And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Linkee-poo when a friend came up and asked me if I had heard John Lennon had died

Chuck Yeager, and so it goes.

John Lennon, 40 years on.

"The way NASA plans to address this problem is by deploying MOXIE, or the Mars Oxygen in Situ Resource Utilization Experiment. This system is in the testing phase on the Mars Perseverance rover, which launched in July. The apparatus will convert the carbon dioxide that makes up 96% of the gas in the red planet's' atmosphere into oxygen."

"The Food and Drug Administration released a detailed analysis Tuesday morning of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech ahead of a Thursday meeting of a group of independent experts that will advise the agency on whether to grant the vaccine an emergency use authorization."

"The Trump administration passed up a chance last summer to buy millions of additional doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, a decision that could delay the delivery of a second batch of doses until the manufacturer fulfills other international contracts." The art of the deal.

"The chief scientist of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed was unable to explain President Donald Trump’s latest executive order Tuesday, which aims to prioritize shipment of the coronavirus vaccine to Americans over other countries." So shall it be written, so shall it be done.

"But days before the first COVID-19 vaccine is cleared for use, an exclusive USA TODAY Network survey of health officials in all 50 states revealed a patchwork of preparations and different distribution plans that may mean wide variations in what the rollout looks like as it expands across the nation." Ah, that "great experiment" of "innovation from the States" that conservative minds have been pushing since the 80s.

The UK starts vaccine jabs 1 day before I thought they would.

"'Do you know that I have not been tested yet?' said Turner, who is president of the Minnesota Nurses Association. 'And I have been on the front lines of the ICU since February."… 'You're kidding me!' Biden replied… She wasn't kidding." Jazz hands. I have been exposed without the proper PPE, and I have not been tested. I was only tested in a general survey for coronavirus antibodies in October (I'm negative). But hey, you know, as our leadership has told us, all the employees who have contracted COVID-19 did so outside the hospital because it's perfectly safe in the hospital. (Serious side-eye)

"Law enforcement authorities in Tallahassee, Fla., on Monday raided the home of a data scientist who had been fired by Gov. Ron DeSantis after refusing to manipulate numbers… In the months since her firing, Rebekah Jones has continued to publish coronavirus statistics independently, while also issuing warnings on Twitter and cable news. DeSantis, meanwhile, has continued to downplay the severity of the epidemic, which has killed nearly 20,000 Floridians."

"American Airlines said on Tuesday it is expanding preflight COVID-19 testing for all U.S. destinations that have travel restrictions… The test, priced at $129 which includes a medical professional virtually assisting and express shipping both ways, will be available for purchase for passengers traveling on or after Dec. 12."

"Covid-19, of course, doesn't care whether you are rich, poor, Black, white, young or old. It doesn't care whether you're about to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas or your birthday. We're told to do the right thing but not fully how or why. And what I have learned is that the "right thing" gets easier the more privileged you are… The only way we can get through this is if we have a system that works for everyone, and after having Covid-19, I'm convinced that we do not."

"U.S. productivity increased at a solid 4.6% pace in the July-September quarter, slightly below the initial estimate, while labor costs fell at a slower pace."

How goes Brexit? "Brexit talks in recent weeks have been dominated by numerous, anonymous 'sources' briefing reporters in both the U.K. and on the continent about the parlous state of negotiations aimed at clinching a post-Brexit trade deal… Both sides have accused each other of being unwilling to compromise on key issues, with sticking points and 'red lines' remaining over fishing rights, competition rules and the governance of any final deal."

"There was a breakthrough in one area, as the two sides announced they had reached agreement on how trade will work with Northern Ireland, the only part of the U.K. that shares a land border with the EU."

"India’s chief economic advisor said Tuesday that the country’s new farm reforms are designed to benefit the majority of the agricultural sector… Thousands of farmers, mostly from the northern states of Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting against three farm reforms that were enacted into law this year. Those measures are expected to chip away some of the rules that have protected Indian farmers for decades and would subject them to unfettered free-market mechanisms where private players are expected to have a greater role."

"U.S. Steel to acquire remaining stake in Big River Steel for about $774 million from cash on hand."

"President Donald Trump is on a collision course with congressional Republicans and Democrats over the annual defense policy bill, setting up what will likely be the first and only veto override of Trump’s presidency."

"Two whistle-blowers have accused contractors building President Trump’s border wall of smuggling armed Mexican security teams into the United States to guard construction sites, even building an illegal dirt road to speed the operation, according to court documents unsealed by a federal judge on Friday." If true, that would be hilarious.

"President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate retired Army General Lloyd Austin to be his first defense secretary, multiple people familiar with the plans tell CBS News. If confirmed, Austin — the former head of U.S. Central Command and military forces in Iraq — would be the first Black man to lead the Pentagon."

I'm old enough to remember when the Republican Party at least gave lip-service to the law, the "will of the people", and respected democracy and the democratic process.

"President Donald Trump's staunchest defenders on Capitol Hill are urging him not to concede even after President-elect Joe Biden wins the Electoral College vote next week, calling on their party's leader to battle it out all the way to the House floor in January as he makes unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud." With a little bit on the process of certifying the vote of the electors in Congress.

"The federal law says a state qualifies for the safe harbor protection if it has resolved 'any controversy or contest concerning the appointment of all or any of the electors.' State court cases remain active in six states that certified Biden as the winner — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin. So they may not be able to claim the protection unless their cases are resolved by Tuesday."

"Other than Wisconsin, every state appears to have met a deadline in federal law that essentially means Congress has to accept the electoral votes that will be cast next week and sent to the Capitol for counting on Jan. 6. Those votes will elect Joe Biden as the country’s next president."

"Attorneys for the Donald Trump campaign are appealing to the state Supreme Court to overrule a lower court judge and nullify Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral win in Nevada… Documents filed Monday ask the high court to reverse Judge James Todd Russell’s finding on Friday that the legal team for six Republican electors failed to prove the Nov. 3 election was swayed by fraudulent or illegal votes."

"President Donald Trump's campaign continues to press lawsuits over Pennsylvania's election, appealing another case it lost to the state Supreme Court, this time over fewer than 2,000 ballots in a suburban Philadelphia county… Meanwhile, nine state Republican lawmakers filed another lawsuit in state courts Monday, citing perceived irregularities or complaints about mail-in voting procedures, and asking the court to prevent Pennsylvania from casting its electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden. The Electoral College meets Dec. 14."

"House Majority Whip James Clyburn lambasted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday over his repeated efforts to undermine the election results in Georgia, saying his fellow South Carolinian has 'lost grip on reality.'"

"Georgia Republicans are facing a dilemma at a historic turning point in their state’s politics, having to choose between loyalty to their party and loyalty to their party’s national leader — President Trump, who will be out of office next month… At least, that’s what the election results indicate, including in their own state. But many refuse to believe it." Whackaloon quotient continues to rise.

"Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Monday that, should the justices decide to hear it, he has offered to present before the Supreme Court the merits of the case attorneys for President Trump are hoping will overturn Pennsylvania's results in the 2020 election." Oh please, please can we get this. I've been good, Santa.

"Where President Donald Trump decides to spend the final weeks of his presidency has become a matter of internal speculation as aides wonder whether he'll leave the White House for the holidays -- and never return… At this stage, there are plans for Trump to remain at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach over Christmas and New Year's, but the guidance offered to staffers ends there, people familiar with the plans said."

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