/2020

Coronavirus map 4-2-2020
Coronavirus map April 3, 2020. Source: Johns Hopkins University.

As of now there have been 1,076,017 cases worldwide and 58,004 deaths (JHU map); 5,368 cases in Texas and 93 deaths (Texas DSHS). We’ve been ordered to continue to shelter-in-place until April 30.

Many States have postponed their Primaries until Summer. The 2020 Summer Olympics has been postponed until July 2021.

Update 4/15/2020

We are still stay-at-home/work-from-home, but there are signs that we will begin to “restart the economy” in phases in May.

Countries around the world are working to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus pandemic. Flattening the curve involves reducing the number of new COVID-19 cases from one day to the next.

Source: Johns Hopkins University.

To date there have been 2,006,513 cases and 128,886 deaths worldwide (JHU map); 14,624 cases in Texas and 318 deaths (Texas DSHS).

Update 5/6/2020

Beginning in May, the President and the states’ governors were looking for ways to jump-start the economy – with coronavirus cases still increasing – and risking more American lives.

President Donald Trump fixed his course on reopening the nation for business, acknowledging that the move would cause more illness and death from the pandemic but insisting it’s a cost he’s willing to pay to get the economy back on track.

Source: Bloomberg.com

As of today there have been 3,688,635 cases worldwide and 258,051 deaths (JHU map); 1,205,138 cases in the United States and 71,078 deaths; 33,369 cases in Texas and 906 deaths (Texas DSHS).

On April 27, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott issued additional Executive Orders (GA-18) to continue the process of reopening the state of Texas: easing restrictions on onsite dining in restaurants (still no bars) , retail shops, movie theaters, malls, museums and libraries, and one-man shops.

Texas A&M President Michael Young basically told everyone to continue to work-from-home until until further notice (probably through May, maybe through June), but he – and Chancellor Sharp – want to have campus open for the Fall 2020 semester; all summer classes/activities will be online.

Update 5/19/2020

As of today there have been 4,829,232 cases worldwide and 319,031 deaths (JHU map); 1,508,957 cases in the United States and 90,369 deaths; 48,693 cases in Texas and 1,347 deaths (Texas DSHS).

On May 18, 2020, Governor Abbott issued an Executive Order (GA-23) to expand reopening the state of Texas: easing restrictions on onsite dining in restaurants (50% capacity), bars (25%), tattoo parlors, child-care, gyms (25%). At the end of May more restrictions will be lifted.

Update 6/4/2020

As of today there have been 6,542,851 cases worldwide and 386,581 deaths (JHU map); 1,852,561 cases in the United States and 107,191 deaths; 68,271 cases in Texas and 1,734 deaths (Texas DSHS).

Update 6/21/2020

As of today there have been 8,827,934 cases worldwide and 465,051 deaths (JHU map); 2,260,972 cases in the United States and 119,762 deaths; 107,735 cases in Texas and 2,165 deaths (Texas DSHS).

Update 7/5/2020

As of today there have been 11,304,534 cases worldwide and 531,659 deaths (JHU map); 2,841,124 cases in the United States and 129,689 deaths; 191,790 cases in Texas and 2,608 deaths (Texas DSHS).

Cases have been “spiking” in Arizona, Texas, and Florida, after these states began opening up in June. On Thursday (July 2) Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order (GA-29) requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions.

Update 7/8/2020

Texas has once again broken its single-day record for new coronavirus cases. The state reported 10,028 new cases Tuesday [July 7] as officials warned that hospitals are reaching capacity. … The state also set a new record for single-day deaths, with 60.

Source: CBS News

Meanwhile, we are still working from home (week 17), summer classes are 100% online, and we’re in limbo looking at current case numbers and trying to plan for the future. The current plan is to have 50% online and 50% face-to-face classes in the fall with classes starting earlier on August 19, and ending November 24. Class days will be longer too, 8 am – 8:35 pm, and conference rooms will be used as classrooms.

Update 7/18/2020

As of today there have been 14,106,753 cases worldwide and 602,657 deaths (JHU map); 3,647,715 cases in the United States and 139,266 deaths; 307,572 cases in Texas and 3,735 deaths (Texas DSHS).

Update 8/1/2020

As of today there have been 17,614,426 cases worldwide and 679,987 deaths (JHU map); 4,563,445 cases in the United States and 153,320 deaths; 438,293 cases in Texas and 6,576 deaths (Texas DSHS).

