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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

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We need a new way to measure COVID

We need a new way to measure COVID
By Abdul El-Sayed

(Detroit Metro Times) Throughout the pandemic, Europe has been a harbinger of what’s coming next on this side of the pond. And across Europe, COVID cases are climbing. In the U.K., the current weekly average looks like it did on Christmas of 2020, during the country’s worst surge. The Netherlands is experiencing a pandemic record high in cases right now.

Last week, in the U.S., after months of declines, cases started to climb. It’s only natural to be concerned when cases of a pandemic disease start to go up. After the massive holiday surge last year, it’s not surprising that the news of increasing cases as we prepare for Thanksgiving would set off alarm bells. But there’s another way that Europe’s experience should be instructive: COVID deaths are substantially lower than they have been in the past.

As our anti-COVID armament changes, looking simply at mounting case rates is giving us an increasingly distorted picture of the state of the pandemic. We’ve now reached a place where we need a better way to measure it.

Take the U.K., for example. Despite the same number of cases as they experienced last Christmas, the U.K. is experiencing only 27% as much mortality. In the Netherlands, even with record-setting case rates, mortality is only a quarter as high as it was during the next highest case surge over the holidays last year.

The main reason, of course, is vaccines. Though we tend to think of vaccines as reducing case transmission, vaccines were always intended to reduce symptomatic illness. And they do — which is why the mortality rate is so low across Europe. There’s also a lot more testing now. We’re no longer in the Bad Old Days of 2020 when we simply couldn’t catch up with the glut in COVID tests. Today, testing is done quickly, simply, and cheaply. In the U.K., they offer every single person two rapid tests per week. Increased testing means that more of the asymptomatic cases we might have missed in the past are counted alongside symptomatic ones. ..............(more)


Florida Man, Paul Mitchell, Arrested After Sushi Flipping Rampage

Florida man is at again, this time for going on a sushi throwing rampage in a hibachi buffet line.

According to an arrest affidavit, Mitchell, 52, entered the Hibachi Buffet in Pinellas Park and was not happy at all, to see the sushi he wanted on Saturday, was not being served.

Police say that Mitchell became angry and started flipping several plates of sushi that were on the hibachi buffet line. ..............(more)


Florida Man Allegedly Plays With Self On Ring Camera

DELRAY BEACH, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — A Delray Beach man allegedly satisfied himself multiple times in front of his neighbor’s Ring doorbell camera. The sessions were captured on video and ultimately turned over to police.

Robert Grafton of Brandon Drive allegedly was the man performing on the Ring video. It’s unclear from prosecutors if he’ll get off.

From the Delray Beach Police report:

“The Ring camera captured the subject four separate times masturbating. In the first video which is captured at 0312 hours, the subject is seen approaching the residence from the north side completely naked. The subject is seen holding his penis in his right hand and performing a stroking motion with the hand as he walks closer to the residence and appeared to be looking through the front door window. The subject continues the act and then turns around and leaves the property.

The second video shows the subject already standing in front of the residence clothed in a white and blue robe and performing the same stroking motion as he hold his penis in his right hand. Video #3 and #4 shows the subject already on the property and wearing the same white and blue robe and performing the same act of stroking his penis with his right hand. ....................(more)


Public transportation sees record success at ballot box in 2021

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) reports that voters in all regions of the country on Election Day last week continued to voice their support for public transit by approving five out of five state and local measures supporting public transit on the ballot.

The results were made official as the final votes were counted for a Gilbert, Ariz., bond initiative this weekend. Election day’s five measures add to five other public transit measures already passed by voters this year, bringing this year’s total to 10 out of 10 wins for public transit, a 100 percent win rate.

One outstanding measure for the year, in Baton Rouge, La., will be considered by voters on Nov. 13. Should that measure pass, 2021 will be public transit’s first 100 percent success record at the ballot box.

