From Rope to Threads

Well, as much as I’d rather post something more comical, scientific, or spell-bounding intriguing… this quick post will be simply a matter-of-fact report (rant) on current goings-on with me, those around me, and stuff in the U.S. If you were wanting/needing a lift-me-up blog-post, best you go somewhere else this time. I’m a realist as well as a hopeful optimistic realist. 😉

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Dallas, TX has very recently experienced over one week of triple-digit temperatures. Today’s expected high (yesterday’s) was a cool frigid 93º Fahrenheit. A happy respite from the 103-106 temps the other week. Most of those days we were also under National Weather Service “Excessive Heat Warnings” and “Air Quality Alerts.” The latter is basically a warning of high levels of ozone air pollution from man-made machines, factories, and refineries to go along with methane and CO² up there. This also includes dust/dirt in lower strata from heavy construction equipment, state-sanctioned (roads & highways) and/or private-sector contractors everywhere in the DFW Metroplex. That pollution is distinctly worse during windy days.

I watched this afternoon, about 1 or 2pm, out my front window three (3) Dallas Police Officers (all white), in two squad-cars, and one of the onsite property managers remove two different residents from my building who were apparently delinquent on their (daily?) monthly rent. One resident, a male perhaps in his late 30’s, packed up everything he could into his massive backpack and rolling suitcase, more things in bags under one arm, and walk out to the street. He then walked down the street until he was out of sight. He may have continued on to the busy 6-lane intersection a half-mile away, under a state highway bridge, with some 6-8 other homeless people (6-8 on a daily basis that is) holding cardboard signs walking out into and around stopped vehicles.

The other residents, a couple perhaps in their late 20’s, began packing up their little beat up used compact car—which was already quite full with tons of other belongings—eventually evacuated the property under watchful eyes of police and property management. As they left, their vehicle’s exhaust was visibly blue smoke; oil leak(s). I doubt their car would pass the state inspection laws in order to obtain liability insurance, required by law to own and operate a vehicle, assuming of course they owned it and possessed current, valid liability insurance minimums. The last 6-8 months I’ve witnessed these sorts of evictions take place. What is glaringly obvious are the vast numbers of homeless people everywhere on our busy street corners and intersections the last 12-24 months. It’s impossible to not notice.

This past week I’ve tried to help this neighbor three doors down. About 2-weeks ago his compact vehicle had a major breakdown. Jumper cables didn’t help. A tow-truck came to haul it off to some repair shop. His only source of income is his job as a Lift/Uber driver. He pays his rent week to week, for obvious reasons. Yesterday I drove him 8-miles to the shop his car was being worked on. It’s in a “sketchy” part of town at a very rundown business building of many old used vehicles scattered everywhere outside. They fill-up the make-shift parking lot.

When he returns to my car where I’m waiting—to make sure his car REALLY IS fixed/ready—with an obvious down-trodden face he tells me There’s a snag, a hangup. Can you wait a bit longer? I tell him of course. Ten minutes later he returns with all of his belongings to go straight to work, and tells me the part that was sent to them had stripped threads. He soon told me with an upset tone that he’s sure THEY (the shop) fucked-up the refurbished replacement part. I must take him back home… without his vehicle (for income). This foul-up has now cost him another full-day of income, making it the 5th day without making money. Today, to help him out at least a tiny bit, I go to the management office and pay for one night on his room/place. That’s all I could afford given my own strapped situation.

I literally just received the THIRD Amber Alert in as much as 7-9 days! This doesn’t count the significant increase in Amber Alerts we’ve had in Texas so far just these last 7.5 months! They’ve been going off noticeably more ever since COVID-19 quarantines and businesses and schools shutdown. By the way, that also includes most daycares for working Moms or Dads.

