Recently there has been much talk about our conference’s decision (The Big Ten) to not play football this fall due to the pandemic. Most of it has been criticism, even anger. Conspiracy theories are common. How could we shut down football when Notre Dame, the SEC, and others are continuing to plan to play? In Ohio we are allowing some high school football, leaving it to individual school districts and leagues to decide, but the major colleges won’t play (the MAC conference is also shut down). How does that follow? That argument— “they’re playing”—may be a little like saying, “look, the guy in front of me just ran that red light, therefore I should follow!”
Hey, I’m a Buckeye fan and I was very much hoping to watch them play. We have the best player in the country, and Coach Day said this could be a once-in-a-lifetime great team. It is probably not going to happen and that is very disappointing. Further, the league officials did not make clear their specific reasons for closure. It was left rather vague.
I can understand the disappointment and even some disagreement, but not to this level! We should all really know by now, that this pandemic is a mess; if you don’t know that, then you are part of the problem. You are one of the reasons there will be no Big Ten fall sports! You doubted the scientists and doctors. You questioned Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton’s decisions. You did not, and may still not be, fully complying.
League officials did give some clues to their decision. The Columbus Dispatch reported (8/20 “Virus curve, testing issues problematic for Big Ten”) that league officials in interviews with the paper reported their concerns about community spread. Prior to that, the paper reported a league medical officer’s concerns that there was no national policy; no effective national testing or contact tracing, no reasonable and universal masking standards. He suggested that the situation was a chaos in which the decision to play would be no more than a roll of the dice.
That is correct. Imagine game day here in Columbus, and in Ann Arbor, East Lancing and western Pennsylvania, Iowa and Nebraska (Big10 country). No fans at games, and bars full. Neighbors gathering round TV sets, families, friends all together and rooting, shouting, drinking, high-fiving, and sharing food. Don’t even think about the teenagers in the campus dorms. It would be a royal cluster contagion in too many cases. Too many, as has now been proven, would not behave responsibly. The virus would spread.
So, unlike what I hear from many of my friends and family, who are determined that it is always about money and law suits, I believe that maybe these institutions of higher learning were holding on to something higher. The Big Ten felt that they should not go along with this mess. They are supposed to be about education, knowledge, and enlightened behavior. Maybe this time, they chose that over football. Go Bucks!
Apparently, things were getting a little loose in bars as the night went on. Imagine that! So here in Ohio, the Governor recently ordered all bars and restaurants to serve their last drinks (alcoholic) at 10pm and close their doors at 11. Bar owners were furious because 10pm to 1am is their most profitable hours. In the campus area, some of the worst offenses were taking place and some bars were issued citations by the health department. In Columbus we have The Ohio State University main campus, one of the largest single campuses in the nation. Some 50,000 students attend classes and live on campus or in the area. They can party, and they do get rowdy!
But who am I to talk?
Last Saturday night my wife and I were sitting around the house, as usual, drinking wine, as usual, and binge-watching some old TV series, as usual. She fell asleep on the couch and I continued to drink and watch and get increasingly board. Well, the feeling must have been mutual because at about 10:30, someone in the neighborhood began shooting off fireworks.
Fireworks in August is a fairly rare thing. I listened for a few moments and then realized, “What the hell!” I hustled up stairs and into the back of my closet, dug around, and found what was left of some “excitement” I had purchased maybe eight years prior. Nothing big or fancy, mostly just “bottle rockets” and a few strings of “lady fingers.” Soon I was in the back yard “enjoying myself,” I guess I can say, filling the air with very modest “pops” and fleeting trails of sparks. Actually, most of the rockets just fluttered to the ground a few feet from the launch and fizzled or popped among the flowers but causing only minimal damage to them, I hoped.
It did not take long until my wife appeared at the door and ‘sparking’ a bit herself demanded to know “What the hell are you doing?” As if it wasn’t obvious. I guess her question had a different sense to it. She stomped back into the house. I shot off a couple more and then returned to my my wine and television. That night she had me sleep alone. Well, as is often said, “it seemed like a good idea at the time.”
Unfortunately, last week Ohio saw some of its worst disease days, in a way. Reported new cases in a day set record highs with 1500 and then 1700 with every day above a thousand. Fortunately, deaths have not increased proportionately, apparently because these cases are now appearing among more young people. In a small city in the east of the state, a nursing home was infected and has so far reported 11 deaths, 59 residents testing positive and 32 employees also! The Columbus Public School District has decided to start the year on-line and so have several others including my old district. The governor has issued a state-wide mask order and in the last several days new cases a day have fallen back below a thousand. Hopefully they will stay there.
