Monday, May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Well, here I am with another depressing article.  However, it's news you can use if you or someone you love has had Covid.  The article is in Nature and details a records study conducted on Veterans Affairs patients.  They found this:

Even a mild case of COVID-19 can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular problems for at least a year after diagnosis, a new study shows. Researchers found that rates of many conditions, such as heart failure and stroke, were substantially higher in people who had recovered from COVID-19 than in similar people who hadn’t had the disease.

What’s more, the risk was elevated even for those who were under 65 years of age and lacked risk factors, such as obesity or diabetes.

This does not make me happy. 

The day before yesterday, we filled holes in two window casings.  Something used to be installed there, later replaced by cellular shades.  Instead of doing a nice job of filling and sanding, the installers just goobered some spackle on the wood, and moved on.  We sanded those down, and filled two holes they'd done nothing with.  The people who make the pink spackle that dries white, also make wood filler that does the same thing.  It works well, requires minimal sanding.  Yesterday was painting.  We're done now.  They were driving Jim crazy, so that's off his to do list.

Are these not beautiful bread crumbs?  We've been making yeast dinner rolls, and I have to say they grind up much more nicely than the no-knead bread.   That's my new mini-food processor. 

The turkeys are out, roaming the neighborhood.  This one was up the street, he's a big bird.

Here is an old picture of a beautifully restored house in the Tucson barrio.  Jim and I have spent some time looking for three photos to go on the giant recently painted wall.  We decided that one enormous piece of art would look stupid, so we're trying three framed canvas prints from Costco.  I ordered one to see if we like them.  This is one of the pictures we decided against because it's too beige, but it's still pretty.


So, other than wondering why Fox "news" tries to pass off a white supremacist mass murderer as a confused "teenager" driven crazy by too many violent video games, and why it is that the minute I heard they took the shooter alive, I knew he was white, and why Elise Stefanik continues to promulgate the great replacement lie, I have not too much to say at present.  Vote blue, it's all you can do.


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Spring and the Special Operation

Greetings from Spring NotSpring.  It got down to one degree above freezing last night.  Today was actually nice.  Light snow is in the forecast for tomorrow.  I realize this is normal for many locations, but we have not experienced spring for decades, it's just weird.

Last Saturday we were wallowing in our malaise and ennui because it was cold and windy, and we didn't do much of anything all day.  It's not good for a person to sit that much, sitting is the new smoking.  Sunday dawned not much better, and so we decided that we would paint two walls upstairs that were bothering us.  One had water stains on it from what we think was an old window leak.  The other had "dabs" from where I had touched up some holes from picture hangars in the wall and the paint was a terrible match.  So yes, we were so bored that we decided to paint.  It's good that we did it.  The dabs are no longer visible and the water stains are gone.

Here is Jim on the ladder on day two of painting.  I spent day one on the ladder cutting in the ceilings and walls. 

This sunset was from day one of the painting.  It's a pretty cool cloud.


Yesterday wasn't bad.  We walked up the big hill.


Here is Jim, looking up.

We have recently learned that there are marmots here.  I saw this one in the neighbor's front yard, eating grass. 

They've recently left hibernation, and are very hungry.  I thought they were really cute until I read this: "Marmots, also known as whistle pigs and rock chucks are omnivores. They eat insects, flowers, grasses, grains, and ripe vegetables. They will not only cause major damage to crops and gardens, but they can also spread ticks that cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease. It’s also possible for them to transmit rabies and hantavirus."  They live in large communal burrows which have been known to go underneath peoples' houses.  It's always something!  Here is a better picture of a marmot local to Spokane.

If you've been following the special operation Putin is pursuing in Ukraine, you've noticed the large number of Russian tanks with their turrets blown off.  There is an extraordinary video up on twitter that shows a turret being ejected after being hit by a Ukranian weapon.  Go here for the video.  It was filmed by a Chinese crew.  If they had been three minutes down the road, it would have been bad for them.


Why, you wonder, do the turrets fly off like this? 

The Russians have no protection from their ammunition when they're hit.  US and German survival rates are much better because the ammunition is behind a blast door. 



Saturday, May 7, 2022

The Weather and Domestic Supply Issues

The weather for the last two days has been awful.  The spring weather round up has really been dismal.  February and March were sort of nice.  April sucked and now May is truly vacuum enabled.  Last night a funnel cloud was spotted in Spokane.  It didn't touch down, but really - funnel clouds?  This did happen, however, due to high winds.  I believe that's a mobile home on its top, and there is a boat that was removed from its trailer.  That is just sad.

Here we had thunder hail.  The lightning was of the sort that turns night into day, with great booming thunder as well as rolling thunder.  I did take video, but thus far am unable to get them to load and play.  I have no idea why this is.  Here are still pictures.

The back deck covered in hail.


The front sidewalk.

Sunset clouds between storm cells.


This morning.  We've had more cells push through with rain and falling temperatures, but no thunder so far.


So, the reason why abortion needs to be banned has become clear.  It's because the US needs a domestic supply of infants for adoption.  Apparently the foreign born babies are just not cutting the mustard.


