The Biological Civil War

In the past week, covid cases in the United States reached an average 100,000 a day.

Again.

We’ve been there before: Last November, going up, and last February, coming back down. As recently as June — five weeks ago — cases were almost a tenth of what we’re seeing now.

And looking at what’s going on out there in this glorious blighted land of ours, we don’t see what’s going to stop the numbers from continuing to shoot skyward.

The brief Republican flirtation with reason and responsibility has passed. Forbidding and flouting safety measures while casting blame on brown people is much more politically lucrative than just recommending people get those free shots. Thanks to them, “breakthrough cases”, vaxxed people catching a variant, has now entered the language.

And that’s just the Delta Variant. Plenty of room in the Greek alphabet for more! Have you heard of the Lambda Variant? Maybe don’t google it.

Those variants are Darwinian opportunism at work, taking advantage of the willing petri dish of humanity to evolve more powerful attacks against us. The mitigating effects of vaccination against Delta are being demonstrated daily — still an achy, taste-depriving bitch, but you’re not automatically headed for the ICU — but those freedom-loving Republicans are determined to provide a test bed for even worse.

It’s a biological civil war, really, and they’re wielding weapons of mass destruction. Maybe they’ll die off more quickly, but that just makes them suicide bombers against the rest of us, determined to inflict maximum casualties before they see us in Hell.

And it’s still summer. That last infection surge didn’t happen until November. Didn’t even have a vaccine last year.

Not sure how long this one’s gonna hold either, not with all those killer gangs of infectious white people roaming the streets. They’re animals, you know. No value for human life.

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The problem with biological warfare (and why it’s rarely used) is the uncanny ability of nature to fuck things up for the side using the bio weapon. There is no such thing as a precision guided bio weapon.

The only reason that GOPers are suddenly freaking out about the spread of Delta and demanding vax is because Delta is killing and hospitalizing their followers who listened/believed to their lies about vaccinations.

The irony of all of this if the GOPers had tried to (uncharacteristically) save ALL US Amercians instead of being short sighted, racist and selfish GOPers they are is that both they and Trump would still be in power.

@ManchuCandidate: The GOP vax push lasted all of a week. Then they decided to blame it on immigrants, revive the Lab Leak, and now — swear to god — they’re pitching horse dewormer as an alternative.

@nojo:
CoVID will find the hardcore before reason/sanity will.

@ManchuCandidate: FB acquaintance in England posted a story about a vax holdout there biting it, expressed his thought that if the story was better publicized, more people would get their shots.

So adorable. Didn’t have the heart to say we see those stories every day stateside, and they don’t do shit.

Meanwhile we have our own CoVIDia er Florida, but we call it Alberta.

Really thought Cuomo would pull a Scarface going down.

I just hope that someday I’ll be able to forget Cuomo’s nip show in that too tight polo from a COVID briefing last summer. Do. Not. Want.

HAAAAAY! I planned on stopping by to tell you a story about zoos, poverty, rifles, Welsh Harlequins, and reducing my carbon footprint by standing outside until I get heatstroke and die. All in the passive voice, of course.

Instead, here are two climate change pro-tips for my similarly-situated friends: 1. Remove the screen from the window or your air conditioner will pop it out for you; and 2. Make sure the power cord is within reach of an outlet before you secure that fucker to the window frame.

@JNOV: But… but… the Northwest just had a thousand-year heat wave! How time flies!

@nojo: OMG these dumbasses! We’re having out third, and largest, COVID wave. The heat index back in, when was it – June? – was 118° F, and I’m at the point where I’m like, you unvaccinated fucks – walk into the wilderness and just die. Don’t you dare go to the hospital. Drive your confederate blue line trump flag waving megatrucks into the hills and just die. Create a rusted out monument to your selfish stupidity and save the Earth by removing yourselves from it.

Seven-day average just broke 150k/day.

@nojo: for the country? As much as I schadenfreude on Elon’s crazy ass, Mars might be a good idea as long as he doesn’t have to come.
You know, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m like good, antivaxxers. We’re going to send your shots to LDCs. But we won’t.

@JNOV: Yeah, nationwide. That chart has been total hockey stick the past few weeks.

@nojo: I’ve been trying to think of a response, but I can’t find words that adequately capture this moment. These moments.

I suppose human suffering is abstract until it arrives on your doorstep. Everyday somewhere in the world people are suffering, but western countries don’t care until climate change refugees ask to be admitted. We don’t care unless we see footage of trampled Afghan toddlers. We don’t care until we can’t hold a funeral for a loved one because their body will remain in a morgue truck until the funeral home has space.

@JNOV: Back in Eugene, I lived across the street from an old warehouse with a chimney. Every evening at dusk, hundreds of birds would stream out of the chimney, cover the sky like an undulating blanket as they fed on bugs, then stream back in.