Shocking to say, Florida is a state with almost twice the population (22million) of Ohio. They are beset with a horrible Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, who has constantly down played the virus and done little to slow it. While we were hitting 1500 cases a day, last month Florida topped out at 15,000 new cases one day, 10 times our number! Ohio’s Governor, Mike DeWine, is also a Republican but a moderate one and one not overly supportive of Mr. Trump. He has been one of the most active and decisive leaders in the nation in efforts to contain the virus. It just goes to show, not all Republicans are the same and I appreciate the few that are still moderate and decent public servants. Why, 4-5 decades ago, there were actually Liberal Republicans (!), like New York Governor (1959-73) Nelson Rockefeller who sought his party’s nomination of the presidency several times. Well, good luck to Ohio and good luck to Florida, but sometimes you can help make your own good fortune.
In a surprising turn of events, just yesterday Gov. DeWine tested positive for Corona by a “rapid results test” in the morning, announced the results making state and national news, and then by late evening got the results from a more accurate but slower kind of test that he did not have it. A further round of tests confirmed that he and his family and closest co-workers were fine. Apparently, social media lit up with reaction to the first part of the story. Many sited their belief in the ineffectiveness of masks, and on the other side, some declared that no one should return to work or school until rapid tests are available to all! Both those contentions turned out to be problematic. There are a lot of overly rapid (and very fervid) reactions to “virusy” things these days.
Be safe, and don’t let the boredom, jumpiness and wine distort your thinking! I, too, will try my best.
On Tuesday 7/21, my wife and I were tuning into the Governor’s twice weekly Coronavirus update. We were surprised by an unusual face, that of U.S. Attorney Dave DeVillers. In an energetic and almost nervous style he was discussing “Company A” and it’s provision of funds to “Generation Now.” On the bottom of the screen I read, “Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder charged with corruption.” I laughed and clapped in surprise and amazement. What a suitable fall for a man so overblown with himself and his own high-jinx. See his infamous campaign add below.
Householder is a Republican, and here in Ohio you can say, “of course he is.” Republicans have Ohio state politics wrapped up. They hold every state-wide office and control the majority in both legislative houses. All they want to do is cut taxes, limit abortion, get re-elected, and expand gun rights.
For the last two decades they have achievedthis control through the ‘skillful’ drawing of voting districts. They play Ohio’s rural conservative voters off against our Democratic leaning big city populations. They isolate and concentrate Ohio Democrats in as few a districts as possible while assuring Republican majorities in most. It’s called “gerrymandering” and has been ruled unconstitutional and ordered corrected but not before the upcoming election. After all, Ohio does pretty much split 50/50 in all Presidential elections, and voted for Obama twice! Yet, Republicans have state politics in their pocket.
Householder is from a family farm in the area of Glenford, just east of Columbus. No one ever hears of Glenford and here is why: population 175 and has experienced a 30% decline in the past decade. He once quipped in response to “social distancing”, that from where he comes, people been “doing it all their lives.”
“Company A” is Akron, Ohio based “FirstEnergy.” They are a power company that serves customers in six states, from Ohio and to the east. They are ranked as about the U.S.’s 200th largest corporation by Fortune magazine with revenue of over $14.5 billion in 2016. They have two aging nuclear power plants in northern Ohio along Lake Erie. These plants are no longer profitable in this era of cheap natural gas and coal. FirstEnergy (now renamed Energy Harbor) threatened to close these plants costing Ohio 1,400 jobs, 15% of Ohio’s generated electricity, and loss of these non-carbon polluting energy sources. They approached Ohio legislators seeking relief. No one, yet, from this company has been charged with any crime, but the investigation is on-going. and “more charges will be forthcoming.”
It is not clear to me, from information so far released, how the initial contact and proposals started with “Team Househoder”, the name for The Speaker’s campaign group. In 2017, a social welfare non-profit named, “Generation Now“, was started by a “Team” member and began receiving the first payments from FirstEnergy. They came to total just over $60 million by time of the indictment. It is “the largest corruption and bribery case in the history of Ohio” said U.S. Attorney Devillers. He almost chuckled, it seemed, as he reviewed the scope and audacity of the scheme. A single hidden source channeling money to multiple dummy recipients and then on to Generation Now and “not a dime was spent on social welfare” the investigation so far has revealed, DeVillers claimed.
An exact account of all the spending is unclear. The 60 page indictment contends about $400,000 went to Householder personally and was used to pay off credit cards and make payments on two of the three homes (one in Florida) he owns. A significant portion was used to contribute to not only his own re-election but also the election of his personal supporters around the state who were pledged to support his speakership. This included attack ads against Democrats and unfriendly Republicans, and these possibly without knowledge or coordination of benefiting campaigns. The charges include racketeering and money laundering, with four accomplices to Householder so far indicted.