As many of you know, I am a sports fan, particularly a soccer/football fanatic. If any of you in the U.S. are sports fans as well, you know painfully that ALL of our professional and collegiate sports seasons have either been cancelled, postponed, or undetermined. As a result and for the first time in my entire life, I have become a semi-fan of the South Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), watching a few games at 4:35am… because most of this spring and summer there has not really been any other sports viewing-choices right now or there hasn’t been in the U.S. for several months! And I’ve NEVER liked baseball until my son got into it seriously at age 10 over nine years ago. Pfffft, KBO? Seriously!?

If any of you have followed the current American MLB shortened season going on, its season and teams are an organized mess because of COVID-19 infections popping up in at least 4-5 different team’s club houses at different times. The New York Yankees just had 1-2 games postponed because of positive CV-19 tests. More postponements or cancellations might be happening. The entire league’s 60-game season it is said will have a HUGE asterisk attached to it and its October World Series (if it happens?) because of this unprecedented time America and Americans are going through.

I watched two interviews over the past 2-3 weeks that I thought were poignantly revealing summaries of what our country has been put through. Sadly, it did not need to be this bad, not even close! Had our federal leadership heeded all the warnings coming from all the domestic and global experts back in Dec. 2019 thru mid-February 2020, this continuing crisis could have been shortened SIGNIFICANTLY and with much less economic tragedy. But then it happened again this past May over Memorial Day weekend and in another spike July… over 4th of July celebrations and holidays. Here’s what wealthy mogul and former Microsoft owner Bill Gates said about the handling of this pandemic by our federal government and leadership:  Bill Gates on GPS: “Testing insanity” is unique to U.S.

The other interview was by Christiane Amanpour of PBS with former Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich. It is well worth the 3-minute watch, I promise.

Personally, I have been COVID-tested twice now because both times I was experiencing 6 of the 11 symptoms for the lethal virus. Fortunately, both results were negative. But my last CV-19 test, inside Dallas County (one of the worst hot spots in Texas) took almost 5-weeks to return a result. The only reason my two results have been negative is because #1) I stay at home alone as much as possible. #2) because since early March I have social-distanced like an OCD MoFo, I wear a mask anytime I go out in public, I wear rubber gloves when I go into any places of business doing my BASIC shopping for essential items and/or grocery store items. And #3), if I don’t get out of my vehicle, that’s because I’ve shopped online for curbside delivery done by only ONE worker to my car… that is, a car parked over 8-10 feet away from any other vehicle!

And yet, after near 7-months of this consistent distancing, preparation, and wise, considered caution anywhere I go… this has become a change from “doing well enough” in April 2020, to making things tighter and stretching out longer in July 2020—going from a stabilized ship in a horrible storm at sea—to grasping for ropes to cling to as the HMS Titanic goes down, and to now desperately seeking THREADS that might hold me above the surface of a self-created (by my nation & its leaders) Level-5 hurricane I and everyone around me are getting sucked into. And yet there’s more.

Day before yesterday I ran out of one of my two high blood-pressure meds. When I requested the pharmacy to contact my primary care physician’s office for the refill, the next day they called back stating his office denied my request. I know why. I haven’t gone to have my blood lab-work done yet. It costs me $135 (no insurance) to have it all done, plus the tele-visit or video-visit with the doctor to initiate it. Plus on top of that the cost of the generic prescriptions. It’s money I do not currently have because of several other pressing priorities due to COVID-19 affects and consequences on businesses.

Oh well, hopefully life gets better for everyone and reduces hypertension and high blood-pressure—that if chronic, inevitably leads to heart disease and other medical problems. HAH! 😆 That’s a subject Dr. Sanjay Gupta covered in his extensive 1-hour documentary on HBO called One Nation Under StressIn the documentary Dr. Gupta uncovers the root causes of why American life expectancy, that is primarily Caucasian’s life expectancy, is falling and is now shorter than all other major developed countries. It is a disturbing revelation of our nation’s true health. Here’s the trailer:

So what’s the rub? Can we Americans make it until November 4-5? Can we survive with minimal casualties in this raging, unforgiving storm/hurricane of a crisis that could’ve been lessened significantly, probably avoided in many ways? Because this pandemic virus has affected and infected so many socioeconomic and healthcare sectors and lives, that not even I could’ve anticipated, it could get much worse and last much longer! And I am a HUGE nerdy science guy who tries his utmost to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. But this shit is going to outlast even my own predictions back in February. I told everyone then this pandemic and its ripple-effects would last till late-August or early-September before a downward trend and gradual respite occurs. It appears my prediction is coming up wrong and well short. 😔😷

I wonder… how in THA HELL did our Greatest Generation (of America) do it for well over 5-6 years during World War II  on top of coming out of the Great Depression!? Holy crap they must of been truly “E plurabus unum” (like superhero MoFos)… like we stamp on all of our coinage. HAH! Is it really a United States of America rather than a DISunited States of America, “One nation, under stress, and very divided!” as our new revised Pledge of Allegiance the last 4-years might be uttered today? Other nations around the world handled and managed the pandemic SO MUCH BETTER than the U.S.! That’s undeniably true.

Ugh, my rant is done. Tired I am. Everyone keep being safe, being well, and safely distanced. Try to keep going and hang in there! I hope I can too. 🙄

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P.S. One last thing. Have I ever expressed my rising annoyance with most everything electronic, internet, streaming, or WiFi-based over the last decade or more? And with that near boiling-point annoyance of said electronics I am quickly approaching the brink of ‘going postal.’ Have I expressed that? And how many times all my electronic devices I have ever owned (especially the last 10-12 years!) get overly spammed, hacked, and breakdown into some cyber-neurotic psychotic tantrums after ONLY 24-months from their purchase? Then I am forced to purchase a new cutting-edge “newer” device. Imagine that!

Does anyone else experience this incredibly frustrating, cyclical consumer entrapment on a society addicted to an electronic-everything world? Just a passing thought.

I really miss those days (in the 80’s and 90’s) when items, machines purchased would last a good 10-15 years, easily. Now, most mega-corporate business models are structured to generate what they call “perpetual revenue” and repeat consumers that appease, gratify share-holders for many quarterly P&L reports. Ugh, I so love hyper-capitalism.

That last sentence was extreme satirical sarcasm by the way. 😠

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Cash-worshipers vs. COVID-19

The madness, the sheer ignorance, or insanity of this modern life, of complacency and certain human logic often cannot be fathomed, not in the least. Today I am beside myself.

A wealthy women’s Republican organization took to the grounds of Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas Tuesday, April 21st, 2020 demanding businesses reopen and workers return to their jobs immediately. Their demands came in the wake of still rising confirmed infections of COVID-19 cases of 2,602 (90 more cases) on April 20th from 2,190 on April 15th, including 9 additional deaths in those five days. Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Dallas County are still rising according to the Dallas County Health and Human Services.

PCRW protest Dallas

The Park Cities Republican Women is a political club of wives and women from two of Texas’ most wealthiest urban municipalities within Texas, University Park and Highland Park combined, and second only to Collin County consisting of opulent towns like Plano, McKinney, and Allen, Texas. These two counties are the bulk of the wealthiest Republican seats in North Texas for the last 25-30 years. Some of the nation’s richest billionaires live in three of these four Dallas neighborhoods. At one time in recent history these neighborhoods all barred non-whites from entering these areas of residence.

Park Cities Republican Women Board

Dallas Park Cities Republican Women Executive Board

Researching and digging into these ladies’ current occupations and their husbands’ and those business ties and ventures certainly yielded a very clear bias leaning to DFW mega-businesses in sectors like but not limited to real estate, financial-wealth management, and mass media corporations. That digging also resulted in determining that several of these women on the “Executive Board” are not native Texans or even more than 3rd-4th generation Texans. It soon begs the question, How many times have these ladies gone to and spent significant time in Dallas’ most impoverished areas (Pleasant Grove? Wynnewood or Beckley Club Estates?) for simple charity or stimulus packages/plans for critically needed improvement in basic, public socio-educational programs?