Update 8/15/2020

As of today there have been 21,394,639 cases worldwide and 770,112 deaths (JHU map); 5,360,277 cases in the United States and 169,475 deaths; 528,838 cases in Texas and 10,268 deaths (Texas DSHS).

Students are back in College Station – “locust” buying everything in stores and queuing up in restaurants – without masks – before the start of the semester on Wednesday (8/19). This is not going to go well.

Update 9/9/2020

As of today there have been 27,617,194 cases worldwide and 898,456 deaths (JHU map); 6,330,316 cases in the United States and 189,733 deaths; 662,575 cases in Texas and 13,792 deaths (Texas DSHS).

Update 9/24/2020

As of today there have been 31,920,652 cases worldwide and 977,311 deaths (JHU map); 6,935,414 cases in the United States and 201,920 deaths; 742,913 cases in Texas and 15,372 deaths (Texas DSHS).

In Brazos County there was a spike after school started almost a month ago, but the number of active cases has come down to 672 as of yesterday. Despite the numbers, Texas A&M plans to host Vanderbilt this weekend for the first of 10 football games this season. The SEC scheduled conference-only games for each of its 9 universities.

Update 10/2/2020

Breaking News: 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.

As of today there have been 34,448,691 cases worldwide and 1,025,315 deaths (JHU map); 7,318,110 cases in the United States and 208,485 deaths; 777,255 cases in Texas and 16,142 deaths (Texas DSHS).

Update 10/17/2020

As of today there have been 39,405,715 cases worldwide and 1,105,505 deaths (JHU map); 8,050,506 cases in the United States and 218,602 deaths; 843,487 cases in Texas and 17,375 deaths (Texas DSHS).

Five Presidents Visit Aggieland

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter will attend the event at Reed Arena at Texas A&M University. Source CNN.com

They’ll be in town Saturday to bolster donations and support for hurricane relief. Bush 41 wanted to do something bigger than a anniversary party for his library – it was his idea to have a concert and start a fund raising campaign – One America Appeal.

The weather isn’t cooperating. There is a 30% chance of rain during the day increasing to 90% chance at night.

UWEB Lightning Talk Notes 09-04-2009

What little I wrote down is here. There is a couple good links.

Robert: who makes user experience design

Stephanie: WordPress content import plugin.

Also see: wordoff.org (UPDATE: WordHTML)

Rob: SVG

Plain text (XML). It can be manipulated by JavaScript (DOM).

Monty: Standard module format

Also see: Yahoo Theather

At the end we had an open discussion where we talked about good resources to learn technologies of the web.

One byproduct of the talk was a resource for handling javascript in IE7 at http://dean.edwards.name/IE7/

For more information about the Lightning Talks or other topics the uWeb group talks about go to http://uweb.tamu.edu/

Get While the Getting Is Good

Even if you quit a university president’s position, it’s all good because there’s always the golden parachute.
From theeagle.com: Severance details released

Murano’s severance package included being paid her salary of $425,000 while she is on leave through June 2010. She’ll also be paid $295,000 by the end of the week in exchange for agreeing to not file a lawsuit against the system or its officers.

And the other shoe drops…
From the same article:

The special regents meeting kicked off with a presentation that painted a dire economic forecast for Texas A&M University and higher education in general, including continued tuition increases, funding shortfalls in the next legislative session and possible reductions in other revenue sources such as investment earnings.
The presentation — made by B.J. Crain, associate vice chancellor for budgets and accounting — said that Texas A&M University’s total operating budget increased 66 percent from 2000 to 2008, from $553 million to $918 million. The spike was significantly higher than the cost of inflation, she said.

The administration (the BOR, Presidents Murano and Gates) over spent and now it’s time to tighten the belt. Of course combining functions with their flagship university allows the System to save money, but it’s a crutch. They may lower cost slightly and keep income steady, but next year, everyone will be worse off when the Texas Legislature cuts the budget. Long live the president and the office of the president.

Galveston’s Loftin named interim A&M president

From The Eagle: Galveston’s Loftin named interim A&M president

The scary part:

“Before going into closed session, Frank Ashley, vice chancellor for academic affairs for the system, discussed what’s been a mystery since the agenda was posted Friday – “shared services opportunities.” System officials declined at the time to explain what that meant, saying Ashley would explain later.

