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Texas governor slows down reopening amidst rising coronavirus numbers.

I didn’t expect Texas to take this step, but now that they are, I’ll have to readjust my predictions for the next few months of this pandemic.

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Texas started lifting lockdown directives and reopening business in May. Why?

coronavirus texas

What part of this graph shows a downward trend anywhere? Texas went into lockdown before the pandemic really hit the area, and then when the numbers stayed relatively flat (clearly going up, but not the extreme spike we saw in NYC), they opened back up. It’s so frustrating that nobody in government seems to understand what happens when you take a preventative measure. You prevent something from happening. When that thing doesn’t happen, that means the preventative measure is working, not that it was unnecessary just because nothing happened.

So Texas opened back up, they see the spikes we saw in other parts of the world, and now that reopening is on pause.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday morning that he will pause any further phases of reopening businesses in Texas and that he is once again putting a stop to elective surgeries to preserve bed space for coronavirus patients in certain counties that are seeing a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Abbott’s latest action does not reverse any of the reopening phases he’s already allowed — meaning that bars, restaurants, malls, bowling alleys and other businesses can still remain open with some occupancy limitations.

(cont. Texas Tribune)

Notice that was yesterday. Gov. Abbott said that putting a pause on reopening would slow down the virus, but to “go back and close down businesses” was not an option. Today he’s changed his tune. Bars are closing, restaurants are going back to 50% occupancy, river-rafting trips have been put on pause (y’all do that much rafting in Texas?), and outdoor gatherings of +100 people are banned (unless explicitly approved by the local government, so I’m sure big gatherings are still fine in every municipality where the Mayor has a Trump bumper sticker).

I didn’t expect Texas to take this step, but now that they are, I’ll have to readjust my predictions for the next few months of this pandemic. I really thought governments wouldn’t shut down again, because the economy took such a hit the first time, and money matters more than bodies. If Texas of all places is rolling back their reopening, I need to go ahead and get my fill of sunshine because Cuomo will definitely send us back to the house when our spike hits in a month or so.

Oh also:

LOL @ that idiot. Dying embers? The fire is just starting to get hot for most of the country.

 

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Politics

Sarah Palin’s death panels are finally here.

And they have nothing to do with Obamacare.

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Flattening the curve is the strategy we were told to implement to keep from overwhelming the healthcare system. I’m not sure when that messaging got lost, but the death rate in Italy was so high because they didn’t have the ability to treat all of the infections, not because the virus itself was so much more deadly. When covidiots respond to articles about the uptick in infections with statements about how low the death rate is, they are correct. The death rate is lower in these hotspots than we expected, because we have the ability to treat the sick.

What happens when there is no more space to treat them? The bodies start to pile up, and that’s the next uptick we’ll see, because hospitals have run out of beds and doctors have to make on the spot decisions about who receives care and who doesn’t.

You have ten people who will die if you don’t save them. How do you pick which three? Doctors are not equipped to do that and no one should have to pick and choose who dies because the government failed to protect the public. The government decided it was more important to put people back to work and the government has decided these are the talking points they’re going to arm their supporters and coronvirus deniers with:

  1. The number of infections is up because we’re doing more testing.
    The percentage of infections is up because more people are getting sick. If one in ten tests came back positive and now one in four come back positive, that has nothing to do with the number of tests you’re doing and everything to do with the rate of infection, which is sky rocketing.
  2. The death rate is low because it’s mostly young people getting sick.
    Don’t young people know old people who will then get sick? And what happens when those young people need medical care and there’s no space for them?
  3. Most people recover.
    Just because I’m going to recover from something doesn’t mean I want to get it in the first place. I can recover from a broken leg, but it really really hurts, so I avoid breaking my leg. Some people are sick for weeks. Some have lasting neurological deficits. Some people still can’t breathe well. And a lot of those people recover because there was space in the hospital.

Since we are running out of space, despite what any covidiot tells you, we have to decide who gets treatment and who doesn’t.

