Doing the Math

Respiratory Droplet, David Goodsell, 2020

Saying the quiet part out loud seems to be a thing these days. So, let’s get started here. Since last spring, when we were first vaccinated against Covid through last fall, when we were both boosted, our chances of dying from Covid have fallen significantly. Last summer saw the Delta variant surge and even now Omicron is raging out of control. Both waves of infection were followed by thousands of fatalities that were primarily borne by unvaccinated adult Americans. Numerous scientific studies have identified that the majority of the people who have died from Covid in the last six months can be correlated with voters who had supported Trump. The reason for this correlation is abundantly clear. Rightwing politicians and media have been feeding their supporters a steady diet of anti-vax propaganda, causing these people to eschew getting safely vaccinated like we did, in favor of unproven and ineffective home remedies, such as horse dewormer or their own piss. The results of these decisions by Trump supporters are that they are now dying at election demographics shifting numbers. In his recent Medium article Donald G. McNeil Jr. has laid out the math. Looking at just four battleground states, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin and Nevada, which Trump lost by just razor thin margins in 2020, McNeil lays out the math. Currently, 95% of Americans who are dying now of Covid are unvaccinated. What is less clear, is the political affiliations of the deceased, except that death rates in counties that voted for Trump in 2020 are about three times higher than the death rates in counties that went for Biden. Call this 3-to-1 split a 75% chance. McNeil writes, “Right now, about 60 Arizonans, 36 Georgians, 34 Wisconsinites and 14 Nevadans are dying of Covid each day. Seventy five percent of 95 percent of that would be minus 103 Trump voters per day — just in those four swing states. Week after week. That adds up.” McNeil surmises that Donald Trump has seen the “arithmetic on the wall”, hence his recent to advocating for the vaccines, even in the face of booing from his fans.



Today is the one-year anniversary of the former guy’s attempted coup. What do you get someone for the first anniversary of their coup attempt? I think that a subpoena is the traditional gift for the occasion. Yesterday, we watched Attorney General Merrick Garland’s live streamed speech that he gave on insurrection eve. The gist of his talk was this, “I got this.” This from the man who never had a leak while investigating them, convicted both the Oklahoma City bombers and the Unabomber and never had a conviction overturned on appeal. A longer form characterization of his speech is that we have already made great progress capturing and convicting the little fish involved in last year’s attack on the Capitol. We will continue to work our way up the food chain and no one who was involved in the events of that day or those that proceeded them will escape our attentions, no one. Today, we listened to first VP Kamila Harris and then President Joe Biden spoke this morning, from the US Capitol’s Statutory Hall. Harris most famously compared last January 6th as an attack upon this country no less severe than the attacks of Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Biden next took the lectern and gave a fiery speech denouncing without naming the former guy but labeling him as a defeated former president. This speech elicited another lame and lie filled communiqué from the former guy, without his social media platforms has become increasingly irrelevant. I actually took the above photo in 2019. The gathering in front of the Capitol was an NRA protest.

Lock Him Up!

Trumpty Dumpty Built a Great Wall, Brooklyn Mural

WaPo’s Josh Dawsey and David A. Fahrenthold reported today that “New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking a deposition from former president Donald Trump early next year [1/7] as part of her investigation into potential fraud inside the Trump Organization.” He’ll probably just take the fifth, even though he has famously said, “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” I say that it is about time. I have been exasperated this year as one after another of Trump and his ilk have delayed, stalled and attempted to run out the clock on any number of the investigations into his possible wrong doings. It was also reported on Twitter that AG James is abandoning her planned run for NY governor. I guess so that she can devote all of her energies into going after that man. According to the WaPo article, James is examining whether widespread fraud “permeated the Trump Organization.” The NY AG’s investigation centers on whether Trump’s company broke the law by providing low values to property tax officers, while using high ones to garner tax breaks or impress lenders. This deposition is a continuation of the same joint investigation between the NY AG and the Manhattan DA that earlier this charged Allen Weisselberg, CFO of the Trump Organization, with felony fraud. All of these fraud charges are from activities that occurred before Trump became president. In addition to these New York investigations Trump is also being investigated in Georgia for election tampering, “Find me 11,780 more votes.” And for his actions on 1/6 of this year that coincided with the looting of the Capitol. My hope is that over the next few years, he ends up spending so much of his time trapsing from one courtroom to another that he doesn’t have time to run for president again in 2024 and that he is eventually fitted for an orange jumpsuit.

