COVID-19 – New Information and Resources (March 13, 2020)

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I have been trying to leave politics out of my posts regarding COVID-19 out of an abundance of respect for all readers, but I find that it’s not been as easy as it sounded two weeks ago when my family began our precautions. I did my duty as an American and watched the President’s address live on Wednesday. As I said to a cousin when we disagreed politically, while I have trusted sources that I have already vetted, I still prefer primary sources, and will use them whenever I am able. Watching the President live was one way to do that. He did NOT instill in me a lot of confidence, especially when less than five minutes after he finished, there were no less than three corrections to his “planned”, “well-thought out”, “vetted” speech.

I do not say this lightly, but when getting your information about COVID-19, please do NOT listen to the President and/or the Vice President. I would also include Senator Mitch McConnell, Representative Kevin McCarthy, Representative Tom Cotton, Senator John Kennedy (LA), and the head of the CDC, Dr. Redfield as they have all continued to pass on misinformation and lied about the extent of the virus and where we stand on a vaccine, mitigation, and flattening the curve. I am sad to include the doctor in this list of unreliable people, but they are truly that: unreliable. If they refuse to tell the truth in small things, how can they be trusted to tell the truth in the big, important, controversial ones.

I will continue to get my information from Dr. Anthony Fauci of NIH. He has said in his Congressional testimony that this virus (COVID-19) is ten times more lethal than the flu. It is nothing like the flu, and people should stop downplaying it. I will also be checking in on Ron Klain and Dr. Celine Gounder’s podcast, Epidemic where they talk to experts. I have a few new resources to add to my main Coronavirus post that is included below.

There may be up to 1.4 million new tests next week, and 5 million by the end of the month, according to reporting from NBC News. The President declared a national emergency this afternoon which frees up about $50 billion for states and the federal government to get a handle on this pandemic. It is expected that there will be widespread drive-thru testing with results coming within 36 hours. There will be a Google form to fill out if you have symptoms and you will be directed to a testing place. THIS IS INCORRECT. I DON’T KNOW IF THE PRESIDENT LIED AGAIN OR IF IT WAS JUST WISHFUL THINKING. We’ll see how that works out. I am hoping that it does.

Information:

Rachel Maddow’s show transcript from March 11, 2020 or listen to the same on her podcast

Rachel Maddow’s show from March 12, 2020

Cancel Everything (Social Distancing) from The Atlantic

Flattening the Curve, Isolation, Quarantine (from Vox)

How Fox News Misled Viewers about Coronavirus – important to keep up with and recognize the misinformation (CNN Business)

How Trump Set Up his White House to Fail (relates to information access) (The Atlantic)

9 Charts that Explain the Coronavirus Pandemic (from Vox)

Podcast:

America Dissected: Coronavirus with Dr. Abdul el-Sayed. New pods will be broadcast on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Twitter:

Dr. Abdul el-Sayed

Current – Information on Iran Tensions and Soleimani

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There has been a lot of news in the past week concerning Iran. There has also been a lot of misinformation, unfortunately coming from the State Department and the White House. Contradictory stories, communication mistake with Iraq, and no notification to Congress as required by law. There was even reporting that the President expressed wanting to keep some GOP Senators happy for his impeachment trial and they wanted Soleimani taken care of. I’m not going to get into what’s true, what’s not, but after three years, and more than 15,000 lies from the President, I’m inclined to not give him the benefit of the doubt.

What I offer instead is a podcast that will help you wade through the noise, hear the facts, hear some analysis, and inform yourself of what’s going on with the tensions with Iran.

Pod Save the World is co-hosted by Tommy Vietor and Ben Rhodes. It includes news, analysis, and interviews as well as their conversations about what’s happening around the world. Both worked in the Obama Administration on foreign policy, Vietor as spokesman for President Obama and the National Security Council (2011-2013) and Rhodes as Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications (2009-2017).

Pod Save the World series

Pod Save the World – Iran retaliates to the Soleimani strike This includes a very informative interview about Iraq, Iran, and Soleimani’s death with Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL from 2015 to his resignation in 2018.

Leaders | Freedom | Diversity | Friendship

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I had the honor of attending the dedication and unveiling of the Harriet Tubman-William Seward Statue at the Schenectady, New York Public Library. I will post more about this event in the next few days as well as today’s related family adventure, but I need to say how much I learned from the speakers and how emotional I found this event. I feel blessed that I was able to attend.

Sculptor: Dexter Benedict, Penn Yan, NY. Photo (c)2019

Tragedy

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We were at a work event for my son’s job this afternoon when I found out that the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris was on fire. Just the view on the computer screen with the white smoke, the bright orange flames licking the stones and rising higher and higher was speech stopping; it was mind-numbing to me. I have a sensitivity to viewing buildings burning. I think it brings me to 9/11, it brings me to California wildfire devastation, and with television and social media it brings it literally into our fingertips.

As of this writing, I believe the two towers have been saved even though the spire collapsed. One of the rose stained glass windows was destroyed, but three remained. The statues that had been on the spire were removed four days ago as part of the renovation. The art, artifacts, and holy relics were saved after being removed during the fire. These are all good things.

