Well…not actually *new* wildlife, just a whole ‘nother side of the wildlife we already know about and have shown before. But ya’ll are gonna have to wait jus’ a bit for that.
There are a few ongoing stories in the news that need a little commenting on…although I gotta admit reading the comments on the articles is usually more entertaining than the articles themselves…folks on both sides of whatever argument the article brings up say blindingly stupid things and tie themselves into knots insulting the other commenters.
First…the corona virus. Now naturally…if you read the news it is all the President’s fault, he has completely botched the response, he’s opening the country against medical advice, and will be responsible for 100s of thousands of additional deaths due to his incompetence.
The trouble is…the reality is probably a lot more nuanced than what you read in the news…but that’s not unexpected since there is very little politically unbiased news these days…the Wall Street Journal is about the only one left and they don’t really cover all the news one might like to read…so you read a bunch of different web site and try to sift out the bull dung and keep just the few kernels of fact that are presented…then take the bits of fact from here, there, and wherever and try to figure out the real facts and come to your own conclusions. Real journalism…where the journalist just tells you the facts…is sorely lacking these days…and I don’t think the conservative view that the overall main stream media is leftist is far off the mark. Fox and the National Review tend to skew the other way but the headlines are largely lefty and Democratic leaning.
I’ll be the first to admit that the President’s response hasn’t been perfect…he’s said some dumb things, and he’s given a non technical version of several other things that have been ridiculed by the press generally…but the reality is that no government in the world has been adequately prepared for the virus or has taken foolproof actions.
It is important for public health to try and flatten the curve and not overwhelm the medical system…but flattening the curve doesn’t mean not losing any lives…it means losing them at a lower rate so that the medical system can keep up and perhaps lower the death rate of the seriously ill but not terminal ill patients. To this end…closing a lot of businesses, states, and whatnot temporarily is the right idea. However…any President has more to worry about than public health…he’s gotta worry about the economy, world situations, keep the peace, deploy the armed forces where necessary to either assist with public health or confront potential adversaries, protect our national interests…in other words a lot of stuff.
What is not correct in our view is the one size fits all approach to quarantining. Yes…NYC has had severe problems, 325K cases and a lot of deaths (28,000)…but then NYC is a crowded, densely populated area where it’s hard to not get exposed. On the other hand WY has 688 cases and 7 deaths and SD 3700 cases and 39 deaths…those two states clearly have not had a serious outbreak but the entire country is pretty much shut down, millions are off work and not collecting paychecks, and that lack of money flows back into paying rent/mortgage, buying food and all the other normal uses for your paycheck. The President has to consider all these factors and make the best overall decision for the country.
We can’t stay closed until we have a widely available vaccine for this virus…that will take a long time, somewhere between 6 months and 3 years depending on who you believe, how much money gets tossed at the problem, and how much streamlining of the approval process the FDA is willing to approve. So given that…we need to figure out how to get the economy restarted and people back to work. I won’t pretend to have all the answers but a cookie cutter approach simply won’t work. I’m not even sure that the federal government has the authority to make national decisions in any event…if you read the constitution public health really falls into that ‘all other powers are reserved to the states’ clause there which is why governors in different states are trying to…again…make the best decision for their state given numbers of cases and all those other factors.
Nonetheless…it’s all the President’s fault…even though in reality it’s not.
I’ve seen several reports in the media this week that tout what a great job Governor Cuomo of NY is doing and what a horrible job Governor Desantis of FL is doing…one is a Democrat and one is Republican so let’s look at the overall epidemic for both states.
NY has a population of 20 million of which 18 million are in the NYC metropolitan area. The state has roughly 325,000 cases and 28,000 deaths for a death rate of 0.86 percent with almost all of the cases and deaths in the metro area, the remainder of the state has been relatively unaffected. Now that rates is actually a bogus number…we wont’ know the true number of deaths or the true number of cases until way after the crisis is over (if even then) because the number of cases only counts confirmed cases by diagnostic test. It does not include the unknown number of minor to no symptom cases that never got a test but recovered on their own which would drive the percentage down…but it’s the best guess we can get currently.
FL has a population of 22 million but it’s more spread out over the state, about 7 million live in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties and it approaches 10 million if you count the next two most populous counties. FL has 42,000 cases and 1,800 deaths for a death rate of 4.2 percent, about 5x that of NY.
What the numbers don’t include is the fact that FL has a much larger percentage of old people with preexisting health conditions…particularly in the most populous 3 counties. In actual numbers though…looking at the state population NY has lost 0.14% of their population while FL has lost 0.008%…an order of magnitude smaller than NY.