Aside from these protester’s political associations and postures the more pressing, more critical question to be asked is what is required to stop and reduce COVID-19 infections and subsequent deaths. After all, is it not human life, the unnecessary loss of innocent lives that are most important, most morally responsible that is the top priority? Isn’t that the highest importance as if it were your own child or your own parent? Is that an overreaction by anyone who’s own child/parent might be infected with COVID-19?

Overreaction? Seriously!? What planet do you live on!?

No. It is anything but an overreaction people. As of today, April 25, 2020, there are 2.79-million people infected by COVID-19 around the world. To date there have been 196,000 deaths from coronavirus; over 52,400 in the U.S. and rising still. All one need do is examine Italy’s COVID-19 crisis in March 2020.

italy_newplot

From a March 23rd Vox article:

What’s scary about Italy’s experience is that Italy wasn’t exactly passive in its response to the virus. The country did act, quarantining a dozen towns in northern regions on February 23, urging the public to engage in social distancing, and ordering the closure of all schools nationwide on March 4.

The reality, however, of wisely and scientifically managing one of the worst, most devastating pandemics this country has faced since January 1918 with the Spanish Flu pandemic, is that there is a very specific, safe plan to slowly ease out of Social-distancing and Stay-at-Home orders that were ordered to save lives. It is simply called public health and protection of American lives directed and implemented by our elected government officials, on all necessary levels. That’s the theory anyway.

The plan has several phases: Phase one is slowing the spread through social distancing, while ramping up testing capacity, and ensuring hospitals have the equipment they need. In phase two, social distancing restrictions ease while public health workers continue to track and isolate cases.

But it will take a lot to get there. The authors argue these decisions need to be made on a region-by-region basis: Phase two should only begin after 14 days of sustained case reductions in an area, and only after testing capacity is dramatically increased.
Resnick, Brian, “How to safely end social distancing,” Vox.com, accessed April 25, 2020

There is still so much that is unknown, undetermined about the COVID-19 virus, how it spreads so easily, so quickly, and how it is quickly detected. We just learned that six more symptoms have been added to the original 4-5 symptoms. On top of this new evidence there are people in China and Japan that after recovering from infection they have become reinfected with COVID-19. The fact is there is simply not enough collected data and research to determine with certainty whether these new cases were in fact positively infected the first time (U.N. announcement). Therefore, with a known incubation period of at least 14-days before COVID-19 symptoms manifest in patients, it is much more safe for medical professionals and the general public to err on the side of caution.

Remarkably there is still push-back from many Cash-worshipers. The Park Cities Republican Women’s club is not the only protesters voicing their defiance. Lulu Garcia-Navarro hosts NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday and she along with Kirk Siegler talked with former Salt Lake City, Utah police officer Eric Moutsos who has become overly vocal since being put on administrative leave from the SLC police department:

In my opinion, not being able to provide for your family is a hundred times bigger health crisis than any virus.

Quarantine is for sick people. It’s when you lock sick people away. But when you lock healthy people away, that’s tyranny.

Moutsos is not alone in his self-made celebrity status. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has already made controversial remarks against the sanctity of life for all Americans by stating senior citizens were more concerned about money, paychecks, and the economy. From NBCnews.com:

“And what I said when I was with you that night, there are more important things than living. And that’s saving this country for my children and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us,” Patrick said Monday night.

He went on to say that he didn’t want to die but that “we’ve got to take some risks and get back in the game and get this country back up and running.”

On the contrary, reality according to epidemiologists and virologists around the world is that too many Americans are underestimating how long COVID-19 disruptions will have to last. They blame much of this false hope on the Trump Administration’s erroneous information and timelines disseminated in Press Conferences:

…but quickly reopening businesses or loosening shelter-in-place rules would inevitably lead to a new surge of infections, they said.

“The administration has consistently shown a desire to underplay the severity of whatever is coming. And they’re constantly adjusting that — as it becomes harder to deny the reality will be worse than what they’ve conditioned people for,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development.

But experts say that, even if some restrictions are relaxed, it’s unlikely life as normal will resume in early May.

