Saturday, January 09, 2021

Weekend Reading: Dark Days Indeed Edition

When I titled last week's post, I didn't realize how dark things would get. I thought I was referencing my region's COVID numbers, which do in fact continue to get worse. But then Wednesday happened. I woke up Wednesday happy about the unexpectedly good results in the Georgia Senate races. I had a busy morning and when I checked my Twitter feed near lunchtime I was completely shocked by what I saw. 

I was not surprised the Trump rally had turned violent. To be honest, I expected there would be clashes with police. I never thought the Capitol would be overrun and people killed. I do not think we yet know what some of those people were planning for the day. 

I am glad the Democrats in Congress are moving to impeach. I don't know if the Senate will even take up the charges before Trump's term is up - McConnell is saying they won't but I don't think he's as in control of things as he thinks he is. (That, incidentally, is my summation of the entire Republican party leadership in recent times - they thought they could control the forces they were using to obtain and keep power, but they could not and we are all paying the price of that.)

The Senate should remove Trump because he is a danger to our country. But regardless of what the Senate does when it receives the Articles of Impeachment, I want Trump impeached again because it would show our kids that at least some of our elected leaders were willing to respond to the shocking events on Wednesday with something approaching the seriousness they deserve. I want my kids to see that our government isn't entirely broken.

Think of the lesson the last 12 months has given our children about our government. We failed to respond adequately to the pandemic, consigning them to either school from home or head to school every day knowing that they might bring a potentially fatal infection home to their family. And now they are watching to see how our leaders will respond to an actual attempted insurrection. Maybe the Senate will run out the clock. But maybe they won't. And maybe if they do, that will also have an impact. The Anchorage Daily News had an interesting interview with Lisa Murkowski that I suspect contains a warning to her fellow Republican Senators.

The point is, we don't know what will happen and I think an act as egregious as this one warrants an attempt to apply whatever consequences we can. Impeach him, because that is the right thing to do.

Anyway, on to the links.

I burned two of my three free Atlantic articles on Clint Smith's two pieces this week, but they are both worth your time: On the Georgia Senate election and the Black Americans who have personal memories of the time before the Voting Rights Act, and on the photo of the man parading the Confederate flag in the Capitol, and the history encapsulated by that photo.

Zack Beauchamp tracing Wednesday's events to years of mainstream Republican politics.

Take a moment to listen to the brother-in-law of the woman who was crushed to death during the riot in the Capitol:

I thought this was a good thread. We should insist on leaders who act as though the truth is true. 

This, from Adam Sewer:

And, looking ahead to the new administration and new Congress:

Rebecca Traister on why Democrats should take up their mandate and stop trying to placate Republicans.

David Roberts on what climate legislation is possible with 50 votes, one of whom is Joe Manchin.

In pandemic news:

Kevin Esvelt and Mark Lipsitch wrote an article urging governments to act quickly to contain the B.1.1.7 variant.

Vaccine delivery is starting to ramp up. Juliette Kayyem has a good thread on that:

California is changing its vaccination strategy to increase speed. Since San Diego county has a growing number of cases in general and of the B.1.1.7 variant, I am glad vaccinations will speed up. 

I am planning to spend some time reading about masks this weekend. With the new variant spreading in my city, I think we need to improve our masking strategy. For the most part, we just won't go near people but for the few shops we do need to go into and in case something happens that requires us to go inside near other people, I want to figure out what our best masks would be. Here are a couple of things I have skimmed and plan to read more carefully:

An article in STAT arguing that we all need some N95s. N95s are prohibitively expensive right now, so perhaps I need to get some KN95s, but to do that I have to navigate a much-less regulated marketplace and so that will take some additional research.

This article in Cell from from Monica Gandhi and Linsey Marr looking at mask effectiveness.

Here's the important quote:

"For maximal protection (Figure 1, bottom panel), members of the public can either (1) wear a cloth mask tightly on top of a surgical mask where the surgical mask acts as a filter and the cloth mask provides an additional layer of filtration while improving the fit; or (2) wear a three-layer mask with outer layers consisting of a flexible, tightly woven fabric that can conform well to the face and a middle layer consisting of a non-woven high-efficiency filter material (e.g., vacuum bag material). If the masks fit well, these combinations should produce an overall efficiency of >90% for particles 1 Ξm and larger, which corresponds to the size of respiratory aerosols that we think are most important in mediating transmission of COVID-19."

I'm thinking that when we must go inside near other people that we should wear one of the masks that allow us to insert a filter. I need to do some research on the best filters I can get. I have some P2.5 filters but those were bought with the idea of filtering out smoke not virus particles. 

Things that made me smile this week:

The dendrology episode and follow up from the Ologies podcast. I asked on Twitter for new podcast ideas and this is one of the recommendations I got and it is a great podcast! I've listened to several episodes. This one is apparently a fan favorite and I can see why.

Sea Shanty tik-tok:

The fields of Athenry:

A beautiful sunrise:

Your bunny for the week:

Have a good weekend, everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:12 AM

    Thank you for all. Esp the mask items were interesting to me. Ihave been double masking with insert in top mask since early November. Fun? no. Safer? I hope so.
    Read that if House impeaches now and it goes to senate the issue can be done in Senate after Jan20. Not certain this is true .... but it might also stop tax dollars going towards his security and living costs as well as his ability to run again for office. Though I gather his offspring are interested in doing that too.....


Sorry for the CAPTCHA, folks. The spammers were stealing too much of my time.