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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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Some speculate that omicron will spread fast and burn out, marking the pandemic's finale

Some speculate that omicron will spread fast and burn out, marking the pandemic's finale
The traits of omicron, and its peculiar pattern of spread in other countries, suggests that this may be the end


The incredibly rapid spread of the omicron variant has sparked fears of another long, brutal COVID wave in the United States. Yet in contrast to recent reports predicting an exacerbated pandemic, some scientists theorize that omicron's peculiar pattern of spread may actually be a sign that the pandemic is about to quickly wind down.

In less than three weeks, the omicron variant has swept through the United States. At the start of December, it accounted for fewer than 1 percent of new COVID-19 infections; by Dec. 20, it had managed to comprise more than seven out of ten new cases; by Dec. 22, it had been confirmed in all 50 states. The consensus view among experts has been that the American people should prepare for a very rough time. On Tuesday, President Biden delivered a historic address to announce new measures for helping Americans prepare for omicron's spread, most notably urging everyone to get vaccinated (including booster shots) and promising to give out free at-home coronavirus tests.

Now, some scientists believe the situation facing Americans with the omicron variant could be less dire than the early red flags indicated. Beyond that, omicron may even mark the beginning of the end — when the pandemic moves from a pandemic to an endemic phase.

Part of the reason has to do with the situation in South Africa, one of the first countries to have been overwhelmed by the omicron variant. There, in the country where doctors first discovered the mutant virus, there has been a sudden drop in infections. Gauteng, the province that researchers believe was the epicenter of the outbreak, has passed its peak of infections, while most other provinces appear to be approaching a similar point. The overall number of new COVID-19 cases in the country has declined by more than 20 percent as of Dec. 18, according to a recent report by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. ...............(more)


White supremacist Christmas: Those Boebert and Massie "gun photos" are a direct threat

White supremacist Christmas: Those Boebert and Massie "gun photos" are a direct threat
Christmas family photos bristling with guns aren't funny — they're a direct appeal to white Christian fascism


(Salon) Thomas Massie and Lauren Boebert, two of the most blatantly fascistic Republican members of Congress, are dreaming of a White Christmas — with the emphasis on "White."

In the spirit of holiday cheer, Massie and Boebert recently shared family Christmas photos on social media — in which every family member is brandishing a gun. There's nothing unique about them. Such a "tradition" is fairly common among a particular subculture of American gun fetishists and "ammosexuals." This is but another symptom of America's unhealthy infatuation with gun violence.

Many responses to Boebert and Massie's Christmas cards from the mainstream media and other public voices have struck typical notes of performative outrage and disgust. There have been complaints that Massie and Boebert's behavior is not that of "good Christians." There was anger at the timing: Both photos were posted on social media within days of a mass shooting in Michigan, in which a 15-year-old boy allegedly killed four of his classmates and injured eight more.

That should not be understood as a coincidence: The Boebert and Massie photos were intentional provocations, demonstrating cruel indifference toward the victims of gun violence, as well as their families and communities. .................(more)


Still true.......

"This Christmas season finds us a rather bewildered human race. We have neither peace within nor peace without. Everywhere paralyzing fears harrow people by day and haunt them by night. Our world is sick with war; everywhere we turn we see its ominous possibilities. And yet, my friends, the Christmas hope for peace and goodwill toward all men can no longer be dismissed as a kind of pious dream of some utopian. If we don’t have goodwill toward men in this world, we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own instruments and our own power. Wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete. There may have been a time when war served as a negative good by preventing the spread and growth of an evil force, but the very destructive power of modern weapons of warfare eliminates even the possibility that war may any longer serve as a negative good. And so, if we assume that life is worth living, if we assume that mankind has a right to survive, then we must find an alternative to war — and so let us this morning think anew on the meaning of that Christmas hope: “Peace on Earth, Good Will toward Men.” And as we explore these conditions, I would like to suggest that modern man really go all out to study the meaning of nonviolence, its philosoph.y and its strategy.

We have experimented with the meaning of nonviolence in our struggle for racial justice in the United States, but now the time has come for man to experiment with nonviolence in all areas of human conflict, and that means nonviolence on an international scale.

Now let me suggest first that if we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world. Now the judgment of God is upon us, and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools. ........"

-- Martin Luther King Jr.


Seasons Greetings, DU.

Oxford school shooting suspect's mom texted son not to kill himself, lawyers say

(Detroit Free Press) When Jennifer Crumbley texted her son "Don't do it" on the day of the deadly Oxford High School shooting, she was reaching out to tell him not to kill himself, according to a new court filing.

This detail was disclosed Wednesday in a document seeking a lower bond for Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of the shooting suspect, who are facing involuntary manslaughter charges in a novel case that seeks to hold parents responsible, in part, for a school shooting. The couple are being held on $500,000 cash bonds each. But defense lawyers have asked a judge to reduce each to $100,000 cash, arguing the couple pose no danger to the public and have long ties to the community.

Perhaps most notable is that defense attorneys expressed for the first time how the Crumbleys felt following the shooting, and why the attorneys believe the prosecution will not be able to prove its case, specifically, prove that the Crumbleys knew their son would shoot up his school with a gun they had bought him as an early Christmas present.

"The prosecution will not be able to prove that the Crumbleys ... knew their son was a danger to other students, or that they knew there was a situation that required them to take care to avoid injuring another," defense attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman wrote in the filing.


According to police and the prosecution, Ethan Crumbley was seen in class browsing for ammunition on his cellphone a day before the massacre. The next day, he was found with a note depicting a semiautomatic handgun with the words, "The thoughts won't stop. Help me," and a sketch of someone bleeding.