A vicious battle ensued around the state when the bail-out bill — called “House Bill 6” — was proposed, eventually passed and then challenged with a revoke by ballot petition. Stories circulated in the news that signature-gathers for the recall effort were being threatened, and some being bought off to quit and return to their out-of-state homes, return ticket provided. In the indictment it is reported that $450,000 dollars was used by Householder to hire 15 signature-gathering firms to not do anything! They were hired to not be hired by the pro-recall supporters!
Interestingly, the bail-out bill would cost “most Ohio residential users” 85 cents a month. Why, I drop $0.85 a month into the lining of my favorite couch, but state-wide and over a year it was estimated to come to around $170 million, plus there were some other beneficial strings attached to benefit FirstEnergy.
Such is politics in the O-H-I-O!
Happily, I can report that thus far our sitting Republican Governor, who I like, has not been shown to be involved. He is a Moderate Republican and a sincere public servant (it seems), and that is a dying breed worth appreciating, in my opinion. He has done very well in his Coronavirus efforts and attempted Gun Regulation following the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio —the home townof my wife and I!
Throw the Bums Out!
THIS IS A CHEER WE LIKE TO DO AT OUR FOOTBALL GAMES. Football (American style) is big in Ohio! “Go Buckeyes!”
Reader Mark commented: “Ohio listens to money – seems to be true in most states.”
GWW: In my mind, it is not so muchthe $money$ that shocks me, though there was a lot, it is the audacity and the hypocrisy involved. See Householder campaign ad: “I am a Christian Conservative.” He is armed and ready to fight for his rights!, he tells us. His rights to what? Steal and cheat the Ohio people he is sworn to serve?
How did these men (all men, no women) think they were going to get away with it? Maybe I’m just out of the loop, maybe there is far more corruption than I realize, so that it is possible, and likely, to do this sh/# and get away with it.
Or is it that personalities like Householder (and Trump) don’t see things accurately, but just thru their own eyes thru which they can do no wrong and get all they want?
Thanks Mark for the comment. All comments welcomed!
SOLIDARITY ON SATURDAY: Show Your Support. No Justice, No Peace.
Around THE NATION and THE WORLD Huge Rallies of Protest Against Racial Injustice are occurring. Please show your support and outrage in ways that you feel safe. Here in Columbus, Ohio, rally and march at Statehouse 10 am.
These are hard times.
Worldwide Pandemic. The Covid Virus causes over 100,000 deaths in a three month period in the U.S. Significant and justified societal shutdown as response to halt or slow the transmission. It’s a nasty, vicious illness to have, in many cases, even if you do survive. Fear. I’m frightened that I may die: I’m fairly old; I have poor lungs. I’m an asthmatic—I know what it is like to not breath! Each day about 30 to 40 people die here in Ohio from Covid. Yes, this is very, very, bad.
Add Donald Trump is president, with his divisiveness, arrogance, boorishness, incompetence and narcissism. He is totally unable to lead us in any time of significant need. He is part of any problem, not part of its solution. And his supporters are almost as bad, some even worse. They carry Assault Rifles at our Ohio Statehouse and shout at our sincere and conscientious Governor that he is a tyrant and like a Nazi !
Racism. In early May, a young black man is chased down by two or three white men with a rifle in Brunswick, Georgia. They think he is involved in robbery. His mother says he was jogging in his neighborhood. They go vigilante on him. In a struggle captured on video, Ahmaud Arbery is shot to death. For two months, no charges were filed by authorities.
George Floyd. Monday, in Minneapolis Minnesota, May 25, Memorial Day — the day Americans are to honor soldiers who gave their life to preserve our country and its values — a video captures a police officer casually kneeling (hands in pocket) on a man’s throat. The video does not show two other officers, hidden by a police cruiser, holdingFloyd down, one on his back, one on his legs. It is reported that he was in handcuffs. In the video Floyd is not moving, though in some versions he is heard to say, “I can’t breath.” The official police report times the restraint to have been about 8 minutes. One autopsy has stated that Floyd was dead on the scene, asphyxiation; the official autopsy is much more evasive. In the video, the restraint is shown ending with Floyd being rolled over onto a stretcher by these officers. He appears limp and lifeless.
The situation starts to explode. Thursday, two days after the murder, the videos have gone viral. Photos appear in all the major news outlets. Protests and demonstrations are occurring 25 or more cities around the U.S. As evening comes, some of them become violent.