This church is nearly one thousand years old. The person who laid the first stone was not alive at its completion. As it has been before, it will be rebuilt because like the church of people remains in perpetuity, the building will be repaired, rebuilt, and it won’t be the last time. The idea, the ideal of the church family lives on in the people who will return to Notre Dame.

In the meantime, we can mourn the physical building as we mourn the death of a loved one and know it will rise again.

I have never been to Notre Dame in Paris, France, but my son visited while on a school trip in his senior year in high school. Knowing how close I am to my own local church and my Catholic devotion brought this home for my souvenir from his visit, ironically also during Holy Week. It sits on my bookshelf where I look at it every now and then, and after seeing the cathedral burning, upon coming home I took this pewter replica in my hand and turned it over, touching the carvings, pressing on the spire, tracing the cuneiform. It was sad and comforting at the same time. (c)2019

Trump Used Her Slain Daughter to Rail Against illegal immigration. She Chose a Different Path.

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We all have choices that we make on a daily basis on what kind of life and world we are leaving for our children. One of my intentions this year is to be conscious of what I take in and share.

This is more than a feel good story.

Mainly, because there is nothing about any of this that feels good. A woman has lost her daughter. A boy has lost his parents (in a different way). And our country has lost its way.

I can only  hope that it’s not too late for any of us.

Link to article

Election Reflection – Civics 101 or Dear Mr. President

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Civics 101 is not something I would have expected to write for a President of the United States, but here we are – through the looking glass.
First, not receiving calls directly about citizens against DAPL doesn’t mean that everyone in the country is for it. In fact, I would hazard to guess that the President’s aides are not giving him the full picture of what’s going on in this country. More people are against it than are for it. In fact, this is the epitome of an example to show the President why we have conflict of interest laws. He should not be pushing forward on a pipeline that he will directly benefit from once it’s in place.

Second, you won’t receive phone calls if the phones at the White House switchboard are disconnected or turned off as has been reported.

Third, President Obama doesn’t like you. He’s just too polite to say it. You called him horrible things, said horrible things about his parents and his birth. He may forgive you, but I can guarantee he will not forget.

Fourth, and more importantly, there are Three Branches of Government. Three. There is a reason for that. It’s called checks and balances. They are co-equal. The Legislative Branch, ie. Congress, makes the laws. Watch Schoolhouse Rock’s How a Bill Becomes a Law. It will break it down into bite sized pieces for you. It can’t be more than three minutes. And they sing.

The Executive Branch signs the laws. He or she makes suggestions, and sets the agenda, the priorities for the country. The whole country. Not just the rich, white folks.

The Judicial Branch keeps it all in order. They determine what is and isn’t Constitutional. Yes, they can overrule the President. In fact, that’s kind of their job.

You’re not the boss anymore.

We the people are.

I’d recommend brushing up on this handy document in its original or a transcript.

Or the interactive version.

Election Reflection

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​Well, it’s been six weeks since Election Day. I have been reading and sifting through news stories, and I cannot fathom a Trump presidency. Obviously, this is something that we all need to wrap our heads around because it’s here, and it’s here to stay.

That much is clear.

As much as I thought that perhaps the Republicans were true Americans and patriots, I think I am mistaken. Senators John McCain and Chuck Schumer led the fight to investigate Russia’s election interference amid rank and file Republicans, the Trump transition team, and President-Elect Trump himself decrying the partisanship and sour grapes.

I don’t think I’ve ever been this embarrassed for my country in my life.

Now, Sen. McConnell and Rep. Ryan have jumped on board, but I fear that their acquiescence is simply to slow things down. They weren’t interested before, and they had seen the intelligence briefings, so what changed?

We, the people, spoke up and said, No.

Now, we have transition members meeting with an Austrian opposition group founded by the Nazis. Not neo-Nazis, not alt-right, but the literal, actual Nazis.

We’re already fighting with China.

Mr. Trump’s sons are selling access to him one day after the inauguration for millions of dollars. For charity. Yeah, like all their other charitable works.

Trump has admitted to buying hedgefund stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and his Secretary of Treasury Designee announced one day after his nomination that his intention is to privatize them both. Do you have any idea how much money the President-Elect made from that announcement and the stock going up.

He tweeted about Boeing and Lockheed Martin and their stocks went down. And people bought them up at bargain prices. Some people began to sell their stock right before the tweet. Boeing lost $4 Billion in less than an hour.

Now, we’ll allow insider trading, I guess because according to Newt Gingrich, it’s not Trump, it’s the constraining ethics laws that need changing. Or ignoring.

He hasn’t had a press conference since the middle of July.

This presidency is already a disaster.

Has anyone seen what’s going on in North and South Carolina? NC stripped the incoming governor of his powers because the Republican governor lost. SC is trying to pass a law that you must pay a $20 fee to access pornography on a newly bought computers

What’s happening to our first amendment?

Merry Christmas shouldn’t be used as a dagger. My priest says Happy Holidays, and everyone he’s talking to from the pulpit is Catholic for crying out loud. Is he being politically correct?

I’m stunned.

I’m speechless.

I’m worried, and frightened, and have much more to say in smaller, bite-sized chunks.

For now, sleep well. The holidays are here, and it is family time. Everything else will come when it comes. Right now, it’s time to take a breath and look at what we are being called to in the new year.