Ms Barret agrees, she of the Handmaid status in her church.


So, fertile women in the US are to be classified as breeders. 

Is it just me, or does it seem like the wheels have really come off in the last two or three months?

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Short Spring and More of the Awful

We had two days of spring,  Tuesday and Wednesday.  Both were just lovely, we were sitting in a neighbor's driveway chatting, facing into the sun, and I got a little bit sunburned.  Ahhh spring, we miss you.  Today it's windy and pouring down rain.  Rain is actually good, we need it.  However, next week every night is predicted to have lows in the 30's.  This is ridiculous.  It's not just me whining about the weather, everyone is.  It should be in the 70's by now.  Here are two photos from up the street.  Some people are serious gardeners.  I would not be one of them.


Now I will segue into doom and gloom on a few fronts.  My first issue is water, or the lack thereof in the south west.  From The Counter we learn, "In the desert west of Phoenix, the city of Buckeye is growing faster than almost any other city in the U.S. City leaders anticipate housing 1 million residents by mid-century. At current rates of water consumption, Buckeye would need over 100,000 acre-feet annually, or 90,000 acre-feet more water than today."  AZ law says you have to guarantee water for 100 years.  Buckeye is convinced it can do this by raising the level of an existing dam, and drawing up ground water, which may or may not be there in the amounts needed.  Water is a zero sum game these days.  Desalinization is not really feasible in a land locked state.  Collection and reuse of waste water is feasible and could be done, but there is not public enthusiasm for this.  Tucson runs waste water through purification and then into wet lands; that water grows fish so it's pretty clean.  Anyway, the level of denial is just amazing when it comes to the drought and the fact the climate change makes it unlikely to get any better.

Las Vegas is also in a world of hurt.  There are three water inlets in Lake Mead, used to draw water to be piped into Las Vegas.  This picture is the first of three.

This is not good.  The water level of Lake Powell has dropped to the point where there is fear that Glen Canyon dam will not be able to generate electricity.  That means no air conditioning in the summer. Water is being released from Lake Mead to Lake Powell to keep the turbines running which puts more pressure on Lake Mead.    Read more on the subject here and here.  It's amazing to me that humans can deny what's right in front of their faces and continue on a path that will lead to destruction.  Growth in Arizona is just not sustainable at the current rate.  However, property rights advocates, developers and their ilk will not consider any limits to rampant development.

Louisiana is rushing a bill forward that will allow for prosecution of a woman who aborts a fetus (including an ectopic) and the doctor who performed the procedure.  The full weight of the state's power will be used to bring murder charges.  Their definition of "life" is from the moment of conception, they don't even allow the 6 week period used in Texas.  Republicans are now saying out loud that the life of the fetus is more important than the life of the woman.  We're expendable in their world view.

Meanwhile, in Texas, Governor Abbot wants to do away with public education for the children of undocumented people.  Governor Greg Abbott, wants to do this by having SCOTUS over turn a ruling from the 70s — Plyler v. Doe, which established that every child in the United States has the right to a free public education, regardless of their parents’ legal status.  He doesn't like spending the money to ensure these kids can grow up, hold jobs and pay taxes.  He really is a horrible person.  He was just fine with costing the state four billion dollars by holding up truck traffic at the border for no good reason, he's also fine with stationing the Texas National Guard at the border for no good reason.  Since he called up the Guard, he has to pay them, not the federal government.  There appears to be a land rush towards the Supreme Court by the conservatives to over turn all the rulings from the last 50 years that they don't like.

The Vanity Fair Hive has an interesting take on Alito and his reasoning to over turn Roe.  It's all over twitter, as well, but this has the better formatting and punctuation.  I'm extensively quoting in case it's behind a paywall for you.

As Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern notes, the draft—which could change before a the final ruling, as could the various justices’ votes—doesn’t just lay out the case for why Roe should be overturned, it goes full scorched earth. Alito, Stern writes, “does not seek out any middle path. He disparages Roe and its successors as dishonest, illegitimate, and destructive to the court, the country, and the Constitution. He quotes a wide range of anti-abortion activists, scholars, and judges who view abortion as immoral and barbaric; there’s even a footnote that approvingly cites Justice Clarence Thomas’s debunked theory that abortion is a tool of eugenics against Black Americans.” The opinion is an appalling, heinous attack on people who have relied on Roe for nearly half a century, and the most sickening part is that the conservative justice clearly doesn’t give a shit that obliterating the landmark ruling will ruin countless lives. In fact, one might argue, that’s all part of the plan. And if you needed further proof that Alito is pure evil and wants to take the U.S. back to a time when women’s bodies were property for men to control, know that one of the people he cited in his opinion was an English jurist who defended marital rape and had women executed for “witchcraft.”

Yes, Alito literally quoted this guy, who was born in 1609, as a defense for ending Roe v. Wade in 2022. “Two treatises by Sir Matthew Hale,” Alito enthusiastically writes, “described abortion of a quick child who died in the womb as a ‘great crime’ and a ‘great misprision.’ See M. Hale, Pleas of the Crown.” As Jezebel notes, The History of the Pleas of the Crown “is a text that defended and laid the foundation for the marital rape exemption across the world” and reads: “For the husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband which she cannot retract.” Again, Alito used the arguments of this man to bolster his case.