Prickly Performance

Flowering Pincushion Cactus

Since the last administration vacated the Whitehouse, there has been a seemingly endless conga line of tell-all books, written by ex-staffers. Books whose unifying theme seems to be that the former guy was really as awful in-person as he seemed to be in public, or maybe even worse. Stephanie Grisham, the former press secretary who never held a press conference, has the latest entry in this line of books. One of the interesting tidbits that has been leaked from her new book, is that in order to sooth the ex-president’s terrible rages, one of his aids would play Broadway show tunes for him, until he was quieted down again. This aid, dubbed the Music Man, would routinely play the song Memory from the musical Cats, because it was a favorite song, but not just any version of this song. It had to be the version sung by Betty Buckley, the original Broadway cast’s Grizabella, who had sung it for the opening on Broadway, some forty years ago. This infatuation with her singular performance comes as no surprise to Ms. Buckley, since a cease-and-desist order had already been filed by the song’s author, Andrew Lloyd Webber, for its unauthorized use during campaign rallies in 2020. A cease-and-desist order that was totally ignored. Still, this newly revealed wrinkle must engender some additional chagrin, this work being the music used to soothe the savage beast.

In this week’s New Yorker, Adam Gopnik interviewed Buckley for an article. What I found most interesting, wasn’t anything to do with the former guy’s relationship with this song, but the struggle that Buckley had rehearsing for the part. She initially was turned down for the part, because “she looked too healthy.” The part of Grizabella is a small part, a part whose main purpose is to end the first act. Grizabella is also a sick and dying cat, who is ostracized by the other cats. Buckley eventually got the Broadway role, but throughout rehearsals the director, Trevor Nunn, kept urging her to appear “More suicidal! More suicidal!” This was in the early eighties when homelessness in New York was growing into the problem that it is today. Buckley took to observing the homeless women and found in them rather than a feeling of hopeless self-pity, a threadbare sense of dignity and grace. Internalizing these feelings, she channeled them into her singing. Just two days before opening Buckley performed before a live audience. This time when she finished singing Memory, the crowd first greeted her with silence, before erupting in roaring applause.

Infrastructure Week

Delmar Loop Trolley Construction

Otherwise know as orange barrels season. This week, in a breakthrough bipartisan agreement, it appear that Joe Biden will succeed, where the former guy only failed. I guess negotiating and cooperating with people works a lot better than bullying and name-calling them. Go, figure. In his new non-Twitter existence, the former guy issued the following longform “Tweet”:

“Hard to believe our Senate Republicans are dealing with the Radical Left Democrats in making a so-called bipartisan bill on ‘infrastructure,’ with our negotiators headed up by SUPER RINO Mitt Romney,” Trump said in one of his recent statements, functionally a long-form tweet. He added that the legislation “is a loser for the USA, a terrible deal, and makes the Republicans look weak, foolish, and dumb. … Don’t do it Republicans — Patriots will never forget! If this deal happens, lots of primaries will be coming your way!”

I’m not sure when this infrastructure bill will actually pass, because after today, Congress adjourns for its annual August recess. Having lived in DC, I can assure you getting out of town in August is a good thing to do. The same is true for here in Saint Louis. It is supposed to hit a hundred today. Anne is working the polls as an election official this Tuesday. There is only one item on the ballot, a property tax increase proposal for the community colleges. I suspect that she will be getting a lot knitting done, at the taxpayer’s expense.

Anyway, the next day, we’ll be getting the heck out of dodge and heading back north to the cabin again. We’ll be passing through Ann Arbor several times. Once on the way up north, once on the way back south, except then, we’ll take a detour to Boston, for Maren and Dave’s wedding shower. We’re flying and at the time of booking the flights, it seemed like a good idea to fly to and from Detroit. Harry’s move though occurred much more quickly than we had thought that it would. We may be able to stay at his place one more time, on the way up north, but the night before we fly to Boston and the night after we return seem more doubtful. That’s OK. Harry’s new place rents rooms for family visitors, but we might seek other accommodations. I want to see his new digs, but I’m not sure that I want to spend the night there.

Anyway, August, if not the hot weather, should be half over, before we return to town. I hope Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan works out better than Joe Edward’s trolley did. The trolley closed after a year of operation.