His parents were summoned, and a meeting with counselors and their son followed. The parents resisted taking him out of school. He was sent back to class with his backpack, which police said they believe contained the gun used in the shootings. .............(more)


Florida man with drugs around penis denies they were his


CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Florida authorities said they found cocaine and methamphetamine wrapped around a man's penis during a traffic stop, but the man denied the drugs were his.

Pinellas County sheriff's deputies said they stopped a vehicle driving without its lights on at 4 a.m. last Saturday. WFLA-TV reports the driver was arrested on charges of DUI and marijuana possession.

Authorities said they found a gun under the passenger’s seat while searching the car and discovered the drugs while searching the passenger.

The man said the drugs were not his, but didn't say who the drugs belonged to, according to the arrest report.

Trump's COVID army turns against him

Trump's COVID army turns against him
Donald Trump's lazy response to COVID just blew up in his face


(Salon) One of the most notorious moments of the presidency of Donald J. Trump has to be that visit he made to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on March 6th of 2020. COVID-19 hadn't even been named yet and the World Health Organization (WHO) hadn't yet designated it a pandemic but we all knew that something very bad was happening. Cases had shown up in Washington state and California. The whole country was riveted by the plight of a cruise ship sailing off the West Coast with sick people aboard and nowhere to moor. The president was reportedly angry about the whole thing and was resisting dealing with it but finally agreed to travel to the CDC's Atlanta headquarters for a photo-op to show his concern. It was one of the most astonishing presidential performances of all time:


But perhaps the most memorable of all was this:

You know, my uncle was a great person. He was at MIT. He taught at MIT for, I think, like a record number of years. He was a great super genius. Dr. John Trump. I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, "How do you know so much about this?" Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for President.

Those exchanges illustrated the fundamental bind Trump was in from the beginning of the crisis. He wanted to "downplay" the virus, as he admitted to Bob Woodward around that time, but he also wanted to be the very stable genius who personally solved it. So he wavered back and forth throughout, some days saying the whole thing was just going away by itself and that his political enemies were talking it up to hurt his re-election chances. On other days he promoted snake oil cures, even offering advice to scientists on what they should be researching to treat the virus, apparently convinced that he had brilliant ideas that hadn't been explored:


This week, Trump told another audience that he had received the booster after all — and he got booed. He took the opportunity to once again try to make the case that he should get credit and that his supporters are "playing into [the Democrats'] hands" by booing him.

"Take credit for it. What we've done is historic," Trump told an audience over the weekend. "If you don't want to take it you don't have to, you shouldn't be forced to take it, no mandates. But take credit because we saved tens of millions of lives, take credit, don't let them take that away from you." ...............(more)


In a Time of Crisis, a City Fights Isolation

In a Time of Crisis, a City Fights Isolation
Frome, a small city in England, has taken an innovative approach to mental health with its fight against loneliness.

(NYT) FROME, England — For more than a thousand years this market city was best known for products made from wool and woven fabrics and later for its large iron statues, including the Lady Justice figure that still sits atop the dome of the Old Bailey court about 100 miles east in London.

But these days, Frome (pronounced FROOM) has been getting attention for something far more unusual and urgent: Its fight against loneliness.

Frome’s approach to the global human affliction began as an experiment by a local physician, Dr. Helen Kingston, eight years ago. It caught the attention of publications of all kinds, including this one, and has been studied and replicated by countries around the world. The urgency has only been exacerbated by the raging pandemic.

The work by Dr. Kingston and her team was first recognized by then Prime Minister Theresa May — who appointed a member of Parliament, Tracey Crouch, as the first minister for loneliness in 2018. But the Frome Model, as it is known, reached a milestone just a few weeks ago when the National Health Service (N.H.S.) in Britain, locked in permanent funding for the program after years of patchwork financial support. ............(more)


Punch a flight attendant? Lose TSA PreCheck

Airline passengers who break rules, get in fights and assault flight attendants will face a new consequence, according to the TSA: loss of access to the PreCheck program.

The FAA will share names and other information about passengers who it has fined for unruly behavior with the TSA, the security agency said on Tuesday. This may remove said individuals from the trusted traveler program.

TSA PreCheck allows eligible participants who are considered “low-risk” to undergo a less-invasive security screening process at U.S. airports. PreCheck members can typically leave laptops and liquids in carry-on bags, wear shoes and light jackets through the checkpoint and pass through a metal detector rather than a full-body scanner.

“This partnership with FAA will help ensure the safety and security of all passengers and hold those who violate federal regulations accountable for their actions,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement.

The incidence of unruly passengers on flights has surged in 2021, with 5,664 reported cases, according to the FAA, easily the highest ever reported. The FAA has not tracked the number of reports in previous years because the number was typically so small, a spokesperson said. Of those cases, 315 have seen enforcement action of the type which would lead to a referral to the TSA under the new partnership, while 1,030 investigations have been opened. ..................(more)


Brawl at Miami international airport, two in custody

Florida: All aboard! Inside Brightline's plans for Orlando expansion, Boca Raton station in 2022

WEST PALM BEACH — South Florida's high-speed train service will be whizzing by on more tracks across the state in 2022.

Brightline's expansion to Orlando is 70% complete and will be finished by the end of 2022, the company reiterated on Tuesday.

But that doesn't mean passengers can count on the train service between Miami and Orlando for next year's holiday season.

Brightline officials told The Palm Beach Post that once the tracks are operational, the system will go through extensive safety testing.

Passengers can expect rail service between South Florida and Orlando to start in early 2023. ...............(more)


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