“Even as times and circumstances change, what remains consistent is the voting public’s understanding that public transportation is critical to the future of their communities and part of a forward-looking vision,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “The 100 percent approval rate for year-to-date ballot measures certainly underscores that. Even in uncertain times, communities of all sizes see public transportation and its numerous benefits as vital to the social and economic recovery of our nation.” ..............(more)


People testing negative for Covid-19 despite exposure may have 'immune memory'

(Guardian UK) We all know that person who, despite their entire household catching Covid-19, has never tested positive for the disease. Now scientists have found an explanation, showing that a proportion of people experience “abortive infection” in which the virus enters the body but is cleared by the immune system’s T-cells at the earliest stage meaning that PCR and antibody tests record a negative result.

About 15% of healthcare workers who were tracked during the first wave of the pandemic in London, England, appeared to fit this scenario.

The discovery could pave the way for a new generation of vaccines targeting the T-cell response, which could produce much longer lasting immunity, scientists said.

Leo Swadling, an immunologist at University College London and lead author of the paper, said: “Everyone has anecdotal evidence of people being exposed but not succumbing to infection. What we didn’t know is whether these individuals really did manage to completely avoid the virus or whether they naturally cleared the virus before it was detectable by routine tests.”

The latest study intensively monitored healthcare workers for signs of infection and immune responses during the first wave of the pandemic. Despite a high risk of exposure 58 participants did not test positive for Covid-19 at any point. However, blood samples taken from these people showed they had an increase in T-cells that reacted against Covid-19, compared with samples taken before the pandemic took hold and compared with people who had not been exposed to the virus at all. They also had increases in another blood marker of viral infection. ............(more)


Michigan State University fires staff, suspends students who refused COVID-19 vaccine

(Detroit News) The state's two largest universities are sanctioning students and staff who refuse to comply with COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Michigan State University has fired at least two employees and suspended 16 students for refusing to get vaccinated. The University of Michigan could soon follow suit. The school has put "less than 10 staff members" on 30-day, unpaid leave, university spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen said Tuesday. She wouldn't be more specific.

UM has also placed academic holds on 422 accounts of students who are not vaccinated. Employees who aren't vaccinated or don't receive approval for an exemption by Dec. 8 will be fired, Broekhuizen said, and students with an academic hold cannot register for classes for the next term.

MSU and UM were among the first universities to announce in late July that a COVID- 19 vaccine or an exemption would be required for all students and staff for the fall semester. Both universities set deadlines for compliance at the end of August. MSU and UM's three campuses were among seven of the 15 public universities to require the vaccine, along with Wayne State and Grand Valley State universities. ............(more)


Another Republican ensnared? Rep. Darrell Issa may be implicated in Fortenberry scandal

(Salon) The federal case against Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb. — who was indicted last month on charges of lying to federal investigators and concealing information about illegal campaign donations — appears to have ensnared another Republican congressman. The Department of Justice stated last week that a protective order was "necessary" in the Fortenberry case to protect "evidence related to sensitive and ongoing investigations, including those related to public officials."

One public official in question, who is identified in court filings only as "Candidate C," is Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican who is now the apparent target of a DOJ investigation — and may indeed have been the object of a sting operation. Issa retired from Congress in 2018 after serving nine terms from a Southern California district, but then moved to an adjoining district in San Diego County and was narrowly elected in 2020. The former CEO of an after-market auto accessories company called Directed Electronics, Issa has an estimated net worth of $250 million and is one of the richest members of the House.

On Sept. 10, 2014, Issa dined at the same table with Gilbert Chagoury, a shadowy figure identified as a "foreign billionaire" in the charges against Fortenberry, at a Washington event hosted by the group In Defense of Christianity (IDC). Two weeks later, Issa's campaign and the National Republican Congressional Committee received a total of $60,000 in donations, on the same day, from Dr. Elias Ayoub and his wife Mireille, an affluent Los Angeles couple who had also attended the IDC dinner. According to documents filed with the Justice Department, the $30,000 that went to Issa's victory fund actually came from Chagoury, a Nigerian citizen who may not legally contribute to federal candidates. ..............(more)


Still hate Hillary? Get over it: She was right about Trump then -- and she's right now

Still hate Hillary? Get over it: She was right about Trump then — and she's right now
It's time for a common front with political enemies — if they're willing to stand up against fascism, that is


(Salon) If you still hate Hillary Clinton for some reason, time to get over it. She was right about Donald Trump and his movement in 2016, and she's right now.

