June 21, 2021

Virus status update

Blue indicates better trend. Red indicates worse trend.

In the US, the weekly average of new cases per capita is 69% below April  2020. The US has 19% of the world's cases. The percent of global deaths occurring in the US is 15.7%.

The global per capita new cases is lower than in October through May. The global death  rate is 2.2%. The current global case rate is 67% higher than in April 2020.

To keep numbers low, Trump wanted to dump early pandemic patients at Guantanamo Bay

One-third remain convinced of 2020 election fraud

Looks like nobody wants to buy Stephen Miller's condo

When God turned right

From our overstocked archives

Sam Smith, 1998 - Sometime between the 1960s and the 1980s God became a conservative. This is not tosay that God wanted to become a conservative, only that the great perception processor in the sky that has assumed so many of the Lord's functions in recent years declared it so. If one wants proof that God is not inclined towards vengeance, the lack of divine retribution for this heavenly hijacking by Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, et al (with an         media as unindicted co-conspirators) is evidence enough. It is even suggestive of possible wimpish tendencies upon high. A bolt or two of lightning during a C-Spanned news conference would have been much more reassuring.

When I was growing up, heaven was clearly on the side of the Democrats. We knew that Republicans went to church but they were sanctimonious prigs who on the other six days of the week were given to robbing the poor and taking candy from babies. The idea that God might actual be one of them was beyond comprehension. Now all that has changed. Not only is God a conservative but the meanest son of a bitch in town, slapping down welfare mothers with one hand and pot smokers with the other, while simultaneously closing factories, censoring the Internet, drug testing anything that burps, and making sure rapees pay for their carelessness by giving birth to its evidence.

This transformation of morality into an entitlement for the powerful and a punishment for the weak is, of course, a parody of piety. In truth, today's ubiquitous self-righteousness only barely conceals a moral degeneration of our culture more indicative of terminal illness than of an awakening. Morality has, for the most part, become just one more cynical gimmick with which to sell salvation, promote videotapes or save a politician's butt.

IRS denies tax exempt status for Christian organization with strong pro-GOP activity

Residents of more than 20 cities receiving $500 a month universal basic income payments

After gay waiter gets stiffed on tips, activist raises $10,000 for alternative sex group

 


June 20, 2021

VIRUS STATUS UPDATE

Blue indicates better trend. Red indicates worse trend.

In the US, the weekly average of new cases per capita is 70% below April  2020. The US has 19% of the world's cases. The percent of global deaths occurring in the US is 15.8%.

The global per capita new cases is lower than in July through May. The global death  rate is 2.2%. The current global case rate is 43% higher than in April 2020.

The Record Temperatures Enveloping The West Are Not Your Average Heat Wave

Multiculturalism means living with folks who aren't as smart about you as you are

Sam Smith - As the virtuous drive towards more multiculturalism grows increasingly powerful, a predictable but largely ignored problem raises its head, namely the more contact we have with those of other cultures the greater chance that we, or they, will say or do something found dumb or offensive. 

The cancel culture is one example of this at work and, like other cases, it ironically has a divisive rather than unifying effect on those involved. And complaining about "white supremacy" is hardly the best way to build a cross-ethnic relationship. The oddity is that, in the name of a more united community, we can increase the anger. 

This shouldn't surprise us. If you have varied cultures, you're going to have varied language, habits, values and beliefs. Handling differences that are the result of ignorance rather than prejudice, however, can not be usefully reduced to anger or dismissal. Rather they are an assignment for education and friendly prodding. 

Which is one reason I find it so strange that we are emphasizing teaching the evils of past ethnic relations without corrective educational attention to the ways they could be better. 

Similarly, the use of the wrong pronouns in speaking of transgender  folk should not be put on the same target list as, say, hatred of gays. Rather, ways should be found to gently correct the terminology rather than scold the speaker in question. 

Our failure to even talk about this is in part a reflection of the decline of community in our society.  One of the characteristics of a working community is the ability of its members to get along with each other even if they have social or political differences. As life has become more individualized, even such a traditional habit can be lost. 

If we were to better separate lack of cultural knowledge from hatred, we would better our relationship with others. It's worth at least a try.

Maine becomes first state to pass legislation to divest from fossil fuels

 Link corrected

Maine's mom and pop store approach to marijuana sales

Never-Before-Aired James Baldwin Interview From 1979

$500 payments tested in upstate NY

June 19, 2021

Vatican Warns U.S. Bishops: Don’t Deny Biden Communion Over Abortion

Teaching kids social responsibility – like how to settle fights and ask for help – can reduce school bullying

Over 80% of Democrats, Republicans and independents agree that war on drugs has failed

The GOP war on democracy

Poll: Oregon voters more pro white nationalism

 Statesman Journal - Nearly four in 10 Oregonians strongly or somewhat agree with statements that reflect core arguments of white nationalist and other far-right groups, according to a new statewide survey...