It was quite a sight. And I wondered how the hell they did it, flying in a beautiful mass formation like that.

Eventually I learned the answer: They didn’t. You can’t. Instead, each bird was wired to position itself relative to the birds immediately around it. The effect of hundreds of individual decisions was the Flying Blanket.

We’re not wired for mass empathy. It’s not real. It’s too abstract. Reporters have known this forever — you need an individual example, something readers can relate to, to bring the story home. And not just Fox’s patented Blonde Woman in Distress.

Empathy is possible, more than possible. But in a very deep way, it goes against our instincts. You can easily see what’s in front of your nose. Takes effort to see anything beyond that. It’s a feat of imagination, really.

But collectively, so far, we’ve proven ourselves incapable of that. We run our resources dry, then move on to the next reservoir to exhaust. We devour the planet.

Life will survive. Life always survives. Life survived a giant fucking meteor, even if the dinosaurs didn’t. We don’t need to wait for the next one. We’re it.

Yes.
Those were chimney swifts. It’s an amazing sight. And, yes. They aren’t aware of the entire flock while in flight.
The ducks molt about twice a year. The yard is covered with down and flight feathers. Right now the youngest are almost old enough to start laying, and they’re in the midst of their first adult molt.
Molting is hard work. They’re always replacing their down like we’re always replacing our hair, but a straight up molt looks like someone tore open a dozen down pillows and dumped them.
One year some incredibly fast small birds were swooping and picking up the down on the fly. They would clear the yard everyday.
I didn’t know what type of birds they were just like I’m still trying to identify trees, butterflies, moths, native bees because I’m not from here, and the birds I do know are slightly different than they are in PA.
I bought an app from the ornithology department of Cornell and some bird books and binoculars. I figured if Christian Cooper could do it, so could I.
My family doesn’t camp. I was dragged kicking a screaming to some reservoir in CA by my shipmates. They convinced me that camping would be fun for Junior. Fine. Now I love it.
My family doesn’t ski. I went skiing for the first time when I was 12. It was with a church youth group, and I loved it. Other firsts were both staying up all night and playing Risk.
My family didn’t ski. They didn’t have the knowledge or money. My father can’t swim (Philly Jim Crowed their pools by basically having no public pools, even when I was a kid in the 70s and 80s), and my mother can’t ride a bike. Her grandparents were too busy trying to feed them. And one night, their dinner was her pet duck, which she thought was a pet, but you know.
So I see video of this Black guy in Central Park, and besides the usual bullshit that I have seen, heard of, and experienced where Black people are simply minding their business and trying to live their lives and up comes someone who has to get up all in it and fuck things up for the Black person who was simply living on this earth, well, I thought this birding thing might not be something only bored white people sitting in lawn chairs did.
So I was trying to figure out wtf were these birds swooping and diving and clearing my yard. It took a while for me to figure it out.
At first I thought they were chimney swifts. But they were coming during the day, so nope. I got a good look at one who was sitting on a power line, and I was still stuck on some type of swift, so I took an online course about the basics of bird identification. Cornell is badass.
They were so fast. So fast. So here I am, my vision failing due to both congenital issues and age making myself dizzy as fuck swinging the binoculars all over the place trying to ID these stupid birds while mentally thanking them for picking up those freakin feathers, and I thought, “I have changed.”
I have changed. I’ve moved from “Black people don’t do that” to “I’d like to do that.” Seeing a Black man looking at birds in Central Park gave me permission to try that thing.
Maybe “Black people don’t do that” is really “Black people aren’t allowed to do that. If we do that, we can get in trouble. Who is going to teach us how to do that?”
Sometimes people forget that we aren’t born knowing much, and we can feel shame about things we have trouble learning or admitting that there are things we don’t know.
I run into it all the time at work. I tell people that none of us was born knowing this. The job takes about two years to learn, all the while the laws, regs, and local guidance are changing and conflicting, so it’s okay to not know. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay. It’s hard. You’ll get it. Yes, it’s frustrating, so take a break. Go outside, and hit me up when you’re back, and we’ll do this claim together.
We all need a little help, right?
And those birds? They were juvenile tree swallows.

Ah. Had to google the blurb. I was afraid it referred to that dude on trial whose name I won’t write.

@JNOV: If that R the dude I’m thinking of, stumbled across a news post in my FB feed that was filled with — defenders. When they weren’t busy saying the bitch lied about her age, they managed to get in a complaint that Cosby got railroaded. I was a bit stunned by the spectacle.

@nojo:

Touré: Do you like teenage girls?
Monster: What do you mean by “teenage”?

Ms. Pace is my hero! I could beat the shit out of Aaliyah’s uncle. Aaliyah was TWELVE YEARS OLD, and nobody lied about it. And they left her alone with that monster.

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