“Decisions to reopen society should not be about a date, but about the data,” Frieden, now president and CEO of the global public health initiative Resolve to Save Lives, said during a briefing Wednesday for journalists. “How well and how quickly we do these things will determine how soon and how safely we can reopen.”

Still A Small Minority

Fortunately, these protesting Cash-worshipers represent a small minority in the U.S. as well as Texas. The Texas Tribune’s Brandon Formby and Ross Ramsey write:

Two-thirds of registered Texas voters agree with decisions by Gov. Greg Abbott and several local officials to suspend nonessential business operations. And more than three-quarters of voters support orders to stay home except for essential activities. The poll’s findings come as Abbott says he will soon announce plans to reopen a wide range of Texas businesses.

According to Politico.com only 30% of Americans say getting the nation’s economy up and running is a first priority despite what some news media corporations promote. Here is what Gallup Polling states:

The average American is unequipped to make scientific judgments on virus-related matters. Americans are better able to make judgments on the financial and economic impact of the shutdowns.

While other Gallup data show that a majority of Americans (55%) say they can continue following social distancing practices without significant financial hardship for “as long as is necessary,” 8% say they’re already experiencing significant financial hardship, and another 14% say they will within a few more weeks.

[…]

58% of respondents in the survey chose… “the United States will move too quickly in loosening restrictions and the virus will continue to spread with more lives being lost.”

As of today, the majority of Americans do not want to risk more extended restrictions of Stay-at-Home orders by foolishly and prematurely reopening. This is clear.

Will American History Repeat Itself?

Assistant Director of the Center for the History of Medicine at Michigan University, Alex Navarro, detailed the historical accounts of the 1918 Spanish flu in 43 cities:

“There was a lot of pressure in pretty much all of these American cities to reopen,” said Navarro, whose research was done in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “When they removed those restrictions too soon, then many cities saw a resurgence in cases.”

Government authorities in California and much of the West Coast in 1918 – 1919 were doing everything right, they were ‘flattening the curve’ as repeatedly told by doctors and scientists of virology and epidemiology. Sadly, by November and December 1918 too many business leaders and moguls put huge pressure on government officials to reopen and return our struggling economy to normal. Those Cash-worshipers then used the press to further promote and propagandize their declining riches.

San-Francisco-influenza-1918

A congregation praying on the steps of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, where they gathered to hear mass and pray during the influenza epidemic, San Francisco, California, 1918 — Hulton Archive / Getty Images

But three weeks after that celebration of removing their masks, the city saw a dramatic resurgence. Officials at first rejected the idea of reopening the city and suggested residents could voluntarily wear face coverings.

But shortly after the New Year in 1919, the city was hit with 600 new cases in one day, prompting the Board of Supervisors to re-enact the mandatory mask ordinance. Protests against the mandate eventually led to the formation of the Anti-Mask League. The detractors eventually got their way when the order was lifted in February.

And as PBS’ poignant Frontline documentary Coronavirus Pandemic proved this past Tuesday, April 21st, the American economy is not just taking a blow from COVID-19, the nation’s economy is suffering directly because of Washington D.C., the White House, and specifically our incapable fake President who delayed and downplayed the seriousness of the virus. He has never been a true leader prior to or during his Presidency or one who proactively or consistently shows compassion, sympathy and empathy for all Americans, or much less the ability to admit publicly when you’ve truly f*cked up. Has the man ever taken full responsibility for his f*ck ups as the country’s incapable leader? The truth doesn’t get any simpler nor more clear.

Nevertheless, getting back to the real issue: the science, when your country’s top, foremost doctor of infectious diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci states If it looks like you’re overreacting, you’re probably doing the right thing then even a preschooler understands what must be done no matter how badly your pocketbook is hurting. Duh!

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Addendum 4/28/2020 — this is an excellent interview by Michel Martin of PBS’ Amanpour & Company called “Former Sen. Bill Frist on the President’s Pandemic Response.” It is well worth watching:
https://www.pbs.org/video/former-sen-bill-frist-presidents-pandemic-response-h6futh/

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Listen to Experts

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