Enter, the death panels. Along with a further dumbing down of political discourse, Sarah Palin left us with the phrase “death panels” which she coined herself in a Facebook post back in 2009 where she railed against Obamacare.

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society

(cont. Facebook)

The Right took it and ran with it. The Affordable Care Act was especially heinous because sick people would have to parade themselves in front of paper pushers who would decide whether they live or die. They would have to beg bureaucrats for the right to receive healthcare. Every time the Republicans try to repeal Obamacare, these death panels are mentioned again, panels that have never come to fruition.

Until now. If Sarah Palin defines a death panel as a group of people deciding how productive someone will be to society, then Arizona’s coronavirus scorecards are death panels. They grade people based on their general health and life expectancy. The sicker you are, the older you are, the higher your score, and the lower your priority on the care list.

az1

az2

Flattening the curve would’ve prevented this. Arizona is a Republican state with a Republican governor and they have rolled out the dreaded death panels in response to a situation they created themselves. In the 11 years since Sarah Palin gave the GOP their main talking point against Obamacare, we haven’t seen a death panel of any sort. In the 4 months since COVID-19 hit our shores, we have a formal death panel in Arizona and instant death panel calculations going on in ICUs across the country as doctors grapple with the reality that they cannot treat every patient who needs life-saving measures.

But at least people can go to Applebee’s.

 

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LGBT

Fire Island said “what pandemic?”

The gays threw caution — and masks — to the wind this weekend.

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Everybody in Fire Island over the 4th of July weekend is being lumped together into the same pile of garbage because of videos like this:

So let’s break that up a little bit, because this is America and we love Labels & Boxes.

I have money and I’ve been here for weeks.

Some gays have money, some gays have friends with money, and some gays have friends who have friends with money. And they’ve been in their beach houses for weeks or months. One of my friends left the city in April and has been chilling in the sea air away from NYC congestion living his best, relaxed life. These are not the people in those videos.  These people are sitting at home playing Bananagrams.

I had a share and I couldn’t cancel it.

NYC gets tiring, even when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic. I’m going on a road trip in a few weeks to go sit in the mountains and hear sounds that aren’t fireworks and ambulances. One of my roommates is in Rhode Island right now.  I can’t speak for everybody else, but I plan to get tested the week before I go, isolate, and wait for my results so I don’t unwittingly carry anything into rural North Carolina. I definitely understand the urge to get out of this city, especially when we’ve been stuck in it for so long.

So, if you already had a share in Fire Island for the weekend that you paid for six months ago, I can understand not canceling it. Go get out of the city, breathe, see the ocean, etc.

Some of these people are sitting at home playing Uno. And some of these people are definitely at the parties showing off the Parke & Ronens they haven’t gotten to wear this year.

I literally die without seeing and being seen by hot strangers.

I’m trying to share my thoughts on this with as little shade as possible because I do not understand this impulse. However! One of my roommates is an actor/comedian and I don’t understand the impulse to be on a stage either, but I can see how not having that outlet these past few months has affected him. Some folks are just wired to be around groups of people, and I — as someone who generally hates strangers and most people — will never be able to fully wrap my head around that need. I don’t need to feel like I’m in the mix of something to be whole, so I don’t get it when some of my friends are dying because they don’t have access to this:

I don’t enjoy that, ever, so I can’t contextualize missing it so much you would risk your health and the health of others to jump back into it for a weekend. I haven’t really been missing anything during the Covid Crisis other than museums and yeast rolls, so my Risk and Reward calculation for that kind of party his High Risk and No Reward. I have friends who went to Fire Island for the weekend and some of them will have definitely been at those little parties. Their calculation is High Risk and Very High Reward.

But honestly…I trust them not to infect other people. One of the guys in my social distancing bubble decided to break the bubble and go to Fire Island this weekend. He’ll probably be partying all weekend around various bugs, Miss Rona included. His plan is to wear a mask when he’s not partying, isolate for two weeks at home when he gets back, and then get tested. The only people he’s endangering are other people at the parties who made the same Risk and Reward calculation, so I don’t really have anything to say about it. I don’t understand it, but as long as you’re responsibly making sure you don’t potentially pass anything to unwitting strangers, what more can I ask?