One can measure the statistics a whole bunch of ways…but all you see in the media is what a great job Cuomo is doing and what a horrible job Desantis is doing. Again though…the reality is that neither of them is as doing as good as their proponents say or as bad as their opposition says…but the miscues by Mr. Cuomo get pretty much ignored by the media.
Speaking of corona…today…May 14…is celebrated in the Roman Catholic Chuch as the feast of Saint Corona…who…I kid you not…is the patron saint of epidemics. Saint Corona lived in the 2nd century CE and was martyred by the Romans for comforting a previous martyr during their death. She was tied between two palm trees that were bent to the ground and then released to tear her apart. King Otto the 3rd of Germany brought her remains to Achen Cathedral in Achen Germany in the late 900s where she was buried in a tomb under the cathedral until she was moved to a shrine in the 20th century. Achen Cathedral…for those of you who aren’t up on your ancient history…is also the burial place of Emperor Charlemagne…who just happens to be Neil’s 33rd great grandfather…so as Connie said today she married into royalty.
OK, moving on.
As you may have seen…a woman named Tara Reade has accused presidential candidate Joe Biden of sexual assault back in 1993. While this will remain a he said/she said story since there is no conclusive evidence or video to back up her claims…she does seem to have a much better case evidence wise than Ms. Blasey Ford did against Judge Kavanaugh. She has contemporary witnesses who corroborate her claim, there is legal evidence from her divorce in 1997 or so by her husband who said that she told him she was assaulted, and employment records bear out her employment by his Senate office and she was abruptly demoted and then terminated in 1993.
As I said…another he said/she said story but there are two significant differences.
First…assuming both her claim and Ms. Blasey Ford’s are both true…there is a world of difference between sexual contact between two drunk high schoolers and sexual contact between a sitting 50 year old US Senator and a member of his staff in the workplace.
Second…where is the outrage. The Me Too crowd, Democratic National Committee, and senior Democratic leadership have been conspicuously silent regarding demands for an FBI investigation, no televised congressional hearings have been conducted, and there has been no “believe women” outcry. Numerous Democratic leaders…including those who publicly demanded the summary execution of Judge Kavanaugh…have come out in support of Mr. Biden. He of course has denied that it ever happened…exactly as Judge Kavanaugh did…and Democratic leadership and potential vice presidential selections are lining up saying “I believe him and don’t believe Ms. Reade”.
How is this not simple hypocrisy? I dunno…maybe somebody can ‘splain it to me.
Finally…there’s the “innocent man of color who was brutally murdered by those crackers in GA…Ahmaud Arbery. Again…if you read the news it is hard to figure out the actual facts and there are a bunch of demonstrably inaccurate claims by both sides. But briefly…
In the state of GA…the law allows citizens arrests to happen under certain circumstances…and depending on how you read and interpret the applicable law…the armed citizens may or may not have crossed the line by detaining Mr. Arbery. Depending on who you believe, which videos you’ve seen, and your political persuasion…Mr. Arbery may or may not have been jogging either 2, 13, or 20 miles from his home (again depending on who you believe) and was simply minding his own business…or he may have been casing the joint for a later burglary.
However…Mr. Arbery did legally trespass, and potentially break and enter depending on the state of the door…into a house under construction shortly before the confrontation. There was also previous videotape from earlier instances of someone trespassing into the same house under construction at various times between October 2019 and Mar 2020 when the confrontation happened…and while this video has not not been forensically examined…it is on the Internet and the individual in it has clothing, size, physical characteristics, and tattoos almost identical to Mr. Arbery.
Mr. Arbery is also a convicted criminal…he tried to carry a firearm into a high school basketball game back in 2010 or so…and was on probation at the time of the confrontation for burglary.
Now…none of that proves anything…but you can clearly see from the video that while he had no firearm of his own during the confrontation…he did charge the armed citizens and had his hands on the firearm trying to take it away from them at the time he was shot…so he was legally armed during the confrontation. The armed citizens were also legally armed and conducting a citizens arrest that arguably was legal under GA law…but the nuances of citizens arrest are far too complex for me to try to (a) figure out and (b) explain them clearly.
Another he said/he said story…naturally the left and folk like Ben Crump and Al Sharpton are calling it the “illegal lynching of an innocent black jogger” while the far right are calling it “apprehending a criminal” but all of that will get worked out in court at some point. There is also the alleged suppression of prosecution by several DAs in the area when actually it appears that they recused themselves because they know and used to work with the armed citizens.