Finally, there was a horrible article in WAPO this morning, but it is news you can use.  For most of us, ability to obtain an abortion is mooted by age.  However, for many this is not the case.  Smart phones will likely be an enforcement tool for states who outlaw abortion.  There are apps that track your menstrual cycle.  These apps sell that data, it's not protected by HIPPA.  Police can get that data and use it to determine if you've missed enough time that you might be pregnant.  I think it's Missouri that either has or will be passing a law to make it illegal to leave the state for an abortion.  This is one way that they will know to be looking at a particular woman.  Location data is tracked and sold, they know where you've been.  In 2017, prosecutors used Internet searches for abortion drugs as evidence in a Mississippi woman’s trial for the death of her fetus.  The extent to which we're under surveillance becomes more clear when you read the WAPO article.  Young women need to learn to clear cache and cookies and delete history every time, and get a burner phone if they're in red states.  I did not expect to ever write that sentence.

There are two twitter threads I don't want to lose, so I'm sticking them here.  They're long.
First is a thread
about Matthew Hale, the 17th century jurist quoted by Alito.
Second is a thread about SafeGraph and the men who plan to profit from it.  SafeGraph was called         out in the WAPO article.  This may or may not be inflated in its awfulness.

Well, if you've made it this far, I salute your tenaciousness.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

The Wretched Leaked Decision

I have hatred, flaming in my heart with the heat of a thousand suns.  Three Supreme Court nominees recently lied under oath that Roe was settled law, it was precedent.  Now it's not.  Truly, I hate these people.  It's only the start.  They'll come after Griswold next, they'll go for same sex relationships, birth control, inter racial marriage (and how would you define that these days?) and anything else that offends them.  Will condoms be taken off the shelves?  Will hysterectomies be banned?  How about the decomposing remains of an incomplete miscarriage?  Must a women go septic carrying around a doomed pregnancy?  What about IVF which creates more clumps of cells than are implanted?  Don't even get me started on this utter crap about how ectopic clumps of cells being removed from the fallopian tube and placed ever so gently in the woman's uterus will result in a viable pregnancy.  I could go on, but I'm grinding my teeth too much.

From the twitterverse we read the following.








 

If this doesn't get people out to vote blue, I do not know what will.



Monday, May 2, 2022

Flora

Still no sign of spring.  It's not warm at all.  The geraniums are sulking.  It's supposed to go back down in the 30's at night; it's not freezing, but temps that cold at night don't let it warm up a lot during the day.  I would really like for it to be warmer.  Winter was interesting, but it's time for it to go now.

Last Friday there was entertainment in the cul de sac.  We do not back up to the bluff and the attendant very large trees that grow there.  I'm pretty happy about that, pine needles on the roof are bad; so are dying conifers that harbor carpenter ants.  One of the guys in the neighborhood had planned to take out two trees too close to his house and wind sail some others.  If the branches are too close together, and the trees are exposed to high wind, the tree may fall.  So, they take branches out of the trees that are threatening to fall so the air movement through the tree is not hampered.  Anyway, they're still here because a third tree has to come down, it's full of carpenter ants, which means the tree is dying.  There is a lot of hardware involved.  Cranes and chipper shredders.

This is how the guy that cuts sections of the tree gets to where he is working.  He's in a harness, with his chainsaw dangling.  He's rigged like you would be if rappelling, he fast roped down once and stopped just before the tip of the chainsaw hit the road.

He has made his first cut to remove the top of the tree.


Here is a different section of tree coming out.


Now tree is being fed into the chipper shredder.


Tree removal is about $1,000 per tree.  Having seen the equipment required, I can understand why.  After they finished here, they went up the road that goes to the water tower and continued working from the back side of the house.

The back yard is giving us fits.  There is a row of arborvitae that used to be a screen between us and the neighbors.  Since we've been here we've taken out two of them using a Japanese pruning saw and a reciprocating saw, which was very difficult.  One must also work around the giant decorative boulders.  Two more of them are near death, so they will have to be taken out as well.  I think it's pointless to replace them, as they have made their unhappiness known by dying, and the question becomes what to put there.  The question is also how to we get the root balls out.  We're not strong enough to do it.  My neighbor suggested a chain and a pickup truck.  Fences are not permitted, although I might do it and ask forgiveness later, but it would have to be 10 feet tall due to the sloping grade of the yard.  We may have to outsource this labor, one can only imagine how much this will cost.  Our neighbor used to be an arborist, I'm going to ask him to tell us what to buy.  You can read more on arborvitae hatred here.

We recently learned that this tree belongs to us.  I thought it was the neighbor's on the other side, but I was mistaken.  It's kind of pretty, except for the shedding leaves in the fall part.  I am told that it's a pear tree.


In closing, I have these words of wisdom for us.

“Socialism is a scare word they've hurled at every advance the people have made. Socialism is what they called public power, social security, deposit insurance, and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for anything that helps all people.” —Harry Truman, 1952