Here in Columbus Ohio, The Police initially took a very poor approach to the protesters. They lined up in full riot gear in tactical formation, barriers in place, as if the demonstrators had to be confined and mistrusted from the start. All accounts that I have seen agree that all was very peaceful initially, then this starts to change. Two thousand demonstrators were on hand, it was estimated; my youngest daughter was there. Yes, some cops were being shouted at over the barriers at close quarters. Some water bottles were thrown at them from afar.
Bad decisions were made by police commanders on the scene. The corner of Broad Street and High Street is the center of our town. The state Capital Building stands there and just several miles up High is the huge Ohio State University campus. The intersection and Capital grounds is where most demonstrations happen. Commanders decided not to allow protesters in the street; they then tried to block several crosswalks at that intersection. Tensions rose, and videos and photos then show some individual cops starting to lash out. They pushed back, poked it the face, demonstrators in their face. More was now thrown at them, including rocks. Some officers started spraying pepper spray, and this very indiscriminately. The crowd started to break up as chaos enveloped. Various small groups of then broke off and started smashing windows, starting some fires, some looting of stores. Most just tried to remain peaceful, helpful, or leave. At least, this is the best I can make of it.
That was Friday and Saturday nights. On Friday night some of our local leaders were there; sadly, some were not. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, City Counselmen Shannon Harden and County Commissioner Kevin Boyce were there and tried to calm both police and demonstrators, and got pepper sprayed amidst the outburst. All are black, and it is worth noting that the demonstrators were clearly of all color. Our Mayor, Democrat Michael Ginther, was no where in sight until Sunday. Nor was the Police Chief Quinlin. Both are white. Beatty, Harden and Boyce all stated that the city police overreacted. Ginther tweeted a similar opinion.
On Sunday, the situation changed dramatically. Police adopted a new and less aggressive posture. It worked. Demonstrations started and stayed peaceful. Police were no longer standing in formation forebodingly in full riot gear. Demonstrators were allowed to ‘take’ the intersection and traffic was diverted. The Mayor marched with the people and police cars escorted the marchers as if a parade. (Though recently I have read a brief conflicting account that concerned late Sunday night.) Monday was similarly approached and equally peaceful.
Gaining a reasonable understanding of events, in some ways, has been difficult. I have stayed a away from the protests because I have a history of lung issues and am in my later 60’s. I do not want to die of this virus. I have marched with Black Lives Matter, in past years. But what is perfectly clear and evident from the video of the death, is the restraint should have stopped long before it was. American police officers are not judge, jury, and executioner. George Floyd was immobilized, rendered harmless, and in custody; he should not have died!
And this is where we start to seek to understand Why He Did. Why was that choke-hold, knee applied to the throat, an authorized tactic? Apparently it was. Why did none of the other three officers —now also charged with abetting in the crime — insist on its cessation? One apparently did ask, twice, if it was time “to roll him over” and Chauvin said “No”, Meaning continue.
Chauvin, himself, was a 19 year member of the Minneapolis police force, and in that time had received 18 complaints against his conduct (a high number in the opinion of some police-watchers) that resulted in two reprimands (no specifics are public), but also received two commendations. He has been involved in at least three acts of serious violence (now four) of which two involved discharging his weapon and the third was an auto chase that resulted in the deaths of two bystanders killed when their car was struck by the fleeing vehicle. In the shootings, one involved several other offices and was ruled “justified use of force” and resulted in the death of the suspect. The other resulted in injury and, in the account I read, it’s victim —the perpetrator in a domestic violence incident — challenged Chaivin’s account of events contending Chauvin unjustly shot him. At least, one other complaint was for language and behavior demeaning to a suspect.
A limited amount of information is available about the Floyd incident itself. Hopefully, this will soon change. Several accounts I have seen say a 911 call came in reporting an attempted use of a counterfeit bill at a convenience store and a man outside that store who was acting erratically. A description of that man was given, and one report said that Floyd “fit that description.” Chauvin and the other three officers responded to the call.
That is all I can find about the origin of the incident. Though it should again be noted, however this incident started, that restraint went on too long. It killed Floyd when he was already securely in police custody. And, from the manner of former officer Chauvin, as caught on that video, his casual application of that degree of force seemed cold and calculated. The official County Autopsy does find both fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd’s system, though that would not seem relevant to the excessive use of force at that point in the restraint. More information to come on this, I assume. There is also a strange fact, very recent, that Floyd and Chauvin may have known each other from a night club at which each worked.
“Meanwhile”, as as Stephan Colbert used to say, back here in Columbus, only a few FACTS are crystal clear. That the Columbus Police, and especially their commanders, committed various inappropriate, ineffective and excessive acts and decisions involving use of force, seems to me indisputable. I thought they would, at this point in time, have done better. Maybe I am naive to believe that.