During the presidential campaign five years ago, Clinton made the simple observation that a large percentage of Donald Trump's followers could be considered a "basket of deplorables" because of their racism, white supremacy, nativism, misogyny, religious hatred and other retrograde antisocial values and beliefs.

As I wrote here several weeks ago, "In many ways, Clinton was too kind. If anything, she underestimated how many Americans were in fact committed and enthusiastic human deplorables":

After that speech, Clinton was pilloried by the mainstream news media, some leading Democrats, and of course the Republican Party and right-wing propaganda hate machine. Clinton's characterization of Trump's "basket of deplorables" was described as insensitive and unfair to the "white working class" Americans that elites and out-of-touch Democrats had too often ignored.

That reaction to Clinton's truth-telling helped to legitimate Trumpism and American neofascism (operating under the mask of "populism" ) as something that was reasonable and understandable, rather than as a manifestation of racial resentment, a racist temper tantrum and a declaration of white supremacy. This reflected our society's deep investment in a narrative of white racial innocence. In that logic, America is a great and exceptional country, and by implication, this is especially true of white people — especially those "real Americans" whose supposed patriotism and presumed Christian values render them a bit more American than anyone else.

In the weeks since then, evidence has only mounted on the seriousness of the Trump regime's coup plot and how close the United States came to succumbing to a Republican fascist revolution. That coup attempt has not ended. Indeed, it is escalating, and America is fast approaching a point of no return. ..................(more)


Florida Man + Airport + Alcohol

Nov. 2—A Florida man on vacation on St. Thomas was arrested after causing a disturbance at the airport, according to an affidavit filed by a V.I. Port Authority officer.

Erik M. Isaksson was arrested Saturday at King Airport after the officer heard a loud disturbance and found Isaksson screaming obscenities at airline passengers and employees while walking toward the airport bar, according to the affidavit.

In his hands, Isaksson was holding a bottle of vodka and his shoes, and he had a shirt tied around his neck "like a scarf" and no mask, according to the affidavit. He sat down and put the liquor and shoes on a table.

The officer asked Isaksson to put on his shirt, shoes and a mask, which caused him to yell more obscenities, and another officer attempted to defuse the situation and escort Isaksson across the street by removing his alcohol and shoes from the table, according to the affidavit. ........(more)


Virginia election: Democrats left listless without Donald Trump

Virginia election: Democrats left listless without Donald Trump
Youngkin didn't need Trump for a bigotry-based campaign, but McAuliffe couldn't get out deflated voters without him


(Salon) Tuesday's Virginia race is the fertile soil from which a thousand hot takes will bloom, but in the end, it really did come down to voter enthusiasm. People who voted for Donald Trump in 2020 were fired up and ready to vote for Glenn Youngkin. It's not because they are infatuated with the milquetoast mini-Trump in a sweater vest. It's because they were drunk on racist hysterics and eager to stick it to the Democrats. A lot of people who voted for Joe Biden in 2020 — 33% — however, stayed home. Meanwhile, Republicans only saw a 15% drop-off in turnout.

In the end, Youngkin got 85% of the vote share Trump got the year before, and Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe only 66% of Biden's 2020 share. Swing voters exist, but they are a small percentage of voters. This election came down — as they often do — to turnout. Republicans turned out and Democrats, about a third of them, did not.

This was all entirely predictable.

Republicans are reliably easy to rile up with two main weapons: bigotry and resentment of liberals. The performative freakout over trans rights and "critical race theory" in public schools was built on easily debunked lies, and will be dropped the second it's no longer electorally useful. But none of that matters, because Republicans live in a cloistered media ecosystem where kids reading "Beloved" in high school and imaginary rapists-in-dresses jumping strangers in the bathroom are treated like far more pressing threats to society than climate change or wealth inequality.

One thing the Virginia race does end is the debate over whether there can be a Trumpism without Trump. The answer is a very definitive "yes." ...............(more)


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