This guy is trash though.

 

 

coreyrona3

 

For every ten people who want to be as responsible as possible, there’s a pathological narcissist like Corey who is willingly putting people in danger because he made the great sacrifice of sitting in his room for 8 whole days. There are too many variables in a group, and the more people you have, the more likely it is that some of them are assholes, idiots, or both.

I hope everybody in Fire Island is having a great time and getting whatever boost they needed from this weekend around other like-minded individuals. I hope they mask up around everybody who did not sign up to be infected with a potentially deadly illness for the joy of thumpa thumpa and alphabet drugs. I hope they isolate for two weeks when they get back home and then get tested. And I hope they’ve gotten their fix for awhile so they can survive the next few months without putting communities in danger again.

 

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LGBT

We’re getting our first openly gay Black congressmen — two of them.

Two openly gay Black men are poised to win Congressional races that nobody predicted this time last year.

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There were a few elections last night (and they were a mess, Democracy is broken, the country is on fire, I hate it here, etc.) and right here in my backyard, we should see another “first” once all the votes are counted and the numbers are official.

Mondaire Jones was a lock almost from the jump.

mondaire2

New York’s 17th Congressional District is just north of NYC, covering parts of Westchester and Rockland Counties. The Democratic Primary is a race between six people vying for the seat being left vacant by 89-year-old Nita Lowey who is retiring after 30 years of holding that seat (through various incarnations of the district). Whoever wins the primary will be elected, and Jones picked up a slew of high profile endorsements early on: Bernie Sanders, AOC, Elizabeth Warren, and Julian Castro among them. Being openly gay & Black representing a suburban area had some pollsters hesitant to make a prediction (NYC suburbs can be surprisingly “old-fashioned”) but his platform alongside his prominent supporters proved to be a winning combination.

Progressive Mondaire Jones picked up more than double the votes of any of the other six candidates running in the Democratic Party primary to replace longtime Rep. Nita Lowey.

There are still thousands of mail ballots that won’t be counted for a week, but Jones’ commanding early lead has him breathing a little easier as he waits for the mail ballots to be opened.

“It was never about self promotion,” Jones told The Journal News/lohud in a phone interview. “It is instead about an idea, an idea that government has never worked for everyone.”

(cont. Rockland/Westchester Journal News)

Ritchie Torres isn’t quite the sure thing Mondaire Jones is at this point, but his victory would be much sweeter, given the opposition.

ritchie2

Come November, Rubén Díaz Sr., a Pentecostal minister with a long history of homophobia and transphobia, could be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the most Democratic district in the nation — but gay candidate Ritchie Torres is out to see that doesn’t happen.

Díaz is well known in New York politics; he was a state senator for years, and he’s now a member of the New York City Council. In the Senate, he voted against marriage equality, and he has said the City Council “is controlled by the homosexual community.” He considers abortion murder, and he praises Donald Trump. Yet he’s running as a Democrat, as he has for years, although he’s the epitome of a Democrat in name only.

(cont. Advocate)

Rubén Díaz Junior is a pretty decent (and popular) politician. He’s been elected borough president of The Bronx three times and his positions are in line with most mainstream Democrats, including his stance on LGBT equality. His father is an evangelical Christian who hates gays and callously uses the Holocaust in his arguments against abortion. For some reason, the ballots don’t say Rubén Díaz Senior to make sure voters differentiate him from his son, who has higher approval ratings and more name recognition. Two men in politics from same the borough with the same name should definitely have their entire name printed on the ballot to make it easier for voters, but that’s not the case, and RD Senior was polling ahead of Ritchie Torres until last night.

Torres pulled ahead early, with 30% of the vote in a crowded field with 11 other candidates.

So that’s what we woke up to here in the NYC area. Two openly gay Black men are poised to win Congressional races that nobody predicted this time last year. It’s 2020 and we’re still having “firsts” in politics, but slow progress is better than none at all.

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