At a social-distanced backyard get-together, several days ago, I was ‘called out’ for defending the policeespecially by several younger members of the gathering. I mention age because it was Quite A Role Reversal for me. I have almost always been farthest to “the left” in most political discussion. Now, to find myself being told that, “I know, it’s hard to reconsider your long-held beliefs” by someone not even half my age and with not that much experience — goodness, I was alive and participated in some of the initial events in the Open Housing Movement and School Desegregation in the mid-1960’s — well, I had to try to sit calmly and hold my tongue. It reminded me of my father saying to me in about 1968 when I was a teenager, “Ever since you’ve read a couple of paperback books, you think you know everything!” I did not want to say that to them.
But I do want to end this long post, with an additional insight I believe I’ve gained. I was skeptical of some of the opinions of some of members of that gathering. It seemed to me they had been swept up in the frenzy of the moment and made some claims against the police that turned out to not be accurate, as I had suggested at the time.
One claim was that some Columbus cops had deliberately taped over their badge numbers to avoid identification. I said that if so, they, and any supervisor that knew of such practice, should be immediately disciplined. It turned out that the riot gear is old and has no badge on it; the tape stripes were to identify units and ranks.
There was a claim that police provocateurs were hidden in the crowd and secretly led the initiation of property damage. Associated with this was the claim that outsiders were involved, “Anarchists”, which led to a disagreement about what an anarchist even was these days. No facts have come forth to substantiate hidden police agents or anarchists, nor even much of an involvement by anybody other than Ohioans and mostly central Ohioans as demonstrators.
Finally, there was a video I was shown were the video-taker eventually came to believe that she had evidence of police rioting, breaking windows. I said “Please, I really hope not.” I was shown the video, and frankly could not see anything definitive, but her conclusion was clear. It turned out, apparently —because the building’s operators have rejected her interpretation– that several officers did break (more) glass to get inside and put out a mall fire that had just been started.
These are hard times. It is especially hard when Information is not clear and emotions are high. Much has been made of disinformation from “the right’, Fox News and all, but we all must carefully think through situations, talk, and try to discern what most likely happened. I have since written a short text of regret that my differences of opinion created tensions at our gathering and helped lead to a somewhat uncomfortable ending. Thankfully, they were graciously accepted. These are uncomfortable times, too.
SOLIDARITY ON SATURDAY. Participate: Show your Support for Change and Justice, in any appropriate way!
Coronavirus: not as optimistic an update as I would like. My initial post on this topic was very positive. I was proud of my Buckeye state! This one less so; not because The Virus has gotten out ahead of us, it has not. What has taken An Ugly Turn is The Political Situation!
People are still Dying! About 40 to 50 Ohioans a day, and there are over 300 new reported cases statewide. The prediction models show Ohio as Not really peaking dramatically, but at a very flattened and prolonged ‘curve’, really almost a plateau, at a very much lower rate of confirmed disease than initially thought likely. All this is good news, except –of course– for almost any amount of illness and death from an epidemic. But that is Not How Some People are Starting to See It!
On Friday (4/10), my wife and I were disturbed to hear a disruption in the background of our Governor’s and his Chief Medical Officer’s almost daily press conference: Shouting, chanting, loud and angry. Then Monday (4/13), again shouting and this time a rather plainly audible pounding noise. And this, at conferences that had been done very calmly, competently, and in a manner that has been emotionally and intellectually reassuring. We, at home watching, were told Protesters, about 100, were outside the State House here in Columbus.
Protesters were demanding our state be reopened. They called it “Tyranny” and contended their rights were being “trampled”. One even carried an AR-15 perched on his hip! Others wore Trump hats and Guy Fawkes masks and carried signs, many of them barely legible. It was a very sad contrast to the profoundly appropriate leadership that was taking place within the Capitol Building.
Upon some research, I found the protesters are affiliated with a pro-gun group, Ohio Stands United, which has now become active around the virus issue. The woman to the far left in photo (mouth open, short blond hair) was revealed to be a Republican Party candidate for the State Senate, named Melissa Ackison. Here is a sample of her rhetoric as reported in the Columbus Dispatch:
“In a time where full-on unconstitutional tyranny is on display, the president is doing exactly what the patriots elected him to do, and I knew it was only a matter of time before he would flex his muscle and authority to save Ohio from unprecedented overreach.” (my italics)
“The original model (was flawed) …the president’s condemnation of the World Health Organization’s handling this pandemic (is accurate)…that is all that the public needs to know…We have children to feed, businesses to run, employees to pay, and Ohio must end this shutdown now.”