Having looked at the video…at least the parts easily available on the interwebs…it appears to me that Mr. Arbery did charge the guy with the gun…and initiated the physical part of the confrontation…instead of just continuing on his way. Did he panic because as a criminal on probation he didn’t want to go back to jail? Was he afraid for his life? Who knows, certainly not me.
So what should you take away from these comments about the sad state of our media. Simple…don’t read a single source…read both ones that you agree with and those you don’t agree with and try to ferret out the nuggets of fact from the chaff of political bias…and form your own opinion.
We’ve really not done much ‘round here since my last post…Neil is trying to get at least an hour or so a day trying to clean/organize the garage so we can actually use it for a garage should we desire to. I’m not sure we’ll be able to keep it empty enough to store both cars in it once we sell the rig and truck and Neil gets something to drive…guess that will depend on what he gets and how much he can reorganize the stuff out there.
He’s been biking pretty much every other day or so…at least until this week since his bike is in the shop getting the broken spoke replaced (the odds he could properly get the wheel trued up after replacing the spoke are essentially zero, not to mention he doesn’t have either the parts or the special tool for removing the gear cassette from the rear wheel)…and it’s getting an annual tuneup and chain/gear cassette replacement while it is in the shop. Hopefully it will be ready as scheduled tomorrow and he can go pick it up.
We continue to have really good meals…there are enough groceries available in the store and he’s imaginative enough to keep us from getting bored with what we eat.
Connie is working on getting our wall artwork sorted out and distributed around the house leaning on the wall where it will be eventually hung…once she’s done they’ll see if he has any suggestions for improvement but otherwise he is largely leaving the arrangement up to her.
OK…wildlife…yeah, I know it was a couple thousand words back…but work with me here.
We’ve previously had some shots of the turtles in our pond out back but today’s shot is of one of the females…we now know them to be Florida Softshell Turtles…laying her eggs. We noticed something tossing sand up in the air and took a look with our spyglass and spotted her so Neil headed out to get a shot.
Ya can’t see the eggs poppin’ out…or is that poopin’ out, I dunno…but trust me, they’re there as that’s pretty much the only reason she would crawl up almost into the woods about 8 or 10 feet above water level and toss sand into the air. After she was done…she scraped some sand over the top and headed back for the water about 25 feet away. Before she was there the birds where there digging up the nest with their beaks to eat the eggs…Neil spotted a couple of mockingbirds and a crow/raven/grackle…he wasn’t sure which and didn’t have the camera out any longer so he could get a shot he could carefully compared to his Peterson’s Birds of North America.
And while we can’t have any new Fun Stuff©…here are a couple of shots of old Fun Stuff© to satisfy your craving.
This is a lighthouse in New Brunswick from our trip there in 2018…he got himself a new photo processing app to go with Lightroom and it allows you to easily replace the sky…so he replaced it with a less boring sky than the original shot had.
Here’s what it looked like before…but he figured taking some of the cars and folks out of the image as well as replacing the boring overcast sky with how it might have looked the day before or the day after he was there.
This is…I think…it’s really hard to tell them apart unless they are sitting side by side and then overall size is the clue as female bald eagles are larger than males…M15. There is a section on their website
here that details how to tell them apart…but again unless you’re either an expert ornithologist or they’re side by side the differences are very subtle. M15 is Harriet’s second mate after Ozzie passed away…guess that makes her a cougar…and this is the 5th year they’ve been together and the first that they tried again after losing both of the eggs from the first mating/hatching…one never hatched and the other died to an injury in the nest possibly inadvertently inflicted by one of the parents.
We have found some great entertainment while under house arrest…Alton Brown and his wife Elizabeth have a live YouTube show every week on Tuesday at 7PM EDT called Quarantine Kitchen. They drink, sing, drink, cook, drink, and eat something…this week it was pizza…but they used kale pesto for the sauce and kale and onions for the topping (she’s supposedly a vegetarian). Check it out if you’re bored. We get it on our Xfinity X1 account since it has YouTube built in, just search for Alton Brown YouTube Channel with the voice activated remote (which is pretty cool) and it shows up…but it’s also available on your Roku, Apple TV, or other electronic device of your choice that can connect to YouTube.
OK, on to Interesting Stuff found on the net or in our email.
For those of you who may…or may not…be religious…here are a couple of pointers in how to remember the differences between religions
**Protestants do not recognize the authority of the Pope
**Jews do not recognize the divinity of Jesus
**Muslims to not recognize the non-infidel-ness of any other denomination
**Baptists do not recognize each other in the liquor store
And since we always have to have an Official Whatever of Whatever We’re Talking About…if you rearrange the letters in corona you get…