Specifically, when posed similar questions in 2018, 92% of those surveyed agreed with protecting and preserving America’s multicultural heritage. In 2021, that agreement had lowered to 86% of respondents. In 2018, 31% believed that America had to protect or preserve its White European heritage, compared with 40% in 2021....

About 44% of Oregonians age 18 to 29 surveyed indicated they were satisfied with democracy in the country. Satisfaction was at 62% with people 65 and older. 

Record Temperatures Enveloping The West Are Not Your Average Heat Wave

Trump Commerce Boss Wilbur Ross Gained $53 Million in Private Funds While In Public Office

June 18, 2021

8 Cities Rewilding Their Urban Spaces

Illinois governor signs law expanding curbside voting, permanent vote by mail

Stupid Stuff

Catholic bishops Friday voted to create guidelines on the meaning of communion, a move that could be an early step towards limiting the serving of the eucharist to President Biden and other politicians who support abortion rights,” the Washington Post reports.

Political Wire - A new Economist/YouGov poll among those who voted for Donald Trump shows Vladimir Putin with a 19% approval rating, while President Joe Biden is approved by just 9%.

Federal Judge Orders D.C. To Provide Special Education For Students In Jail

Lifelong Exercise Adds Up to Big Health Care Savings

GOP war on voting may not work

 Guardian - Voting experts now say the restrictions being approved in Republican-led states may not help the party’s chances in future elections, and in some cases, the laws may even prevent their own supporters from going to the polls...

A recent study conducted by a team at the Public Policy Institute of California found that, while making mail-in voting easier did increase overall turnout, it did not necessarily result in better electoral outcomes for Democrats. In fact, many models indicated that easy access to mail-in voting resulted in slightly better outcomes for Republican candidates.

This may be in part because older voters, who lean Republican, are more likely to vote by mail. According to census data, nearly 54% of Americans aged 65 or older cast their ballots by mail last year.

Connecticut lawmakers legalize recreational marijuana

Rhode Island Makes Financial Literacy A Required Class For All High School Students

P.S.

 Sam Smith - One of my grandchildren just turned 13 and it go me thinking that there was something in common with being in your 80s like me and being a teenager, namely you don't know how to do it, nobody shows you how to do it, and nobody likes how you do it.

June 17, 2021

Munchin' with Manchin in the old days

Sam Smith - Go back a few decades and you could get a Joe Manchin to vote for your public works real easily. Joe Biden would just assure him that the first six bridges to be repaired would be in his state and that the president would be there to celebrate the completion of the first job.

But now, thanks to Citizens United and other changes, presidents and senators don't think like that. The big question is where the money is coming from for the next campaign. Money crossing hands is far more important than people crossing bridges

Supreme Court sides with Catholic adoption agency that turned away same-sex couples

2020 was the deadliest gun violence year in decades. So far, 2021 is worse

Word: Illegal immigrants

May be an image of one or more people and text that says 'Governor Kristi Noem @govkristinoem South Dakota won't be taking any illegal immigrants that the Biden Administration wants to relocate. My message to illegal immigrants... call me when you're an American. Remi Bald Eagle @RemiBald I'm going to retweet this only to say you do not know how much this comment breaks my heart. You are on our and It seems like our problem is love and your problem is hate...'

 

Supreme Court Saved Obamacare Again

Latinas hardest hit by job loss as economy recovers

Ranked choice voting in Alaska

 Washington Post: Alaska has eliminated party primaries entirely. Instead, all candidates from all parties will appear together on one primary ballot, and the top four candidates regardless of party advance to the general election.

Court fines baker $500 for refusing to make gender transition cake

Lake Mead is about 143 feet below "full"

1 in 4 couples opt to never have kids — and are just as happy

Wjy the Democrats should take the public works deal

Punchbowl News: “Biden should take it because he has a lot of stuff to get done. And the most efficient and best way to get the most stuff done is to get some stuff done all the time, so you have less stuff to do.... Anytime anyone offers you $1 trillion, just take it. Seriously. Biden lived through the Obama era, when Hill Republicans were looking to cut money each week… Republicans want to give you $1 trillion with no tax increases and no deficit spending. Take the deal.”