This kind of thinking is being increasingly echoed around Ohio recently by some other Republicans, especially ironic since Governor DeWine is himself of that party. I find it frightening words such as “tyranny” are being bantered about and that these protesters and gun-lovers think of themselves as “the patriots”. Frightening that they are anxious to see Trump “flex his muscle and authority”. Sorry, but I can’t hardly keep myself from thinking of them as incipient fascists.
BEATING THE VIRUS BUT NOT DOING SO GOOD POLITICALLY, here in the O–H–I–O. Hang Tough and Think Clearly! GWW
These are frightening times, both here in Central Ohio and around the world. The news and pictures out of Italy are horrid. As the poet William Blake wrote: “To mercy, pity, peace, and love, We pray in our distress.” I have said those lines a few times lately. And the USA now has the most Covid cases in the world.
Philosophically, there is an interesting point here.HOW REAL IS SOCIETY? Is society, as a collectivity, as Real as an organism, as a collectivity? At NatieRel, we believe it is, in many important ways. Margaret Thatcher, the famous first women Prime Minister of Britain, did not. Like any good Conservative, she contended, No ‘Society’! “There are individual men and women and there are families” and that is all. I say, ‘It’s like the Virus is running a trial and it seems to be moving through us like a single body.’
Here in Ohio we are waiting for the worst of it to come. LUCKILY, we are blessed with ExcellentLocal Leadership. Our Governor and his Chief State Medical Officer have been terrific. Our state has attempted to get our in front of this epidemic and we are apparently succeeding. The National Leadership is a different story. Mr. Trump has many short-comings and currently we are in the midst of all of them.
First, briefly, this is the situation in Ohio, a state of about 12 million. As of Monday, March 30th we have 1,933 confirmed cases; 475 hospitalizations and 39 Covid deaths. Unfortunately, only about 30,000 persons have been tested for the disease, so we are told that the real number of cases far exceeds the above figure. The state is on an official Stay At Home Order. Schools have been closed for two weeks so far, and likely for the year. Many businesses have been ordered shut. We are told that in about 4 weeks —The Peak—we could have 6 to 10 thousand new cases a day, for a while!
(Governor DeWine and Dr. Amy “Action”. For a Republican administration, they have clearly placed the welfare of all Ohioans first and foremast. “DeWine, Republican for President”, you heard it here first!)
Second, a word about who is creating and delivering the message here in Ohio. This matters because They Are Believable People. I am greatly pleased with how our Governor Mike DeWine and his State Health Officer, Dr. Amy Acton, have gotten out in front of this crisis (apparently) and been so effective (apparently). Each day they have appeared at a televised press conference at about 2 pm and spoken clearly, personally and honestly about their perception of this crisis. DeWine is a Republican and it is refreshing to hear him emphasize saving lives not making money.
Acton has been the biggest surprise. Soft spoken, knowledgeable, empathetic, she has attracted a following of her own. Nicknamed, “Dr. Action”, she has handled the spotlight as calmly as if directing a 6th grade class. Acton and DeWine have each acted quickly, decisively and in a manner that exudes confidence and scientific understanding.
So, here are THE CURVES and the best I can understand them, latest available 3/27.
First, it is interesting and scary to see our lives so significantly laid out on an X and Y axis. The scientific world view is laying down a significant wager, a prediction, and its credibility is “on the line”, two lines. Already we have charlatans, refusing to accept this scientific prediction, while living their life based on scientific and technological achievements.
The white curve is where epidemiological forecasters at The Cleveland Clinic and The Ohio State University see Ohio now. This is the rate of infection at our current “mitigated” state. “Mitagated” meaning “shut down”, “Social Distanced”, tested and quarantined if necessary, way of life. The yellow curve is how this infectious disease “would have run its course” without mitigation.
It seems a little like ‘armchair quarterbacking’, to sit in our current position and say “Whew, look what we just avoided!” But they have the data that past viruses ran that course. The yellow curve shows the whole epidemic lasting about ONE MONTH, and that being March! We would have been almost ‘OVER’ it! Except for “sweeping up all the pieces” and they would have been massive and horrendous!
On the yellow curve, the peakwould have been around 50,000 new cases A DAY (!) and lasted for only a few days. What Dr. Acton has repeatedly commented is that Hospital Capacity is currently about 1/6th that amount! This virus has fairly consistently shown about a 1/4th hospitalization rate of thosesick and almost a 1/10th Intensive Care rate! The ICUs would have been totally overrun, as they are currently overrun in Italy and Spain.
The Same Curves Again, now to focus on the Mitigated (White) Curve.