On Monday, he discussed combining the offices at the system and the flagship university in the following areas: research administration; business services; marketing and public relations; facilities, planning and construction; human resources; information technology; and training – all to improve efficiency.”

That about covers every non-academic area at the university.

Crisis in College Station

And now for the rest of the story…. Burkablog published an op-ed piece on texasmonthly.com about President Murano’s resignation. It’s a “I heard it from a friend who heard it from someone else” type of story, but it has some truth to it.

The original content was from Jon Hagler, class of 1958, Distinguished Alumnus in 1999, published in The Eagle newspaper, “A&M in danger of never achieving its vast potential“, Monday, June 15, 2009 6:05 AM.

Most important crisis at A&M since Earl Rudder.
…this crisis is about whether the faculty, staff, students, former students and the broad and diverse community that make up Texas A&M University will allow a handful of politically motivated persons who do not understand their fiduciary duty either to the institution or to the citizens of the state to take over this wonderful, heavy-duty public university – this sacred public trust.

If they are successful, Texas and its citizens can kiss a unique American institution goodbye. It will have no chance of ever achieving its vast potential.

Ironically an Earl Rudder reference was made during Dr. Murano’s 2008 Convocation speech:

In our more recent history, these changes included the admission of women students and making participation in the Corps of Cadets optional instead of mandatory, under the leadership of the great James Earl Rudder in the late 1960s. It is hard to imagine today, but President Rudder’s position was not accepted by everyone. In fact, he was actually “booed” during his speeches. And if you CAN imagine booing the president of Texas A&M during a speech … well, I ask that you keep that to yourself. Still, the fact remains that his leadership and commitment to doing the right thing helped him position our university to becoming one of only two flagships among the public universities in Texas.

So, looking back at what she has said and done, I think Dr. Murano was positioning herself to follow Rudder’s lead rather than the good ol’ boy network. And that don’t fly in Texas.

Fwd: Helicopter Crash

The original email notification from CodeMaroon:

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Helicopter Crash
Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2009 17:15:38 -0500
From: CodeMaroon@TAMU <e2campus@omnilert.net>
Helicopter crash on Duncan Field. No students injured. No current danger. Please stay area from the area.

The Eagle newspaper was on the scene:

Eagle photo from Dave McDermand
An army UH-60 Blackhawk crashed soon after take-off on the Texas A&M campus Monday afternoon. One US Army officer was killed and four others were injured.

Day of the weird

Colbert Disses Texas A&M:

…I sit down with Michael Farris, Chancellor of a christian college know as “God’s Harvard,” which makes Harvard God’s Texas A&M….

WFT?! Of all the schools out there he disses A&M? So, what, A&M is easy and cheap?

More Bizarre Stuff:
Sticking with weird stuff. I saw this and thought it was funny. Note where people’s hands have polished the brass.

Teach for America provides equal education

Here is the noble idea…

The 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress reported that fourth-graders growing up in low-income communities are already three grade levels behind high-income community peers. About 50 percent of them won’t graduate high school, and those who do will perform on average at an eighth-grade level. Only one in 10 of those will graduate college.

Teach for America, started in 1990 as an offshoot of an undergraduate thesis by a Princeton student, is a non-profit organization focused on improving the equality of education in the U.S. It is a two-year program that sends college graduates into public schools in low-income communities in order to insure that all students are receiving educational opportunities, regardless of socioeconomic status.

But then we get the quote from the Texas A&M branch…

“What we need to do is redistribute the economic wealth,” said Jonathan Chatham, one of the five campus campaign coordinators for the Texas A&M Teach for America branch. “We see this as a moral imperative. People who earn more get a much better education and there’s just no justification for that at all. Every school district should have equal opportunities for an excellent education.”

Now that sounds like socialism to me. “Redistribute the economic wealth.” I think (I hope) he meant to say redistribute the knowledge capital in this country.

I grew up poor – product of a broken home, mom struggling to make ends meet – but I graduated college with a BS in Nuclear Engineering because I wanted it. Because I earned it. Because I learned how to learn.

Then there is this back words thought, “People who earn more get a much better education.” I thought it was the other way around: get the education and you will earn more. I’m living proof of that. So are all of my colleagues.