Dr. “Action” likes this curve much better! The white curve is what we actually are on, not a prediction of what would have been. It shows a Much Longer but Less Severe outbreak, maybe two months in total length— latter March, through April and half of May. Acton said today, the peak will occur latter April to first of May. At its peak, they are predicting about 10,000 new cases a day, but this peak is longer, maybe a week or more. This later peak gives us time to build up Hospital Capacity and hold down the gigantic and rapid influx from the yellow curve. But, hospital capacity is still down about 1/3 to 1/2 what will be needed!
The “shadow” yellow and white curves in the background are what earlier predictions suggested and what our new data and mitigation efforts are achieving and possibly achieving. The white curve Could be flattened a little more and the peak smaller and slightly later. All good, says “Action” Amy.
One huge point has been understated thus far; How Many Ohioans Will Get It? This has not been discussed much, outright. Acton has given A Huge Range of Possibility: 40% to 70% will get sick. Now, it seems to me, that is the Colored Areas Under Each Curve. That area is not that difficult to figure mathematically, but still beyond me. It seems, the White Area is noticeably smaller then the Yellow Area. So, the white curve probably shows something closer to the 40% of Ohioans getting sick; the yellow curve predicting that upwards to 70% of Ohioans would have gotten it! So, STAY AT HOME, BUCKEYES!
So today and yesterday, the big news out of Washington D.C. is that nationallythe prediction is that from 100 to 200 Thousand Americans might die from this epidemic! Mr. Trump contends that his administration will have done well if it is kept to 100,000! I can’t keep myself from really disliking that man!
STAY SAFE EVERYONE, WHERE EVER YOU ARE!!! And thanks for Reading. I don’t know if this post has helped you understand this mess, but I feel a little clearer on it.
(I told myself when I started this blog, I said, “Self, don’t let this be about Politics. You are pretty much a politics junky,” I said, “So, don’t go there. Go deeper!” But desperate times call for desperate measures. RBG can not last forever! The passing of John McCain has left a Republican Party with no moral rudder! Trump has murdered Kurds and attacked a foreign power (Iran)! And our Dem party candidates are being foolish on the national stage. Help! Here is a proposal but forward by two of our most respected Liberal Commentators: Thomas Friedman and E.J. Dione. It’s probably far fetched, but we need some kind of Knight in Shining Armor, or two, to come a’ridin! Or “you can kiss the America you grew up in goodbye.”)
Dems, You Can Defeat Trump in a Landslide
By Thomas Friedman, NY Times, approximately 2/27
If this election turns out to be just between a self-proclaimed socialist and an undiagnosed sociopath, we will be in a terrible, terrible place as a country. How do we prevent that?
My short answer is that the Democrats have to do something extraordinary — forge a national unity ticket the likes of which they have never forged before. And that’s true even if Democrats nominate someone other than Bernie Sanders.
What would this super ticket look like? Well, I suggest Sanders — and Michael Bloomberg, who seems to be his most viable long-term challenger — lay it out this way:
“I want people to know that if I am the Democratic nominee these will be my Cabinet choices — my team of rivals. I want Amy Klobuchar as my vice president. Her decency, experience and moderation will be greatly appreciated across America and particularly in the Midwest. I want Mike Bloomberg (or Bernie Sanders) as my secretary of the Treasury. Our plans for addressing income inequality are actually not that far apart, and if we can blend them together it will be great for the country and reassure markets. I want Joe Biden as my secretary of state. No one in our party knows the world better or has more credibility with our allies than Joe. I will ask Elizabeth Warren to serve as health and human services secretary. No one could bring more energy and intellect to the task of expanding health care for more Americans than Senator Warren.
“I want Kamala Harris for attorney general. She has the toughness and integrity needed to clean up the corrupt mess Donald Trump has created in our Justice Department. I would like Mayor Pete as homeland security secretary; his intelligence and military background would make him a quick study in that job. I would like Tom Steyer to head a new Cabinet position: secretary of national infrastructure. We’re going to rebuild America, not just build a wall on the border with Mexico. And I am asking Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark, to become secretary of housing and urban development. Who would bring more passion to the task of revitalizing our inner cities than Cory?…”
If Bernie or Bloomberg or whoever emerges to head the Democratic ticket brings together such a team of rivals, I am confident it will defeat Trump in a landslide.But if progressives think they can win without the moderates — or the moderates without the progressives — they are crazy. And they’d be taking a huge risk with the future of the country by trying.
Veteran political analyst E.J. Dionne, in his valuable new book, “Code Red: How Progressives and Moderates Can Unite to Save Our Country,” got this exactly right: We have no responsible Republican Party anymore. It is a deformed Trump personality cult. If the country is going to be governed responsibly, that leadership can come only from Democrats and disaffected Republicans courageous enough to stand up to Trump. It is crucial, therefore, argues Dionne, that moderate and progressive Democrats find a way to build a governing coalition together.
Neither can defeat the other. Neither can win without the other. Neither can govern without the other.
If they don’t join together — if the Democrats opt for a circular firing squad — you can kiss the America you grew up in goodbye.
(I feel obligated to forward this for your consideration. For the sake of our planet and our sanity, I thank the NYTimes and Paul Krugman for allowing this use — Times 12/12/2019. Krugman has always been one of my favorite commentators. He is the Nobel Prize winner for Economics in 2008 for his modelling of international trade. This column reads smoothly and quickly. It is a short, devastating and dire analysis of Climate Change and the American Republican Party. ‘God save us’, for surely we will not save ourselves, GWW)
The Party That Ruined the Planet: Republican climate denial is even scarier than Trumpism.
by Paul Krugman
The most terrifying aspect of the U.S. political drama isn’t the revelation that the president has abused his power for personal gain. If you didn’t see that coming from the day Donald Trump was elected, you weren’t paying attention.
No, the real revelation has been the utter depravity of the Republican Party. Essentially every elected or appointed official in that party has chosen to defend Trump by buying into crazy, debunked conspiracy theories. That is, one of America’s two major parties is beyond redemption; given that, it’s hard to see how democracy can long endure, even if Trump is defeated.
However, the scariest reporting I’ve seen recently has been about science, not politics. A new federal report finds that climate change in the Arctic is accelerating, matching what used to be considered worst-case scenarios. And there are indications that Arctic warming may be turning into a self-reinforcing spiral, as the thawing tundra itself releases vast quantities of greenhouse gases.
Catastrophic sea-level rise, heat waves that make major population centers uninhabitable, and more are now looking more likely than not, and sooner rather than later.
But the terrifying political news and the terrifying climate news are closely related.
Why, after all, has the world failed to take action on climate, and why is it still failing to act even as the danger gets ever more obvious? There are, of course, many culprits; action was never going to be easy.
But one factor stands out above all others: the fanatical opposition of America’s Republicans, who are the world’s only major climate-denialist party. Because of this opposition, the United States hasn’t just failed to provide the kind of leadership that would have been essential to global action, it has become a force against action.
And Republican climate denial is rooted in the same kind of depravity that we’re seeing with regard to Trump.
As I’ve written in the past, climate denial was in many ways the crucible for Trumpism. Long before the cries of “fake news,” Republicans were refusing to accept science that contradicted their prejudices. Long before Republicans began attributing every negative development to the machinations of the “deep state,” they were insisting that global warming was a gigantic hoax perpetrated by a vast global cabal of corrupt scientists.
And long before Trump began weaponizing the power of the presidency for political gain, Republicans were using their political power to harass climate scientists and, where possible, criminalize the practice of science itself.
Perhaps not surprisingly, some of those responsible for these abuses are now ensconced in the Trump administration. Notably, Ken Cuccinelli, who as attorney general of Virginia engaged in a long witch-hunt against the climate scientist Michael Mann, is now at the Department of Homeland Security, where he pushes anti-immigrant policies with, as The Times reports, “little concern for legal restraints.”
But why have Republicans become the party of climate doom? Money is an important part of the answer: In the current cycle Republicans have received 97 percent of political contributions from the coal industry, 88 percent from oil and gas. And this doesn’t even count the wing nut welfare offered by institutions supported by the Koch brothers and other fossil-fuel moguls.
However, I don’t believe that it’s just about the money. My sense is that right-wingers believe, probably correctly, that there’s a sort of halo effect surrounding any form of public action. Once you accept that we need policies to protect the environment, you’re more likely to accept the idea that we should have policies to ensure access to health care, child care, and more. So the government must be prevented from doing anything good, lest it legitimize a broader progressive agenda.
Still, whatever the short-term political incentives, it takes a special kind of depravity to respond to those incentives by denying facts, embracing insane conspiracy theories and putting the very future of civilization at risk.
Unfortunately, that kind of depravity isn’t just present in the modern Republican Party, it has effectively taken over the whole institution. There used to be at least some Republicans with principles; as recently as 2008 Senator John McCain co-sponsored serious climate-change legislation. But those people have either experienced total moral collapse (hello, Senator Graham) or left the party.
The truth is that even now I don’t fully understand how things got this bad. But the reality is clear: Modern Republicans are irredeemable, devoid of principle or shame. And there is, as I said, no reason to believe that this will change even if Trump is defeated next year.
The only way that either American democracy or a livable planet can survive is if the Republican Party as it now exists is effectively dismantled and replaced with something better — maybe with a party that has the same name, but completely different values. This may sound like an impossible dream. But it’s the only hope we have.